Basil the Great vs. Christina the Astonishing

New this year, we are pleased to offer a brief Opening Ceremony video for Lent Madness. It might not involve a cast of thousands like the Olympics, but it does feature two dead archbishops introducing a true Episcopal celebrity wearing a purple cassock. See, we win!

Isn’t it just “astonishing” how many people have been looking forward to the start of Lent? Isn’t it just “great” that Lent Madness has finally begun? The Supreme Executive Committee has fired the starting gun (don’t worry, it’s metaphorical) and…we’re off! The 2014 Saintly Smackdown has officially commenced.

So, hang onto your halos as we begin whittling down our field of 32 saints. All are worthy (yes, they have already received their respective crowns of glory) yet only one will attain the coveted Golden Halo. There will be debates, ire, angst, rejoicing, and holy trash talking. Just remember, it’s all in the spirit of this season specifically set aside to grow closer to God through our relationship with Jesus Christ. On behalf of the Lent Madness team, we’re delighted you’ve decided to spend some of this holy season with us.

If this is your first year playing Lent Madness, welcome. You’re in for a fun, informative, engaging, occasionally wild, ride. (Looking for a Lent Madness primer? Click here). If you’re back for more heart-stopping saintly thrills, it’s good to see you!

After you vote we encourage you to do three things: First, like us on Facebook. Second, follow us on Twitter (if you just can’t get enough of the Madness, social media is the perfect way to continue the conversation). Finally, visit the Lentorium where you can purchase ebook versions of the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2014 and other Lent Madness paraphernalia such as mugs. Your hairdresser, local barista, cousin, etc. will be thrilled with such thoughtful and wholly unexpected gifts.

Make sure you watch LentMadnessTV regularly for updates from Archbishops Thomas Cranmer and John Chrysostom, as well as the Supreme Executive Committee. Each week you’ll find a video about that week’s match-ups. Here’s a video about the competition of Ash Week.

P.S. Here’s a Lent Madness “Pro Tip” — if you want to receive all the daily match-ups in your e-mail inbox, we encourage you to go to the home page and “subscribe” by entering your e-mail address (near the top right). This will insure you never miss a vote!

245_0035133313_Basil-The-GreatBasil the Great

In the early years of Christianity, much of what we take for granted was in flux. Exact points of belief were the source of schism and argument. In the 4th century, one of the great controversies was Arianism, or the belief that Jesus was subordinate to God and was not created with God the Father, but at a later time; therefore, Jesus was distinct from God. The initial Council of Nicea addressed the issue, but the debate would not rest.

In the region of Cappadocia, particularly, the Arian controversy threatened to divide the region. One of the priests in the region, Basil, stepped firmly into the fray.

Basil was one of the three Cappadocian Fathers, three men who, along with their sister Macrina, profoundly influenced Christian orthodoxy in the 4th century. Basil was born into a family of wealth and privilege and educated in the classic Greek style of the era and the Christian faith. When his sister Macrina used her wealth and status to establish a monastery, Basil himself traveled in the area of Mesopotamia and lived the life of a solitary monastic. He soon shifted his interest to a community of faith rooted in prayer and work. Assisted by Gregory of Nazianzus, he  wrote a monastic Rule, which would become the foundation for Eastern monastic discipline.

He retired to a life of monastic living and writing, but was called out of retirement to defend against the heresy of Arianism. Through his intellect, profound and deep faith, and no small amount of political savvy, Basil did just as he was asked. In his On the Holy Spirit, Basil wrote that both the words of Scripture and the traditions of the Church require that the same honor, glory, and worship are to be paid to God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For Basil, correct worship would include the formula, “Glory to the Father with the Son together with the Holy Spirit.”

Basil lived what he preached. He never allowed his concern for proper orthodox belief to distract from his focus and work for the poor. He, in his life and after his death through bequests, built homes, hospitals, churches, and other support agencies for the poor and outcasts.

Basil died in 379 at the age of fifty. Two years later, the Second Ecumenical Council affirmed the Nicene faith as understood and presented by Basil and his supporters – the very same words we affirm today in the Nicene Creed.

Collect for Basil the Great
Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons:  Give us grace that, like your bishop Basil of Caesarea, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

 — Laurie Brock

Christina-the-Astonishing-June-04-2Christina the Astonishing (also known as Christina Miribilis)

In 1172, in St-Tronde (Belgium), the body of a twenty-something orphan named Christina was brought into church, surrounded by a priest, her sisters, and other mourners, for her funeral mass. After the Agnus Dei, Christina rose from her open coffin and levitated into the rafters, where she perched like a bird as all the mourners except for the priest and one sister fled, amazed.

Christina then came down and told what had happened to her while she was “dead.” Angels had guided her into a dark place where she saw many people she had known, in torment. This was Purgatory. Then she was taken to Hell, where she saw others suffering. Finally, she was taken to Heaven and given this choice: stay in Heaven, or return to earth to make penances for those in Hell and Purgatory, that they might be released; and suffer to convert the living, too.

She chose to return. And, she said, “my life will be astonishing, like nothing you have ever seen.”

Christina, the patron of both the mentally ill and therapists, embarked on a life of extreme behavior. She became homeless, dressed in rags, begging for food. During intense prayer, she threw herself into fiery furnaces or into the frozen river for days, emerging unscathed. She recoiled from human contact and often was found perched in treetops, towers, and other remote places, because the smell of human sin was too much for her.

Her family, thinking her possessed, once had her captured and her leg broken by a thug in an effort to control her. Then they called a doctor. And then Christina escaped.

Yet she lived out her last three years obediently at St Catherine’s Convent where locals — saints, counts, villagers — came to her for counsel and confession. She died in 1224 at the age of 74.

In addition to being immortalized in plays, poems, and a song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Christina’s original story was written down by a contemporary, Thomas de Cantimpre, a Belgian Dominican, based on eyewitness accounts from villagers and Cardinal Jaques de Vitry, who knew Christina. This astonishing woman was a great puzzle to everyone, who were never sure if she was a mystic or insane. Perhaps she was shattered by an encounter with the Divine.

She herself was convinced she was called to suffer for others, to be a different kind of witness. And that she was.

** Image of Christina the Astonishing by Cookie Scottorn. Used with permission.

Collect for Christina the Astonishing
Eternal God, in the example of Christina, we are reminded of the fine line between mysticism and mental illness. You gave to her a passionate spirit, a vivid mind, and the call to suffer for others. Through her example, may we be awakened to passionate and compassionate witness to your glory. In the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Collect written by Nancy Hopkins-Greene.)

Penny Nash

Vote! (Only once per person!)

Basil the Great vs. Christina the Astonishing

  • Basil the Great (55%, 3,801 Votes)
  • Christina the Astonishing (45%, 3,143 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,941

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283 Comments to "Basil the Great vs. Christina the Astonishing"

  1. Abby Armstrong's Gravatar Abby Armstrong
    March 6, 2014 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    I’m the first one!

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      March 6, 2014 - 9:51 am | Permalink

      Ah, but Abby, for whom did you vote?

      • Abby Armstrong's Gravatar Abby Armstrong
        March 6, 2014 - 11:46 am | Permalink

        I voted for Christina the Astonishing!

        • March 6, 2014 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

          I agree Abby. This is going to be a very interesting matchup! As a Junior Warden, I think Christina the Astonishing will be helpful to me to keep me from tearing my hair out as the year progresses!

          • Doug Thorpe's Gravatar Doug Thorpe
            March 6, 2014 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

            As a pastoral counselor I’m voting for our patron saint, but I don’t expect to imitate her astonishing methods.

  2. Bill Scrivener's Gravatar Bill Scrivener
    March 6, 2014 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Christina the Astonishing was way too astonishing for me. Much more satisfying to contemplate the life and contributions of Basil and not think about Flying Nun imagery.

  3. March 6, 2014 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Though as a new board member of NAMI Fox Valley I am going to be helping congregations learn how to better serve people living with mental illness (under the protection of Christina the Astonishing, I hope), today I have to cast my vote with Basil and the Trinitarian, mystical foundation on which our faith rests.

    • Ellen Roemer's Gravatar Ellen Roemer
      March 6, 2014 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      Having worked in supportive services (library) at the state hospital for the Mentally Ill I too had a hard time not choosing Christina. I agree with you that the Trinitarian foundation pulled me in Basil’s direction.

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      March 6, 2014 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I’m saying that as a person who voted the other way. Luckily, there’s no wrong answer, jut vote your conscience, draw lots, whatever. In a few weeks, we’ll get more astonishing details on one of these great saints!

  4. Cathy Hamilton's Gravatar Cathy Hamilton
    March 6, 2014 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    A vote for astonishment, to honour all those who struggle with mental illness, whose creativity may be lost in a desire to be more normal.

    • Rose Ann's Gravatar Rose Ann
      March 6, 2014 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Something about this story touched my soul and yes, it is astonishing.

    • Sally Johnson's Gravatar Sally Johnson
      March 6, 2014 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations to Cathy H. for expressing my thoughts so beautifully. I had never heard of this saint before, but I was drawn to her immediately.

    • Megan Elizabeth's Gravatar Megan Elizabeth
      March 6, 2014 - 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Cathy H. I agree. What a lovely thought. I’ve wondered before about works of art and literature (Messrs. Picasso and Poe come to mind) that would not have been created had mental health cures been available. On the flip side, those people may have led happy fulfilled lives instead of being found face-down dead and penniless in a ditch (Mr. Poe) I cast my vote for Basil.

  5. helen from middletown, oh's Gravatar helen from middletown, oh
    March 6, 2014 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I vote for the victim soul, Christina the Astonishing.

  6. Jim Jaworski's Gravatar Jim Jaworski
    March 6, 2014 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I know I state the obvious: Christina would be astonished if Basil didn’t win this first round match up

  7. March 6, 2014 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    In any other match-up I would have voted for Basil (whom I expect to prevail in any case), but I can’t let pass the opportunity to vote for someone with the cognomen “Astonishing”! I so very seldom (if ever) get to vote for someone to whom that word could apply.

  8. Leslie Littlefield's Gravatar Leslie Littlefield
    March 6, 2014 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I’m going to love this!

  9. Sue Vornhagen's Gravatar Sue Vornhagen
    March 6, 2014 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Christina was amazing! At first, i thought “Crazy”, but praying and thinking about it made me realize, God Shows Himself in many ways.

  10. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    March 6, 2014 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    A great upset: I prepared myself to press the “Basil” button as the obvious choice in contrast to the disturbing witness of Christina…when my heart lept at the words, “patron of therapists and mentally ill” and “make penances for those living in hell or purgatory”. The mentally ill suffer and feel as though they were in purgatory or hell, separated from the love of God, tormented by their own personal demons. Therapists who work to heal everything from mood disorders to psychotic disorders do the Lord’s work to liberate them from suffering and prepare them for the loving reality of God. Thank you Christina, for any sacrifice you made to benefit the souls of the ill and the healers.

    • March 6, 2014 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      This is a really beautiful comment, Molly. Thanks for your analogy of the mentally ill suffering as if they were in purgatory or hell. So true.

      • March 6, 2014 - 8:40 pm | Permalink

        People with a mental illness diagnosis are also capable of profound spiritual insights (see, Dark Night of the Soul).

    • Heath Missner's Gravatar Heath Missner
      March 6, 2014 - 10:45 am | Permalink

      Yes, the image of Christina suffering on behalf of the mentally ill, whose lives are ravaged by interior torments, is redemptive. There is a very fine line between mysticism and madness. Yet Basil brought us to a deep flow of mysticism in the Trinity, and he models for us all a life of contemplation and action, together. Basil could indeed go the distance to the Golden Halo!

      • Phyllis Pugh's Gravatar Phyllis Pugh
        March 6, 2014 - 12:16 pm | Permalink


        Reading yours, I could just hear Chris Berman. I am not sure if this is a good thing or now.

  11. Donna Wessel Walker's Gravatar Donna Wessel Walker
    March 6, 2014 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Lent Madness needs to hire a copy editor. Solitary only has one “o.” That can count as a typo, but not this: “Jesus … was not created with God the Father, but at a later time”. No one claimed that God the Father was created (by whom?); that is a bridge too far even for heretics. So, maybe we should all read more Basil: my vote’s for him.

    • March 6, 2014 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

      I noticed that, as well. Surely, must be a typo, but one that could not be more glaring, given the life legacy of Basil as one of the great teachers and defenders of orthodox Trinitarian doctrine. “There was when He was not”? Ah, heck no!

    • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
      March 6, 2014 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

      It’s a translation issue – the same one that we reflect in the Nicene Creed “from the Virgin Mary” and “with the Virgin Mary.” The SEC needs to hire better translators, obviously.

  12. Estelle Britner's Gravatar Estelle Britner
    March 6, 2014 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Thought I knew exactly the choice — Basil. Christina was too far out for me. Then I read the comments and I think maybe I need to go “out there” too.

    • Ann Ely's Gravatar Ann Ely
      March 6, 2014 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      I have to agree with you, Estelle. Wish I had voted for Christina. Except, I didn’t want to vote for Basil – I struggle with the 3 in 1 concept. Then I read about Christina, thought she was a bit far out there for me, then read people’s comments. Ah well.

      • Cricket's Gravatar Cricket
        March 6, 2014 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Yay, Ann! Thank you for voting for Baz~~~ I was ordained on his feast day!
        So, he’s kind of my patron saint, though truly it sounds as though Christina might be closer to the truth these days…! xoxo

  13. Rich Theyerl's Gravatar Rich Theyerl
    March 6, 2014 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    C’mon people! She perched in the rafters like a bird!

    • March 6, 2014 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Kind of like the Holy Spirit? Which moved me to vote for her. We are called to be foolish in man’s eyes for the sake of our faith. As Lily Tomlin said: “How come when we talk to God, it’s called praying, and when God talks back, it’s call schizophrenia?”

      • sandra rode's Gravatar sandra rode
        March 6, 2014 - 10:27 pm | Permalink

        What Linda writes is a serious dilemma. Are not those we would later recognize as prophets sometimes have appeared mentally ill?
        And don’t we believe that God can be seen in many?

  14. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    March 6, 2014 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    BTW, I cannot find her on our liturgical calendar. Does anyone know which calendar she came from?

    • Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
      March 6, 2014 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      The Cathlolics have her on July 24.

    • Cindy's Gravatar Cindy
      March 7, 2014 - 2:17 am | Permalink

      That’s a different Christina.

  15. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    March 6, 2014 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Loved the opening ceremony video. Now off to read about the saints and pray for guidance as I place my vote later today.

  16. March 6, 2014 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Voting for Basil. Where would we be without his clarification of the Trinity? I mean it. Where would we be? A bunch of Arianists saying Jesus was just a good guy with interesting ideas. Vote Basil.

    • Janis Rosebrook's Gravatar Janis Rosebrook
      March 6, 2014 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      Thank you Marguerite! Totally agree. Exactly my thoughts as I voted. Vote for Basil, please.

  17. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    March 6, 2014 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Love Basil and what he gave our church, but I can’t get over the sacrifices that Christina made during her return to benefit those of the mentally ill.

  18. Kim Forbes's Gravatar Kim Forbes
    March 6, 2014 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I vote for Basil. What fascinates me most about this guy, is that sainthood seemed to be the family business. His grandmother was St. Macrina the Elder, the patron saint of widows and against poverty. His father was St. Basil the elder, his mother was St. Emmelia of Caesarea. His brother was St. Gregory, his sister was St. Macrina the younger. His brother, St. Peter of Sebaste was a bishop and another brother St. Naucratius, looked like a Turkish Brad Pitt, but started to withdraw from his celebrity and popularity and became of a hermit, thus acting more like the Turkish Joaquin Phoenix. Alas, the great line of saints only lasted 3 generations; but there were 4 more lazy non-saint brothers, so maybe one of you eastern European madness maniacs out there has a little saint blood coursing through your veins.

    • paul neal's Gravatar paul neal
      March 6, 2014 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      wow ! thanks for St. Basil’s ancestral background.
      I wondered why St. Basil was “….of Caesarea “.
      I vote for Basil.

    • Megan Elizabeth's Gravatar Megan Elizabeth
      March 6, 2014 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

      WOW! That is a very Saintly Family tree! And props for the “Turkish Brad Pitt” – that gave me the giggles at the end of a workday.

  19. Bill Wilson's Gravatar Bill Wilson
    March 6, 2014 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    After much prayer and thought I decided on Basil. The deciding factor is that the church closest to where I am sitting is St Basil The Great. I’m a home town fan.

  20. Polly's Gravatar Polly
    March 6, 2014 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Wow – great start, and truly hard choices. Each saint speaks to something within, and the final decision will be hard. Each lived the ‘rule’ as they heard it. Interested in seeing the final outcome.

  21. Jerry Rankin's Gravatar Jerry Rankin
    March 6, 2014 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Jerry the Incredulous (of Christina the Astonishing) is voting for Basil the Great.

  22. March 6, 2014 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Christina is a bit too astonishing for me, and as a Lutheran, I am not inclined to believe in Purgatory. I believe Christ’s cross is enough to cover all sins. As Luther wrote, “We die in faith in Christ, who died for our sins and rendered satisfaction for us. He is my Bosom, my Paradise, my Comfort, and my Hope.” Still, I recognize she would be a product of her time and her beliefs would reflect that time period (as Luther’s earliest writings on such issues also did). It sounds like she lived in the tradition of religious mendicants and mystics, and beyond some of the more fanciful tales, there is likely some truth to her story. Although, all things are possible with God. I can even agree with others that a vote for her could be a sign of support for those with mental illness and start a great discussion. Still, it was Basil for me when it came to voting, but I did enjoy “meeting” her through Lent Madness.

  23. Mike Essig's Gravatar Mike Essig
    March 6, 2014 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    It’s Basil for me. The Nicene Creed and the orthodoxy of the Trinity have staying power.

  24. Harriet Mill's Gravatar Harriet Mill
    March 6, 2014 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Does the Episcopal Church today have a process for the canonization of a saint?
    Mystified in Maine.

    • March 6, 2014 - 9:05 am | Permalink

      We do have a process, not to be canonized as a saint, but to be included in our calendar of Holy Women and Holy Men. The title of Saint is reserved for biblical persons (a nod to our Protestant roots) but the additions to the calendar come from grassroots devotion to a Christian witness (in the Catholic tradition). To be added (please note that every rule, in good Episcopal tradition, has its exception).
      1) be a Christian, and dead at least one generation
      2) be remembered by a local community over time in prayers, rituals, feast day
      3) be introduced and a case made for you at a General Convention – and voted in in two successive General Conventions, which meet once every three years.
      How long before Nelson Mandela is added? Start your campaign now!

  25. R Christopher Heying's Gravatar R Christopher Heying
    March 6, 2014 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    “or the belief that Jesus was subordinate to God and was not created with God the Father, but at a later time; therefore, Jesus was distinct from God.” Saint Basil’s halo may be spinning!

  26. March 6, 2014 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    My brain votes Basil, my heart and soul votes Christina. It’s an ongoing struggle.

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      March 6, 2014 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      Lent Madness in a nutshell!

    • Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
      March 6, 2014 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you!! Maybe I’ll vote for you instead of either of the “candidates”.

    • March 6, 2014 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

      My predicament also. Basil articulated what we continue to struggle with (at least me with the whole 3-in-1 thing) and Christina’s lifting up how God works through those who have mental illness. But the whole purgatory thing puts me on the fence. I think I’ll come back later after reading more viewpoints from others.

  27. Doug Allen's Gravatar Doug Allen
    March 6, 2014 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    If I had known Nick Cave and the Bad Seed had written a song about her, I wouldn’t have picked Basil in my bracket. I love the in depth we get. All I knew about St. Basil before today was he has a church named after him in my hometown.

  28. Karis's Gravatar Karis
    March 6, 2014 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    As a school psychologist, I voted for Christina…

  29. Jayne Ashworth's Gravatar Jayne Ashworth
    March 6, 2014 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Christina the Astonishing!! What an amazing saint!! Vote for Christina!!

  30. Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
    March 6, 2014 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Outstanding Opening for the 2014 Lent Madness! I came prepared to vote for Basil but as I learned more about Christina the Astonishing my vote goes to her and her life of sacrifice and witness of God’s Love!

  31. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    March 6, 2014 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    voting for Christina and the mysterious ways of Divine

  32. Claudia Horner's Gravatar Claudia Horner
    March 6, 2014 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I’ve always been drawn to the mystics and prophets, so I simply must vote for Christina the Astonishing. Plus, should I return in another life, I dearly wish to be a barn swallow and swoop. It seems to me the CtheA already got do do that — wow!

  33. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    March 6, 2014 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I’m already astonished– I thought the voting would be more of a landslide for Basil. Good on you, Christina. And what a passionate and compassionate life you chose. Thank God for this patron to the souls west of normal. Still, though I don’t like pesto, I’m still voting for Basil. Goodness to all, and “God in Three Persons,” his work reaches down through the ages to help Christina and me and many souls yet to arrive.

  34. Ann Fleming's Gravatar Ann Fleming
    March 6, 2014 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Off to a great and thrilling start! Basil for me today because of his calm willingness to minister to the poor, and continued that work after his time on earth was ended. And Christina IS astonishing!

  35. Barbara Mays-Stock's Gravatar Barbara Mays-Stock
    March 6, 2014 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    What a way to start! Though I voted for Basil, I see why Christina was included.

  36. Karen Pearson's Gravatar Karen Pearson
    March 6, 2014 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    “was not created with God”? Since when was God created? Jesus I can understand, but God, no. Meanwhile, I was going for Basil, since his contributions to Christian Theology and to his fellow man are well known, but I think it’s going to have to be Christina. Insane? Quite probably, but have you considered some of the OT prophets? Mystic? Almost certainly.

  37. Joy Segal's Gravatar Joy Segal
    March 6, 2014 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Just had to vote for Basil (after all, he is Great!). But I must admit reading Christina’s story made me consider the fine line between mystery and what we call mental illness.

  38. Liz's Gravatar Liz
    March 6, 2014 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I love Lent Madness! One thing: You said in the bio of Basil that Jesus “was not created with God the Father. . .” I think co-eternal with God the Father would have been a better choice since God is uncreated and eternal. I haven’t read all the comments, so this may already have been pointed out. Just a thought.

  39. Rev. Ruth's Gravatar Rev. Ruth
    March 6, 2014 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    She had me at “perched in the rafters.”

  40. Kev Khayat's Gravatar Kev Khayat
    March 6, 2014 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Which is the greatest challenge: applying logic to help frame emotion and devotion, or applying emotion and devotion to redefine what is “logical”? Both profound but a vote here for Christina in support of all who work in mental health.

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      March 6, 2014 - 3:04 pm | Permalink


  41. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    March 6, 2014 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    After reading about both Basil & Christina & reading all the comments, I am still a bit unsure, but after giving it a bit more thought and praying, Basil did win out!! This is only the beginning of a wonderful Lenten Time. Thank you.

  42. Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
    March 6, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    As an Associate of the Society of St Margaret [of Antioch], I’m accustomed to some rather wild tales and am not surprised by what I read as attributed to Christiana Mirabilis (surely not Miribilis?), but Basil was a founder of monastic orders like mine, and he was a great champion of orthodox theology. Even though I did decades of volunteer work with the mentally ill (and otherwise challenged), I have to go with Basil for his authentic and lasting accomplishments rather with Christina for her fanciful flights.

    • Bet Byrd's Gravatar Bet Byrd
      March 6, 2014 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

      That orthodoxy is currently giving me fits myself. Is orthodoxy also eternal?

      • Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
        March 6, 2014 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Well, a Congregational church near me votes annually on the text they will say as a creed for the year. I suppose that’s an alternative to “eternal orthodoxy”.

  43. tim lusk's Gravatar tim lusk
    March 6, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Christina gets my vote….I can relate. 🙂

  44. EHCulver's Gravatar EHCulver
    March 6, 2014 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Christina the Astonishing is in good company, e.g. St. Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663), said to be able to levitate and even fly. Still, I couldn’t face Dream Team (Systematics class at Perkins School of Theology) if I didn’t cast my vote for St. Basil.

  45. Cynthia Symons's Gravatar Cynthia Symons
    March 6, 2014 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, let’s see….. Correcting and protecting an accurate view of Christ for all generations to come, or girl flying in rafters? No contest for me…it’s all Basil.

  46. Sharon Kilpatrick's Gravatar Sharon Kilpatrick
    March 6, 2014 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    not sure yet how I’ll vote – I am not a fan of defining God (as in creeds), but I admire Basil’s work for the poor, and the notion that Christina sacrificed Heaven now for service to others.

    However, am I the only one who sees the National Cathedral’s Cannon in a blue (not purple) cassock?

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      March 6, 2014 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      Looks blue to me, too.

      • Linda DelaCruz's Gravatar Linda DelaCruz
        March 6, 2014 - 9:45 am | Permalink

        and to me as well.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      March 6, 2014 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      Hi Sharon! there are many many many shades of purple, ranging from those who have more blue to the more playful shades that have more red. Happy Lent!

      • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
        March 6, 2014 - 9:53 am | Permalink

        But I digress. It does look pretty blue!

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      March 6, 2014 - 10:11 am | Permalink

      It’s a photo thang. My mother has a purple plaid that always looks blue in photographs. I have faith that the good man’s garment truly is purple.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 6, 2014 - 10:22 am | Permalink

      It’s Cathedral purple. Beneath stained glass.

    • Jerry Rankin's Gravatar Jerry Rankin
      March 6, 2014 - 11:02 am | Permalink


    • March 6, 2014 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      And to me, too.

    • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
      March 6, 2014 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Came across blue on my screen, too.

      • Joan Smoke's Gravatar Joan Smoke
        March 6, 2014 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

        It sure looked blue to me!!

    • March 6, 2014 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Looks like Sarum Blue to me (maybe recorded during Advent?).

  47. Mike Grigsby's Gravatar Mike Grigsby
    March 6, 2014 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Christina for me….we have all heard of Basil…it is important to keep the memory of people like Christina alive!

  48. Ken Brannon's Gravatar Ken Brannon
    March 6, 2014 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I so wanted to vote for Christina, but I have seen too many people cloak their bizarre behavior in religious language, so I chose Basil because of his immense generosity.

  49. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 6, 2014 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Vote for Christina and you will be astonished. Basil has enough accolades and is soooo predictable. Christina lifts your spirits and helps you to fly.

    • March 6, 2014 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

      I did vote for Basil, but reading the wonderful write of about Christina absolutely lifted my spirits. Fly, indeed!

  50. EHCulver's Gravatar EHCulver
    March 6, 2014 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    The Dream Team consists of Dr. William J. Abraham and Dr. Bruce D. Marshall. Thank you, gentlemen, for kindling my interest in church history and doctrine, and therefore my love for Lent Madness.

  51. Ellen Polzien's Gravatar Ellen Polzien
    March 6, 2014 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    While Christina gets points for — well, for being astonishing, and for having her own song — my left brain is directing me to vote for the candidate with a more believable hagiography…so Basil the Great it is.

  52. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 6, 2014 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Being the 999th voter . . . I guess if I had waffled on my vote a little longer I could have been the 1000th voter. I knew nothing of Christina before today, so that almost led me to vote for her. We seem to have no room in our lives today for outside-of-the-box holiness. But the foundational importance of the mystery of the Trinity to my faith made me cast my vote for Basil in the end.

  53. Bill Geiger's Gravatar Bill Geiger
    March 6, 2014 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Everyone likes an underdog, and this is a classic first-round high-seed/low-seed match-up, but I cannot bring myself to vote for Christina the Unbelievable. Really. Unbelievable. And what about that collect? “…fine line between mysticism and mental illness…” Really?!! Maybe, sometimes, but is that really a helpful sentiment for the seriously mentally ill?

  54. Roxanne Tedford's Gravatar Roxanne Tedford
    March 6, 2014 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    How could I not vote for someone who “levitated into the rafters, where she perched like a bird…”?!?! Astonishing!

  55. David B.'s Gravatar David B.
    March 6, 2014 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    The Romanish thought of Purgatory made me not vote for Christina.

  56. Mary Eliot's Gravatar Mary Eliot
    March 6, 2014 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Newbie here and not sure what to press to “vote”, so I’ll leave a comment and hope it gets in the pile. Gotta love Christina whose faith gave her wings, but I’m thinking that Basil’s sacrifice of coming out of retirement to attend political religious in-fighting is pretty heroic. Going with him for standing firm for what he believed and helping to articulate it so others could then see the choice.

  57. janine's Gravatar janine
    March 6, 2014 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Christina for me. Got to go with someone who goes out of their way to suffer for others. There were and are others that choose to suffer in poverty for others but she went beyond that…

  58. Alan C's Gravatar Alan C
    March 6, 2014 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    I know Basil is a hero of orthodoxy, but I’m a sucker for a good Medieval saint’s legend.

  59. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    March 6, 2014 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Christina gets my vote!! Not only did she turn down a leisurely eternity in Heaven in order to serve the poor(can relate), she was a rugged individualist!
    This is of course, in absence of him who should be in the lineup…….

  60. Tom in Daytona's Gravatar Tom in Daytona
    March 6, 2014 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    As one who leans more Arian than Trinitarian, I side with Christina the Crazy Woman. Jesus, too, was called crazy. Christina, as you fly about, save us from the vampires being worshiped by the younger generation. Btw, have you sold your movie rights yet? Who’s your agent?

  61. Pam Griffin's Gravatar Pam Griffin
    March 6, 2014 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    My first thought was, “How can I possibly vote for anyone named Christina?” However, as I read Penny Nash’s description, I changed that thought to, “How can I possibly NOT vote for this Christina??!” So what if she was high-flying? Indeed, there is a thin line, at best, between mysticism and mental illness.

  62. Mel's Gravatar Mel
    March 6, 2014 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Brutal! Heart vs Brain matchup… Arrrgh, Lent Madness starts off with a fiendish choice

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      March 6, 2014 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      Wait’ll we hit the Welseys….

      • March 6, 2014 - 11:41 am | Permalink

        Yes, just saw that match up … madness indeed, pitting brother against brother.

      • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
        March 6, 2014 - 2:35 pm | Permalink


  63. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 6, 2014 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Basil for me because the Cappadocian Fathers (and sisters) rock but in a perichoretic way 🙂

  64. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 6, 2014 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I’m using the saints this year to think about where I need to grow. As a scholar, Basil is easy. Christina is hard, and reminds me of the need to see Christ in everyone.

    • KEW's Gravatar KEW
      March 6, 2014 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Very much my own reaction!

    • rellingrw's Gravatar rellingrw
      March 6, 2014 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

      I also think that in our day and age non-religious people often see those of us who are religious as being challenged by reason, or not quite as smart as we could be. I celebrate Basil, but Christina’s is the harder witness.

  65. March 6, 2014 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I, too, expected to support the tried and true Basil but at the last minute Christina won my vote. The mentally ill and therapists both need a patron saint to sort out living every single day. The trinity is less important and was always a bizarre thing to fight over.

  66. Diane Lynch's Gravatar Diane Lynch
    March 6, 2014 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    For those who stand on that thin line between mysticism and mental illness.

  67. Joan Cesare's Gravatar Joan Cesare
    March 6, 2014 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Modern science is now, more and more, beginning to study relationships between our understanding of physics and humans’ mystical/religious experiences. As intriguing as the “answers”, so far, are…there still remains to us a fine line between the nutcase and the saint. There may be a little of both in each of us.
    Born into a time when she just as well might have been killed to spare those around her further “astonishment”…the fact that she lived into her 70’s, and that townsfolk came forward willingly to attest to her, um, well, whatever it was she was doing…convinced me that she was probably the Real Thing. What KIND of thing? Haven’t the foggiest. But Christina gets my vote this morning. God’s ways are not our ways.

  68. Lee Pierce's Gravatar Lee Pierce
    March 6, 2014 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    It is not clear how to vote to a newcomer. The “Vote” at the bottom of the two biographies should be a live link to the ballot.

  69. March 6, 2014 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    My therapist needs all the patron saints she can get. As does every mental health professional I have ever known…how could I not vote for the patron saint who walked (levitated!?!?!) to the beat of a different drummer? 🙂

  70. March 6, 2014 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    A vote for astonishing is the only way to begin Lent Madness!

  71. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 6, 2014 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I like Christina because of her help with the mentally ill. These marginalized people need much love and help.

  72. Pam C's Gravatar Pam C
    March 6, 2014 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    My thoughts about God and my relationship with him continue to grow, expand and change as he reveals more of himself to me. It has pushed past so many of my earlier boundaries of concept, that I have stopped trying to define God with a hard line. I have a bit of a struggle with the Nicene Creed for these very reasons, and – I’ve seen some awesome, mystical things myself. I appreciate Basil and his contributions. I understand why it’s necessary to fundamentally define a faith….. but then there are the mystical things God reveals. I vote for Christina…… God works in mysterious ways.

  73. Jane Cox's Gravatar Jane Cox
    March 6, 2014 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Here is a link to Nick Cave and the Bad Seed “singing” Christina the Astonishing. The song itself is more creepy than astonishing. Perhaps those listening to this additional burden Christina has had to bear will be encouraged to vote for her.

    • March 6, 2014 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      Thanks for posting the video, Jane!

    • March 6, 2014 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      Hmm, I think you mean awful. And I say that as an Aussie. Yeesh.

    • March 6, 2014 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

      They say there’s a song for everything but couldn’t find basil the Great lyrics anywhere so one more reason to stay with the astonishing.

  74. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    March 6, 2014 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    Well, guys…’scuse me!…most noble SEC…you know how to start us off, don’t you? I have to go with Basil, the tried and true, and the foundation for all we believe, especially after getting my ashes yesterday. Abby and Madeleine, congrats on being #1 and #2. I was nowhere near being awake then.

  75. Carole Maddux's Gravatar Carole Maddux
    March 6, 2014 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Since I run a free clinic for the poor, how could I not vote for Basil the Great? He rooted healthcare, especially to the poor, in Christian life by his founding of Basiliad. During St. Basil’s funeral, St. Gregory described it like this: “Go forth a little way from the city, and behold the New City, the storehouse of piety, the common treasury of the wealthy … where disease is regarded in a religious light, and disaster is thought a blessing, and sympathy is put to the test.” St. Basil made it clear to Christians that caring for the sick was our duty. To me, this is a greater and more pertinent legacy than any theological argument could be. Though, of course, you can argue that without the theology, the care and service would not have happened.

    • Emily Bardeen's Gravatar Emily Bardeen
      March 6, 2014 - 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much. I didn’t know this. If I had, my obvious choice of Christina would have taken longer. As mush as I admire his work, we need more attention to the mentally ill and those who care for them. Keep up the good work Christina!

  76. Becki Dean's Gravatar Becki Dean
    March 6, 2014 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    I too assumed I would be voting for Basil the Great, that is until I read about Christina the Astonishing whom I have never heard of before. Working with the homeless on the streets of my city she really hit home. God bless all of you out there who are committed to God’s work with these children of God. You are blessed.

  77. Georgianna's Gravatar Georgianna
    March 6, 2014 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    As a future social worker, I can’t help but make Christina the Astonishing. Basil would have been my logical choice, but knowing people who suffer from mental illness, I am casting my vote for Christina.

  78. Russ's Gravatar Russ
    March 6, 2014 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Tough way to start! My birth saint vs. a beautiful story. My sympathy for Christina, but I gotta vote Basil.

  79. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 6, 2014 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I voted for Christina in honor of a young man in my parish who recognized himself in her. You rock, Chris! This vote is for you!

  80. Cody's Gravatar Cody
    March 6, 2014 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Christina has my vote! While hagiography is always a spotty in terms of hard facts, the hagiographies of women saints are regularly (or perhaps almost always) edited to fit into the confines of the (usually) male hagiographer’s particular theological, political, and social biases and presuppositions. Since Christina sounds amazing even *after* her hagiographers fit her into their own mold of sanctity, I cannot imagine what sorts of wonderful things she actually did. For example, the hagiographers have the locals flocking to Christina for counsel and confession well into her 70s. If *that* made it through the hagiographical madness, imagine what was left out!

    And at the end of the day, Basil and Christina, pray for us!

  81. Erin Redden's Gravatar Erin Redden
    March 6, 2014 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    The Basil and the Trinity versus Christina and the Astonishing…I felt drawn to vote for Basil, however my instinct says to go with the mystical Christina. She had me at her quote, “my life will be astonishing, like nothing you have ever seen.” I too long for an astonishing life and believe that anything is possible. Her willingness to understand and council those mentally ill individuals is inspiring and most of the time a thankless job.

  82. Linda DelaCruz's Gravatar Linda DelaCruz
    March 6, 2014 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    My vote won’t stop loading. Don’t know if I should leave the site. I certainly want my vote to count!

  83. Phillip B.'s Gravatar Phillip B.
    March 6, 2014 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    How could a therapist not vote for Christina?
    Fine line indeed. Thanks Penny.

    • March 6, 2014 - 10:16 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Phillip!

    • March 6, 2014 - 10:28 am | Permalink

      As a person who suffers from a mental illness, clinical depression, I had to vote for Christina too. I know that fine line very well, and I thank God for my wonderful psychiatrist, who I think would vote for Christina as well.

  84. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 6, 2014 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Christina the Astonishing. Bless her heart!

  85. Virginia's Gravatar Virginia
    March 6, 2014 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    As astonishing as Christina is, Basil has had a special place in my heart ever since seminary, when a seminar group struggled through laborious translation of a page-and-a-half long single sentence of an oration of Basil, followed by three words: Toioutos o bios, Such is life. Indeed. We love that over which we labor.

  86. Linda T.'s Gravatar Linda T.
    March 6, 2014 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Christina – “the smell of human sin was too much for her.”

  87. Glenn Brown's Gravatar Glenn Brown
    March 6, 2014 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Basil Basil He’s our man if he can’t do it no one can!

  88. March 6, 2014 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    As someone who has a mental illness (clinical depression) I had to vote for Christina. I’m very well acquainted with that “fine line between mysticism and mental illness.”

  89. nan dill's Gravatar nan dill
    March 6, 2014 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    My mother was mentally ill, hidden undiagnosed in the shadows of a small town, and I was a child, alone on the streets till I wandered into a church. The church secretary later scooped me into her fold and became my stabilizing “Basil.” Logically, I should perhaps vote for him. But my vote is for this fascinating & astonishing “child of God,” Christina, in memory of a mother whose endings I have no knowledge.

    • March 6, 2014 - 11:25 am | Permalink

      Thanks for this, Nan. I’m so glad that someone in a church loved you into stability after what you (and your mother) went through.

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      March 6, 2014 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Amen. It’s stories like this that make LM more than jollity.

  90. March 6, 2014 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    “[Christian] recoiled from human contact…because the smell of human sin was too much for her.” I’m guessing she didn’t smell too great either! No matter, she gets my vote!

  91. Alan C's Gravatar Alan C
    March 6, 2014 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Even if Christina doesn’t win this competitition, I have two thoughts:

    1. She may have the best saint’s moniker ever (“the Astonishing”)!
    2. Someone should found a Society of St. Christina the Astonishing–perhaps dedicated to helping the mentally ill.

  92. Melody's Gravatar Melody
    March 6, 2014 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Famous saint, father of the Nicene creed versus someone I had not heard of… I have to go with Christina the Astonishing, an underdog and the saint for mental illness… something that is still not understood in our day.

  93. Adam Lees's Gravatar Adam Lees
    March 6, 2014 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    I cast my vote for the dear Basil. As a fan of antiquity and the actions and events that shape precedent (in some sense, really brought us to where we are), Basil started ahead. Christina, whom I had never heard of before today, was also quite astonishing and set off a deadlock. Where I live, in Virginia, mental health issues have become a major issue locally and statewide – and I leapt when I saw she was the patron of both the mentally ill and those who cared for them. The tipping point, funnily enough, was the collect. I have moved temporarily and it resulted in a swift diminishing of my spiritual life, so the prayer to be “constant in worship” and “steadfast in confession” struck a chord that needed striking. So I vote for him.

  94. March 6, 2014 - 11:00 am | Permalink


    Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. Indeed astonishing things happen to so many of us and mercies great and small flow around us in abundance. Your life is a witness to an astonishing act of love. My hope for you is that Christina has embraced your mother and led her into paradise.

  95. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 6, 2014 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Imagine being willing to leave her place in heaven to return to witness to us. I have often contemplated perching in the wonderful rafters of churches I have worshiped in. And to provide needed support for those who suffer from mental illness and those who minister to them? Christina, you rock, Gal.

  96. Lindsey McLennan's Gravatar Lindsey McLennan
    March 6, 2014 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Although I shy away from “challenging others” and lean more toward invitation, my cynicism–especially about out-of-body/dying and coming back experiences–was challenged by Christina. The logical side of my brain says she was still alive in the coffin (coma/fugue state), and her brain chemicals created a dream-like state with visions of heaven and hell, but we are invited and called to a mysterious faith. It’s uncomfortable to be challenged, but sometimes we need to be challenged. I agree–Basil was, and is, Great, but God used Christina’s story to challenge my earth-bound cynicism.

  97. Jean-Pierre Seguin's Gravatar Jean-Pierre Seguin
    March 6, 2014 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    As important as Basil is, I had to vote for Christina in honor of her willingness to walk on the edge of sanity and work to heal the great suffering she felt. The church needs examples showing that those of us who struggle with mental illness need to be included and supported though our witness may at times appear strange to others.

  98. David Kendrick's Gravatar David Kendrick
    March 6, 2014 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    It sort of feels like a brain vs. heart thing here. Basil is huge in the development of Christian teaching. But Christina’s story is truly “astonishing.” I wish she hadn’t gone up against one of the giants among the Fathers of the Church right off the bat. I would like to have voted for her, but I went for Basil.

  99. March 6, 2014 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Although I am quite charmed by the story of a woman who stood in trees because the smell of sin was too much for her, I must go with Basil. He gave us a structure that still holds us together. I do like his wording: “Glory to the Father with the son together with the Holy Spirit.” Makes the mystery a little more understandable for me.

  100. Max Bailey's Gravatar Max Bailey
    March 6, 2014 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    This is clearly a choice between The Church and mysticism. I chose the latter, much more exciting.

  101. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    March 6, 2014 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    Christina for me … on behalf of those whose souls are troubled, including my father and mother-in-law, both with forms of dementia.

  102. Erin's Gravatar Erin
    March 6, 2014 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    While the ideal defended by Basil helps form the foundation that the modern church is laid on, I believe that Lent is more about sacrifices made for the benefit of others. So, in that spirit, I select Christina, who wanted to alleviate the suffering of others through suffering herself.

    • Erin's Gravatar Erin
      March 6, 2014 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      Well said, Erin! Come on, Christina! In the spirit of Lent!

  103. Daniel's Gravatar Daniel
    March 6, 2014 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    My initial instinct was to vote for Basil the Great: he isn’t called “Great” for nothing, and his contributions to the Church have had tremendous impact throughout history. However, that was my head talking; my heart urged me to vote for Christina. “Astonishing” trumps “great,” and I enjoyed learning about this remarkable woman. So much of history, religious and secular, is focused on what men thought and with not enough attention on how women lived. Additionally, whether Christina suffered from mental illness or a “holy madness” or both, people today who cope with mental illness need a patron and advocate and role model. My round one vote goes to Christina the Astonishing.

  104. B. Morris's Gravatar B. Morris
    March 6, 2014 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Christina. We lived in Belgium and sometimes the dark, rainy climate can cause people to do radical things. If she’d lived in the 20th century, she would have gone to the Canary Islands to escape as the Belgians now do. But also, as someone dealing with dementia in the family, I’m adding her to my heavenly prayer chain. Pray for us, Christina.

  105. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    March 6, 2014 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Christina would vote for Basil, so I do too! I am also in the mood for something with pesto …

    • CCthe SoWo's Gravatar CCthe SoWo
      March 6, 2014 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      Thank you to those who wrote the fascinating bios of these two outstanding saints. However, when picking for the vote, I use and recommend the same method that would put me in serious debt if I lived near a racetrack: go with the name you like best. While you may think I would be lured to vote for Basil by the connection to pesto, I was not. Christina, such a dainty and musical name, ruled the day. Although I must confess to being influenced by the lovely picture of her in flight with her gorgeous green garments.

      • Erin's Gravatar Erin
        March 6, 2014 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Me too!

  106. joy's Gravatar joy
    March 6, 2014 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    As a follower of God, Christ holds particular relevance that is not in any way diminished for me (or i would argue the Church) by not holding to the esse of Trinitarianism. That all of creation is of God suffices to hold within it the creation of Christ and the Holy Spirit as separate yet crucial for both providing us the living example of God in Jesus and the ongoing inbreaking and “Still Speaking,…” of God in the world and in lives down thru the ages & today & future. As a proponent of the thought that in Christiana’s world there were plenty of examples of suffering, abuse, cruelty & perhaps her own experiences with loss of control and/or severe cultural confinement to a spirit so free (ie characteristics of Purgatory) i have no need to accept purgatory as a real place. I believe this places me in Arianism with regard to Christ and out of Basil’s camp. Also, given that my interest and longing for our faith is the discovery and benefits of God’s feminine and the knowledge I have both scholarly and personally of the emotion of Love in the “nature” of God as expressed for me in the life, death and resurrection of Christ, Christina has my vote!

  107. March 6, 2014 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    I parent a profoundly gifted son with a mental health diagnosis; live a holy, fruitful life of ministry, scholarship, and (sometimes mystical) prayer with one myself; and know many others who do as well. Hence I vote for Christina–and raise my voice in a prophetic protest against the ableist remarks by blogwriter and commenters including “the fine line between mental illness and mysticism” and the claim that all of us who are not neurotypical “live with inner torment” (some of us, some of the time, and it’s hardly unique to us). 20 to 25% of the human race live with a mental illness, and many conditions include powerful intellectual and spiritual gifts along with the challenges–yet both church and society stigmatize us and view us only as pathetic recipients of ministry rather than generous and gifted exercisers of it (for instance, in prayers and preaching on themed “mental illness” Sundays which call “us” the presumed neurotypical church to welcome and help “them” the disabled). This drives huge numbers of my sisters and brother without social privilege, safe conditions, and appropriate healthcare into jail and onto the streets–and, often, those of us who enjoy these rights into the “crazy closet” lest we lose credibility and respect in professional and ministry contexts and have our advocacy for ourselves and others written off. I recommend reading Monica Coleman’s work and Nancy Eiesland’s The Disabled God for a more balanced and respectful perspective.

    • March 6, 2014 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Mother Laura, thank you for expanding the discussion here. And BTW, Nancy Eiesland taught at my seminary and was a powerful voice and force for, with, and among those who often have no voice.

    • March 6, 2014 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Preach it, Mother Laura!! I’m a Harvard Law graduate whose great-grandmother spent 50 years in the state insane asylum. We are all part of God’s creation and all have unique gifts to offer. Christina is definitely winning the comments section, if not the official balloting (yet).

    • MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
      March 7, 2014 - 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Mother Laura, I’m with you, although I find the 20-25% figure dubiously low.

  108. March 6, 2014 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I appreciate the comment (can’t find it to attribute right now) honoring the creativity of many people with mental illness– and suggest that “the desire to be more *typical* would be a more helpful phrasing rather than “the desire to be more normal”. We are part of the beautiful spectrum that God created–not abnormal!

  109. March 6, 2014 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    The write up on Basil neglects to mention the powerful influence of his mother Emmelia who raised ten spiritual and gifted children–and that of his older sister Macrina whom he recounts gratefully as kicking his arrogant butt and getting him back on track spiritually when he came back from his studies “puffed up, not built up” in Paul’s words!

  110. joy's Gravatar joy
    March 6, 2014 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    As a follower of God, Christ holds particular relevance that is not in any way diminished for me (or i would argue the Church) by not holding to the esse of Trinitarianism. That all of creation is of God suffices to hold within it the creation of Christ and the Holy Spirit as separate yet crucial for both providing us the living example of God in Jesus and the ongoing inbreaking and “Still Speaking,…” of God in the world and in lives down thru the ages & today & future thru the Holy Spirit.

    Since I think in Christiana’s world there were plenty of examples of suffering, abuse, cruelty & perhaps her own experiences with loss of control and/or severe cultural confinement to a spirit so free (ie the suffering characteristics of Purgatory) i have no need to accept that the purgatory she saw was a real place beyond this world.

    I believe this places me in Arianism with regard to Christ and therefore out of Basil’s camp. Also, given that my interest and longing for our faith is the discovery and benefits of God’s feminine and the knowledge I have both scholarly and personally of the oft described emotion of Love in the “nature” of God – expressed for me in the life, death and resurrection of Christ, Christina has my vote!

  111. Sara P. Howrey's Gravatar Sara P. Howrey
    March 6, 2014 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    I like upsets in the early rounds. Christina. (and the color is definitely blue)

  112. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    March 6, 2014 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    My vote went to the astonishing candidate, the one who understood befuddled thinking and behavior in God’s people…then blessed them by working to ground the foundations of our faith, the Trinity and Nicene Creed. St. Basil was the Astonishing One who reconciled thinking to include both mysticism as well as scripture/tradition/reason. Basil nurtured the body, the mind and the spirit of God’s people.

  113. Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
    March 6, 2014 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Christina, because she was a Christian Bodhisattva. Imagine having the choice between heaven/nirvana or staying outside to suffer for others. Her heart must have been so full of love!

  114. Margaret Moran's Gravatar Margaret Moran
    March 6, 2014 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Church foundation vs. Flitting Creature. No contest for me. And I think the real sufferers might have been Christina’s family, driven to keep her out of trouble. Thanks but no thanks. Margaret

  115. Deb's Gravatar Deb
    March 6, 2014 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Basil, because at the end of the day I want someone who is willing to feed the crowd.

  116. March 6, 2014 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m frustrated when I try to vote and can find nothing that works. What am I missing ?

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      March 6, 2014 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Under both bios, you should see
      Vote! (Only once per person!)
      Basil the Great vs. Christina the Astonishing
      Under that are their names with little circles. Click in the circle of the person you wish to vote for.

  117. Helen Klaviter's Gravatar Helen Klaviter
    March 6, 2014 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Basil gets my vote. But Christina and her family and friends get my tears.

  118. March 6, 2014 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Clarification point to my initial comment: on rereading I notice that Penny Nash who wrote up Cristina did not herself write the ableist collect claiming that mentally ill people are on one side of a line, however fine, and mystics on another. More care in vetting such in the future from both blog writers and overall SEC approvers would be gratefully appreciated.

    • March 6, 2014 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

      I read it just the opposite way, Mother Laura. That mystics are capable of mental illness, and people with a mental illness diagnosis are also capable of great mysticism.

      • Nana lyn's Gravatar Nana lyn
        March 7, 2014 - 11:30 pm | Permalink

        Agree with you here, those who suffer mental illness are capable of all things, including mysticism, as as those who aren’t blessed with mental illness, when will our society stop creating barriers especially Christian hurdles.

  119. DeAnna B's Gravatar DeAnna B
    March 6, 2014 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice. Tempted to go with Basil and the Nicene Creed, but I work for a church that serves the homeless and mentally challenged. Never knew Christina is our saint. And, anyone with “Astonishing” seems worth a vote. Hmmm. Think I do have to go with Basil.

  120. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 6, 2014 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    As a person who deals with bipolar, and had my own healing miracle through the acceptance of Christ into my life, I could vote no other way except Christiana

  121. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 6, 2014 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I loved the write-up on Christina and almost voted for her. But Basil gets my vote, not only for helping us to understand the Trinity (and really, folks, it’s not that complicated), but for all the work he did for the poor and the hungry. He put his theology to work in solid ways and is a role model for me. Go, Basil!

    • Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
      March 6, 2014 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly, Lauren!

  122. Christy's Gravatar Christy
    March 6, 2014 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    WOW, I need to remember to read the comments before casting my ballot, not that I would have changed my vote (for Basil) but that might not always be the case. Lobbying is good, unless you consider those in Gucci Gulch, Washington, DC.

  123. Brendan O.'s Gravatar Brendan O.
    March 6, 2014 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Penny Nash made a much more compelling case for Christina the astonishing than I would have expected, given my pre-Lent Madness perusal of Wikipedia. However, I have to go with Basil. While other commenters have framed this as a heart vs. brain vote, I have to say that the mystery of the Trinity is very much a matter of the heart for me, a majestic, humbling uncertainty at the core of our faith.

  124. Susan Klemmer's Gravatar Susan Klemmer
    March 6, 2014 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m excited to play again this year, and this was a great first match up! I read both and still had no easy decision. Prayed. Did some work. Prayed some more and let the Spirit guide me. Couldn’t resist Christina for all of the reasons so many others have articulated. Yes, we would be a different faith community without Basil, and he’ll probably win, but Christina touched me. More likely, God touched me through Christina. Thanks for putting up such a great match!

  125. Heather Lee-Kita's Gravatar Heather Lee-Kita
    March 6, 2014 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    My first round of my first Lent Madness and it looks like Lent Madness is going to be a real brain stretcher for me, which I’m going to love! This was tough right out of the gate. My first inclination was to vote for Basil however, since my family is dealing with several different forms of mental disabilities and illnesses I had to go with Christina.

  126. Shana Abraham's Gravatar Shana Abraham
    March 6, 2014 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Basil has my vote! Christina was definetly intriguing, should I say, er, astonishing but I appreciate the work he did for those less fortunate. Go Badil!

  127. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 6, 2014 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a tough choice! But, although I am very trinitarian, I had to vote for Christina. We all know so many people who are, to a greater or lesser degree, ‘mentally ill’, that it is good to know there is a saint on their side.

    I also loved the Opening Ceremonies video! Thanks, SEC and celebrity bloggers, I can see it’s going to be a great year!

  128. Bob Mayer's Gravatar Bob Mayer
    March 6, 2014 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Initial round here too. Basil, in a sense, clarified Faith; howsomever, Christina used whatever faith she had as a foundation; therefore, I choose Christina.

  129. Rosemary Beales's Gravatar Rosemary Beales
    March 6, 2014 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

    On behalf of the fourth graders of St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Episcopal) School in Alexandria, VA, I cast a vote for Christina the Astonishing. My four sections of fourth grade voted 50 to 14 for C the A, largely unmoved by Basil’s contributions to the Nicene Creed and to orthodoxy. Really, how can you compete with perching in the rafters like a bird? We look forward to voting for Stephen and Agnes one day!

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      March 6, 2014 - 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I will be tracking these bellweather voters with tremendous interest!

    • March 6, 2014 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Rosemary Beales, wish ALL those 4th graders could cast official ballots!!!!

  130. Anne Wrider's Gravatar Anne Wrider
    March 6, 2014 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I prefer boots-on-the-ground Basil to perched-in-the-rafters Christina. And that cassock is definitely blue!

  131. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 6, 2014 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    As a fan of Basil, another “ugh” vote for: “In the 4th century, one of the great controversies was Arianism, or the belief that Jesus was subordinate to God and was not created with God the Father, but at a later time; therefore, Jesus was distinct from God.” Basil would have agreed with the Anthanasian Creed: “The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.”

  132. JudyStevens's Gravatar JudyStevens
    March 6, 2014 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Can’t figure out how to vote for Basil, a real person, over a woman about whom tales were made up.

  133. Janet Graham's Gravatar Janet Graham
    March 6, 2014 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Voted in haste for Basil, now repenting as I read all the very persuasive comments for Christina.

  134. Tara Soughers's Gravatar Tara Soughers
    March 6, 2014 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Christina. The way of theologian/teacher was a way that was open only to men. Because of that men are more recognized and honored than women. In order for women to be recognized, they often had to exhibit severe ascetical tendencies. Although an extreme example (and one that I would not emulate), Christina is an exemplar of many, many women who tried to live lives of holiness in a culture in which harsh treatment of one’s body was a necessary element for women. I admire her courage, and her willingness to be outrageous for the sake of the Gospel, in a repressive culture for women that “rewarded” women who abused their bodies.

  135. Debbie Shaffer's Gravatar Debbie Shaffer
    March 6, 2014 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I voted, but I got no sort of confirmation – so I’m not sure it went through. I’m afraid to click it again lest it appear I’m trying to vote twice! Once you submit a vote, do you get a message like, “Thank you for voting”? or something?

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      March 6, 2014 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Once you vote, those little voting circles disappear & the current percentage of votes appears (at least on my computer).

  136. March 6, 2014 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Just voted for Christina the Astonishing.Basil is Great and all but I thought she was/is the perfect paradigm for servant minded, sacrificial ministry – the heart and mind of Lent. (Even though if she were my parishoner, I’d think of her as a bit of [forgive me!] a whack-job.)

  137. Pamm's Gravatar Pamm
    March 6, 2014 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I think it took a great deal of courage for Basil to stand for The Trinity, a concept previously unknown. While I appreciate how Crishtina stood for the mentally ill (or perhaps more correctly ‘perched’) my vote is for Basil.

  138. Jean Abbe's Gravatar Jean Abbe
    March 6, 2014 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Basil, not for his theology (which I will never understand) but for his good deeds. I see people like Christina every day on my way to work, and while they are, of course, all saints, as we all are, I do not see that their actions match Basil’s.

  139. March 6, 2014 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Basil. Even though the title of “the Astonishing” was awesome, her story had me raising the Eyebrow of Skepticism. On the other hand, (or perhaps with the Brow of Belief) calling attention to mental illness is very important, and if anyone needs a saint, someone struggling with that certainly deserves an astonishing one. But Basil it is; go Nicea!

  140. elizabeth pennington's Gravatar elizabeth pennington
    March 6, 2014 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I am hoping that if Basil wins, Episcopalians will be forced to learn how to pronounce the name Cappadocia properly so that when they visit Turkey they will at the very least be able to get directions to the area from local inhabitants. Tired of wincing.

  141. Amy Fallon's Gravatar Amy Fallon
    March 6, 2014 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    While Christine is astonishing, Basil and his Cappadocian Gang had a lasting impact on the faith.

  142. March 6, 2014 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The write up on Basil, unfortunately, is unfair to Arians–they did not at all deny the divinity of the Word/Wisdom/Second Person, just saw it as lesser than the First Person’s out of honor for Jewish monotheism (and their exegesis of the texts on Wisdom). I come down with Nicea but as a scholar of early church dislike stigmatizing “heretics” especially when their theological insights are ignored or misstated. And Jesus’ humanity was created and time bound, by the way–only the divine Second person who became incarnate in him was eternal along with First and Third–though communicatio idiomatorum allows us to speak of him as eternal.

  143. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 6, 2014 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I was touched, and yes, astonished, by Christina’s experiences and actions, but I inclined towards Basil, for reasons that may have been Fawlty.

  144. Will Bergmann's Gravatar Will Bergmann
    March 6, 2014 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Knowing and loving several who suffer from mental illness and since my cheese is pretty close to slipping off the cracker, I almost voted for Christina but in the end, in a rare moment of clarity, I had to go with Basil.

  145. Marie Greatorex's Gravatar Marie Greatorex
    March 6, 2014 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    After careful consideration, Christina seems somewhat flighty, though she has risen to a higher acclaim. Alas I went with Basil.

  146. Jon's Gravatar Jon
    March 6, 2014 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m going with Basil, but it’s mostly because of his tremendously emphatic advocacy on behalf of the poor, not because of his work in theology.

  147. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    March 6, 2014 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    We voted for Tinker Bell. Oops, we mean Christina the Astonishing!

  148. Bryan Jones's Gravatar Bryan Jones
    March 6, 2014 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    1. It will be interesting to see who wins; the real person or the imaginary one.
    2. Arians did not hold the Father was created first and the Son later. They believe with their orthodox opponents that the Father is not created at all. As God, the Father is the uncreated Creator of all. Arianism held that the Son was created and therefore not God like the Father.
    3. Why would Basil’s commitment to orthodoxy detract from his focus on ministry to the poor?

  149. March 6, 2014 - 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m a sufferer of mental illness myself (Depression, Anxiety, OCD) so it’s nice to know there’s a saint out there representing those of us who do suffer. Plus, I can’t pass up the whimsical nature of her hagiography!

  150. Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
    March 6, 2014 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    As someone who has a continual struggle to maintain sanity (politics, you know), I should vote for Christina, and I have always been annoyed that the creeds totally ignore Jesus’ life and ministry, but that may not be Basil’s fault. I like the Trinity. Will have to think more about this.

  151. Jeanette's Gravatar Jeanette
    March 6, 2014 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a vote for the distinct, intense reality of true un-medicated womanhood! Go St. Christina!

  152. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 6, 2014 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    This is my first year of Lenten Madness! – what a joy to meet these saints and hear their story. If the comments are true that Catherine’s b-day is July 24th, I will have to vote for her as my b-day is one day later. Wish I could arise from the dead and fly into the rafters! (oh yeah then you have to do the hard work after for another 50 years?? – maybe not such a good wish). Both great saints. Again I will have fun with this for Lent!

  153. Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
    March 6, 2014 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I was quite prepared to vote for Basil, until , upon reading the bio of Christina, I realized that I had very likely seen her in our congregation last night. I thought at the time she was a Pixie, and now I believe she was sent to encourage me to vote for Christina.

  154. Jane Hawthorne's Gravatar Jane Hawthorne
    March 6, 2014 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    This was a left-brain/right-brain matchup for me and so since I am “left-brained” and Presbyterian, Basil seemed the logical choice for me. Decently and in order!

  155. Joan Smoke's Gravatar Joan Smoke
    March 6, 2014 - 4:07 pm | Permalink

    My vote is for Christina! She has added great enthusiasm and joy to the adventure of Lent Madness, here at Trinity Church (egad! is that being disloyal). She definitely has the votes here! Honorable as tasteful as Basil is/was I have been totally astounded by Christina!!

  156. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 6, 2014 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Can anything good come from Belgium? The jury’s still out on that question but apparently “astonishing” is another matter entirely. Today’s match-up of Great vs Astonishing sounds like it was suggested by Marvel Comics, but what a great way to kick off the competition…and this season of penitent reflection.

    • Freeman's Gravatar Freeman
      March 6, 2014 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

      let’s see: best beer in the world, check. best french fries in the world, check. best chocolate in the world, check. next question?

  157. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    March 6, 2014 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Basil.
    Catherine was too astonishing for me to take seriously. 🙂

  158. Eugene Palmore's Gravatar Eugene Palmore
    March 6, 2014 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    It seems that some of our present day observations about Christina and how astounding and “crazy” it appears through our modern eyes is exactly how many saw and experienced Jesus and his astounding feats of power and exhibits of moral and spiritual authority. Even today, if were to use logic and rationale in Jesus’ case, we would be deemed insane for believing a man could walk on water, command nature to bend to his will, cure mental illness with a word or a touch, make the blind to see, the lamb to walk and 5,000 hungry fed with two fish and five loaves of bread, the equivalent of a week of food stamps. Christina was an extraordinary and astonishing instrument of God’s will. Christina got my vote!

  159. Connor Bannon's Gravatar Connor Bannon
    March 6, 2014 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Have to go with St. Basil. In terms of positive influence on the Churh and, I believe, all of creation, Basil has left a much greater legacy than St. Christina. Both lived wonderful lives but I’m gonna have to give this one to Basil the Great.

  160. Julie McCord's Gravatar Julie McCord
    March 6, 2014 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Wow. As much as I can’t deny that Basil has the greater impact on the whole, I have to give my own vote to Christina, because as someone who has skated on that same edge and nearly fallen, I feel that she is more “my” saint.

  161. Margret's Gravatar Margret
    March 6, 2014 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I vote Christina the Astonishing because she is a reminder that our church is about the mystical and the mysterious as much as the practical and the pedestrian.

    And… the levitation at her own funeral!! Whoa! Astonishing!

  162. Becky's Gravatar Becky
    March 6, 2014 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I was impressed by the similarity of Christina’s death/resurrection experience to those described by people who have had a near-death, out-of-body experience. I wonder how such an event might have been understood, retold and recorded in Christina’s day. Had to vote for her. My husband is a Belgian-American.

  163. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    March 6, 2014 - 5:42 pm | Permalink

    A parable: Shortly before the Super Bowl, I was wearing my Pittsburgh Steelers jacket. An acquaintance looked at it quizzically, and then asked who I was rooting for in the Super Bowl. “The Steelers,” I said. Likewise, I voted for Christina (how can I not vote for this saint with my name?), and will continue to vote for her throughout the competition, even if she is outvoted in this round. Also, my husband had a long career as a mental health counselor. He and I agreed that Christina’s story reminds us of that of St. Francis of Assisi, although he didn’t perch in rafters or trees. He did run out onto a roof while in the clutch of delirium (or at least, in the movie he did….)

  164. March 6, 2014 - 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Two worthy candidates for sure, and surely two extraordinary lives. However, for this, my first vote ever, I cast my lot with Christina. The mentally ill (and I, being bipolar, am one) need all the patrons they can get, and Christina was indeed astonishing. You go, girl!

  165. Frances's Gravatar Frances
    March 6, 2014 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Having experienced dementia in one loved one and bipolar illness in another, I have to cast my vote for Christina the Astonishing!

  166. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 6, 2014 - 6:06 pm | Permalink

    BTW – that’s a really great collect, Nancy Hopkins-Greene!

  167. mary w's Gravatar mary w
    March 6, 2014 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Today I was feeling more astonished than great, although I appreciated learning about both of them.

    My comment, however, has to do with the Archbishops. Being only in my 3rd year of Lent Madness, I did not see the writeups from when they were actual contestants. Given their riveting commentary, which makes them ineligible to compete again, I’d like to see bios of them on the Lent Madness page. I want to know more!

  168. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 6, 2014 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Gotta cast my vote for Christina! Both are clearly worthy so it’s a hard choice.

  169. sue's Gravatar sue
    March 6, 2014 - 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you saint Christina, I needed that laugh today. This is my first ever lent madness vote. How could I not vote for Christina (who was astonishingly mad) when the name of this group is Lent Madness?!

  170. Ann Madison's Gravatar Ann Madison
    March 6, 2014 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Basil, but I immediately called my sister, a therapist, and encouraged her to vote for Christina. Talk about cancelling your own vote!

  171. Myra Ransick's Gravatar Myra Ransick
    March 6, 2014 - 7:24 pm | Permalink

    New to Lent Madness this year. I had no choice in this but to vote for Basil. Like him, if there’s a “fray” to be found, I’ll step firmly into it. Also I discovered from another source (sorry) that Basil was a lawyer before he became a monk. Being a retired lawyer (in recovery), I can certainly identify. There were days….

  172. Jeanette's Gravatar Jeanette
    March 6, 2014 - 7:31 pm | Permalink

    To me, this is not left brain vs. right brain. It is male-dominated paradigm vs. a potential female paradigm. If we lived inside a female paradigm, perhaps St. Basil would be patron saint of the mentally ill…

  173. A. R. Andrews's Gravatar A. R. Andrews
    March 6, 2014 - 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Since we’re emulating basketball, I went with Basil.
    I’m impressed with the “heights” that Christina rose to and clearly she can “rebound,” but can she dunk?
    Basil has the look of a “seasoned” coach.

  174. March 6, 2014 - 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Basil, but then the tidbit about the Nick Cave song made me say, “Oh, why the heck not vote for this odd ball!” It’s not called Lent “Madness” for nuthin’!

  175. Emily B.'s Gravatar Emily B.
    March 6, 2014 - 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I had hard time voting but in the end Christina got my vote.

  176. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 6, 2014 - 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Christina. Don’t hate me folks, but I have little fondness for the right-wing orthodox of the early church, and the Nicene creed sticks in my throat with theology inconsistent with the New Testament itself. I am sure Basil was a good man, but Christianity might have been better off if his faction didn’t “win.”
    And Christina, patron saint of the mentally ill? That alone would get my vote.

    • Nenya's Gravatar Nenya
      March 7, 2014 - 12:25 am | Permalink

      I’m right there with you. Christina seems a little mad, but then so am I and many others I love. And I can’t help but feel a little dubious about a lot of that early orthodoxy, and wonder how much of it is really true. Or more true than whoever Basil was fighting! (Though I like the parts about helping the poor.)

      Besides…how is “Christina the Astonishing” not a superhero name?

  177. Bob H's Gravatar Bob H
    March 6, 2014 - 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Basil but I get the feeling that Christina could be the Cinderella of the tournament.

  178. March 6, 2014 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Christina is closing the gap! What’s the deadline for voting? In which time zone???

  179. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 6, 2014 - 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand how Christina’s behavior after her “death experience” made “penances for those in Hell and Purgatory, that they might be released; and suffer to convert the living.” I do believe there is often a fine line between genius and insanity, but Basil’s my guy.

  180. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    March 6, 2014 - 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Christina’s resemblance to Lady Gaga almost swayed me in her direction but, in the end Basil got my vote.

  181. March 6, 2014 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    While I think Macrina would have been a better choice than either of her brothers (and I think they both would agree with that), I voted for Basil, the more down to earth of the two. LOL!

  182. Brenda J's Gravatar Brenda J
    March 6, 2014 - 10:22 pm | Permalink

    This is my first Lent Madness journey. While I’m ever grateful to Basil, I’ve surprised myself by voting for Christina! Someone needs to be the patron of the mentally ill and therapists, who bear crosses we cannot imagine. Christina you go girl!

  183. March 6, 2014 - 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Basil for me: I’m finishing up my master’s thesis in ecclesiology this semester; and as I’ve gotten older, the recitation of the Nicene Creed has become one of the contemplative high points of the Mass.

    I have to admit, though, Basil has something of an advantage as a representative of Clan Cappadocia!

  184. Fr. John J. Negrotto's Gravatar Fr. John J. Negrotto
    March 6, 2014 - 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Basil really made an impression on me. I am, however, biased toward Community monastics. He also made some serious transitions in his life by virtue of God’s Grace and God’s Gifts to him of “smarts”.
    Christina seems more astonishing than real considering levitation is not one of my favorite subjects. I believe that she led a holy life, but those accounts about her are full of too many holes! Believe it or don’t!

  185. March 6, 2014 - 11:30 pm | Permalink

    The more I learn, the less I know
    I hope my confusion helps me grow
    Spiritually – Voted Christina

  186. March 6, 2014 - 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Those who drew back from Christina because of an aversion to Purgatory should consider that Basil very likely believed in something like that too. Purgatory is fine with me; I figure a lot of us have some processing to do before we can truly appreciate eternal blessedness. But I am truly grateful to Basil of Caesarea for listening to his sister, and for giving my birthday a better handle than US Flag Day.

  187. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    March 6, 2014 - 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Okay, Basil didn’t have a rock song, but could this count?

  188. Gary's Gravatar Gary
    March 6, 2014 - 11:51 pm | Permalink

    For those of you concerned about the Canon’s vestment color, I thought the color a bit strange, but decided that it was violet, not blue. ( Certainly not purple in my book.) That being said, I have read of out of body experiences, but those were by the presumed dead person, not those watching. I, being somewhat skeptical or was it simply astonished) had to go with Basil.

  189. MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
    March 6, 2014 - 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I see mainstream theology has won out over divine madness. I voted for Christina, my newfound patron saint. Nice to know that when the darkness came God brought Christina to rise out of it to an astonishing place. Hope for me, too.

  190. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    March 7, 2014 - 12:09 am | Permalink

    I voted for Christina the astonishing, or at least I hope I did). I’m not sure it got through, since it kept circling, and saying “Loading”. I couldn’t look at the results either. Not sure if it’s my computer, or if an amazing Lenten miracle is occurring, and we’ve just got too many people voting for the server to be able to handle it. Either way, I’m gonna cheer for Christina.

  191. Cam Callihoo's Gravatar Cam Callihoo
    March 7, 2014 - 12:12 am | Permalink

    I vote for Christina the astonishing

  192. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 7, 2014 - 12:28 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it great to have such a sharing & caring Lent Madness community! LM is a great study of the different ways “the saints” responded to Jesus and give us hope that our response to Jesus is, and will be, a beacon to others.
    Oh, I did vote earlier for Basil. Anyone seen St. Basil’s church in Moscow? Quite spectacular on the outside, though we didn’t go inside because it was closed. That was in 1973. I wonder if there is more than one St. Basil or if the colorful church in Red Square was named for “our” St. Basil.

    • Sharon Monroe's Gravatar Sharon Monroe
      March 7, 2014 - 7:00 am | Permalink

      On the first round of voting, I read the information and voted quickly. I’ll not make that mistake again. Reading the comments gave me insight that I could have used to make a more informed decision. I have a feeling I will be a late voter from now on.

  193. Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
    March 7, 2014 - 12:36 am | Permalink

    If you think Christina was Astonishing, just wait till you get to Mary of Egypt. Great way to begin another season of Lentmadness, BTW. Congrats all round!

  194. Jerrie's Gravatar Jerrie
    March 7, 2014 - 7:57 am | Permalink

    “Basil lived what he preached. He never allowed his concern for proper orthodox belief to distract from his focus and work for the poor. ” for this reason alone he deserves to win.

  195. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 7, 2014 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Everyone else probably already knows this, but what is the amazing tool used to make the pictures of saints talk in the video??

  196. March 7, 2014 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    Is voting still open? Or is there a final tally yet?

    • ann hunt's Gravatar ann hunt
      March 7, 2014 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Basil may have won today but he will go down in the next round, …

  197. Adam's Gravatar Adam
    March 7, 2014 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. I was drawn to Christina as the Patron Saint of the mentally ill, because my family has been effected by mental illness. But in the end Basil defining the Trinity as we know it today won out.

  198. cecethe sowo's Gravatar cecethe sowo
    March 7, 2014 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Mother Laura and her awesome articulation of why I work in mental health and live with mine and others mental challenges.

  199. Marti's Gravatar Marti
    March 7, 2014 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Christina. Lord knows we need lot more help with mental health.

  200. Nana lyn's Gravatar Nana lyn
    March 7, 2014 - 11:22 pm | Permalink

    St Christine the astonishing gets my vote, this is why I love lent madness…..had never heard of her till you, thankyou
    Madness personally speaking

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