Ananias vs. Photini

In a week full of lopsided battles, yesterday’s matchup took the A to Z prize as Zenaida routed Apollonia 81% to 19%. She’ll advance to the Saintly Sixteen where she’ll take on the winner of Nicholas of Myra vs. Rudolph of Gubbio.

Today, we round out the second full week of Lent Madness with another Biblical bracket buster as Ananias faces Photini.

In other news, the Supreme Executive Committee was shocked to learn this week that there is another bracket-style tournament making the rounds. But instead of saints, this one features college basketball teams. What is this…madness?! Fear not, friends. The Lent Madness Legal Team is looking into all of our available options. Stay tuned.

Next week, we’ll finish up the Round of 32 and kick off the Saintly Sixteen on Thursday. But first, enjoy some sabbath time as we collectively rest from our voting labors through the weekend. Don’t worry, though, we’ll be back first thing Monday morning as Damien of Molokai faces Pandita Ramabai.


As a general rule, if we find that our lives of prayer and discipleship only lead to places of personal comfort and safety, then it’s quite likely we aren’t listening to God as closely as we should. In heeding the call of Jesus, Ananias of Damascus abandoned his own safety to receive, heal, and instruct the man who can be called Christianity’s most significant convert: Saul of Tarsus–Saint Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

The Acts of the Apostles records the call of Ananias. Jesus appears to him in a vision, calling Ananias to leave the safety of his home in Damascus and “look for a man of Tarsus named Saul.” Ananias knows of Saul’s vigorous persecution of the church in Jerusalem and argues with God: “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But Jesus tells Ananias to go anyway, “for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:11-15).

Ananias does as he is told. He finds Saul of Tarsus, blinded from his own encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road, at the home of a man named Judas in Damascus, just as Jesus has told him. Ananias recounts his own call to seek out Saul so that Saul may regain his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Saul’s sight is restored—“something like scales” fall from his eyes—and almost immediately thereafter Saul is baptized. Within days, Saul preaches with great eloquence to the power of Jesus in the Damascus synagogue, raising more than a few eyebrows among those who knew of his former life.

The story of Paul’s ministry occupies the majority of the Acts of the Apostles; Paul’s letters to the church communities constitute the bulk of the New Testament. Today’s church would not exist in its current form without Paul. But Paul’s journey as an apostle begins with the courage and faithfulness of Ananias, a disciple and follower of Jesus who heeds a call to go and pray with a man he only knows as a danger and a threat. Ananias’s extraordinary witness and courage commends him as an example for us to follow nearly two millennia later.

Collect for Ananias
Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints, and who raised up your servant Ananias of Damascus to be a light in the world; Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

David Sibley


Photini“So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’” (John 4:5-7).

These words begin the longest conversation Jesus has with another person in the gospels. The woman at the well isn’t named in the Gospel of John; we are given her gender (woman), her ethnicity (Samaritan), and her personal information (not what we’d call an upstanding citizen).

All the labels are warnings: This is not a person with whom Jesus should be talking. Yet Jesus does speak with her, and in response, she becomes a disciple and evangelist. We read in the Gospel of John that many Samaritans from that city believe in Jesus because of her testimony.

We don’t encounter her again in the gospels, but the early church continues her story. Baptized on Pentecost with her sisters and given the name Photini (luminous or enlightened one), she travels to Samaria and eventually Carthage, where her witness founds a vibrant Christian community.

Photini encounters Jesus in a vision, and subsequently travels from Carthage to Rome to bolster the courage of the persecuted community of Christians and share the gospel with Nero, the emperor. Instead of being converted, Nero orders Photini and the Christians beaten on the hands with iron rods. During the torture, Photini sings psalms. Seeing their hands unharmed, Nero throws the men into jail and invites Photini and her sisters to a grand banquet, hoping the display will entice Photini to rebuke her Christian faith. Photini shares the gospel with Nero’s daughter and converts her. Enraged even more, Nero further tortures Photini, then throws her into a well, where she praises God until she dies.

Sermons in the early church refer to her as an apostle and evangelist, standing equal to the twelve who go forth after the resurrection. Her faith is commemorated in many ancient hymns, including this verse from one associated with Ephrem:

Blessed are you, O Woman, drawer of ordinary water, who turned out to be a drawer of living water. You found the treasure, the Source from whom a flood of mercies flow.

Collect for Photini
O Almighty God, whose most blessed Son revealed to the Samaritan woman that He is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the World; grant us to drink of the well that springs up to everlasting life that we may worship you in spirit and in truth through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Laurie Brock

Ananias vs. Photini

  • Photini (64%, 4,975 Votes)
  • Ananias (36%, 2,831 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,806

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Ananias: Public Domain, Pietro da Cortona, Ananias Restoring the Sight of Saint Paul, 1631.
Photini: By Ted (St. Photini) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

175 Comments to "Ananias vs. Photini"

  1. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    March 22, 2019 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    We end the week with a tribute to our battling saints sung to the up-beat “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from the irrepressible musical “Annie”:

    Hey, Tarsus man,
    Saw Jesus, and…
    He said look for Saul –
    This man harming Christians has been blessed
    To lead us all.

    Saul’s solution be
    By Christ, he’s appalled,
    But Jesus said Saul’s fate has been blessed
    To lead us all.

    Christ said Saul’d be waiting
    Blind with scales upon his eyes.
    I told my tale. The scales fell off,
    And Saul became baptized.
    (That matters!)

    Never the same.
    Saul changed his name
    Becoming St. Paul.
    Ananias helped this man to be blessed.
    That sinner from Tarsus
    Whose fate was heaven blessed.
    To lead us all.

    My story’s famed,
    But I’m unnamed.
    My name rings no bell.
    John writes I’m the one that Christ addressed
    While at the well.

    He knows I am
    Yet with me he dwells.
    I drew for him and my life he blessed
    There at the well.

    I preached was arrested.
    The soldiers beat on my palms,
    But, by my faith, I wasn’t harmed.
    I knelt there singing psalms.
    (That mattered!)

    To Nero, I’m
    No hero and
    He rang my death knell.
    Due to me, his daughter Christ professed.
    Ironically, at best…
    He threw me fully dressed
    Into a well.

    • Jackson's Gravatar Jackson
      March 22, 2019 - 8:08 am | Permalink

      Love it. ♥️

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2019 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      I don’t know which is better—“persecutiony” or “fully dressed into the well”! What a hoot!

      Thank you, Michael, for putting the madness back in Lent Madness comments!

      • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
        March 22, 2019 - 8:34 am | Permalink

        Insight into the madness of Michael…

        Originally, I planned to use “That’s Amore” because (a) I have been calling Photini “Pasta Girl” since All Bracket’s Day and (2) lyrics like “When you go meet a guy and scales fall from his eye, that’s Ananias” just write themselves. But, it’s not from a musical, so I kept looking.

        I try to keep some of the character of the lyrics of the original song . Sometimes, I succeed. Other times, not so much. In the song from “Annie,” the lyric reads “You’re clothes may be Beau Brummelly” and that was too delicious to pass up. Thus, persecutiony! I was also so glad that I was able to slip “fully dressed” in there as an homage to the original lyric.

        Thank you everyone for your kind comments! I hope you have had as much fun as I have!

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          March 22, 2019 - 8:52 am | Permalink

          A martini, says Susan C, pasta, says you, and, says my husband, a photo lab–all the possibilitiesthe name “Photini” evokes! So far…

          I love your “that’s amore” idea–too bad it wasn’t a musical!

        • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
          March 22, 2019 - 8:54 am | Permalink

          Waiting to buy my ticket to the full review, “Forbidden Lent.” Thanks for the backstage glimpse, not to mention “…that’s Ananias.”

          • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
            March 22, 2019 - 9:00 am | Permalink

            A Photini would only include well liquor – and probably be garnished with a date.

            “Forbidden Lent” made me spit out my coffee! HAHAHAHA!

          • Katharine's Gravatar Katharine
            March 22, 2019 - 9:14 am | Permalink

            Me too!

          • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
            March 22, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

            Michael, I like your Photini recipe; I might add that it should properly leave you thirsty for more…

            For now, I’d like to propose it as the leading candidate for the “Lent Madness Seasonal Craft Cocktail” challenge. Additional submissions are welcome, and I am willing help judge (unless the Supreme Executive Committee puts in a claim).

            Congrats also on this morning’s flying fingers, sir! I’ll spend the weekend practicing my touch-typing…

          • SUSAN HAUSER's Gravatar SUSAN HAUSER
            March 22, 2019 - 9:45 am | Permalink

            Love that idea!! Someone, please take up the challenge!

          • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
            March 22, 2019 - 10:08 am | Permalink

            The Apollonia is pure grain alcohol served ablaze – so strong that it knocks your teeth out.

            The Gobnait contains Irish whisky sweetened with raw honey and garnished with a honeycomb.

            More to come…

          • Sai's Gravatar Sai
            March 22, 2019 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

            “Forbidden Lent”…Love it!

        • M.R McKenney's Gravatar M.R McKenney
          March 22, 2019 - 9:34 am | Permalink

          Yes Michael, thank you for your inspired contributions!

        • Barbara Haig's Gravatar Barbara Haig
          March 22, 2019 - 9:49 am | Permalink

          Next step: Record all these songs! I have pulled several friends into Lent Madness because of your incredible writing. Can’t wait for the next one!

          • Amy C's Gravatar Amy C
            March 22, 2019 - 11:06 pm | Permalink

            Like Randy Rainbow!

        • Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
          March 22, 2019 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

          As a professional musician, I really am appreciating your lyrical abilities! 🙂

        • Linda's Gravatar Linda
          March 22, 2019 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

          I am definitely enjoying your lyrics, Michael. You are rocking it!

        • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
          March 22, 2019 - 11:33 pm | Permalink

          If your day job isn’t writing lyrics and/or comedy, it should be!

      • Mary Palmer Legare's Gravatar Mary Palmer Legare
        March 22, 2019 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

        No matter how much I love the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, I have to go with Ananias. There is no better example of the courage it takes to love one’s enemy than to reach out to someone who who is known to killing people who believe as you do. When God sends you on this type of errand, and you calmly say “Okay,”, that’s real discipleship.

        • Karen's Gravatar Karen
          March 23, 2019 - 12:28 am | Permalink

          Thanks for this expression of how I was thinking too.

    • ninga's Gravatar ninga
      March 22, 2019 - 8:51 am | Permalink

      his is me

    • Sarah P's Gravatar Sarah P
      March 22, 2019 - 10:21 am | Permalink

      I hear the taps, and see a bald Paul and a curly carrot-top Photini.

    • Sharon Pattieon's Gravatar Sharon Pattieon
      March 22, 2019 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Did you all miss me, my husband and I moved March 18th from our house of 51 years sold in 3 days Feb. 1,2019, my husband proposed to me Feb. 14, 1962 , we were married June 29,1963, we have 4 children pall,with letters after their names, 9 grandchildren and 1 great grandson Adam! Now it is our time to live in our new HOME until God takes us to our forever HOME, BUT , IN THE MEANTIME we MUST share the Gospel to,all,that will,LISTEN,
      Before we moved in the 0ne month we had to,purge, we kept meeting groups of 3’s –people,– teenagers young adults, parents, some even knew my name, maybe I introduce myself, but, not that I remember, but they knew me and some even knew where I lived, a little creepy,BUT THEN” I remembered somewhere I was told — Angels come in groups of 3 And not to fear them! So I began to feel,comforted that we or I was on the right path in this our next life! But, my husband isn’t convinced but, at least goes with the flow! So, back to today’s challenge, of course I voted for Phitini, she was strong I. Her FAITH, no matter what! Glad to,be back and taking part I this Lentin madness, if you ink this is MADNESS–welcome to my world of late!

      • Sharon Pattison's Gravatar Sharon Pattison
        March 22, 2019 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Should have said FEB.14th 1962 not Feb. 1

      • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
        March 22, 2019 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Good to have you back!

      • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
        March 22, 2019 - 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Life seems to be endless change and you and your husband seem to be rolling with it nicely. Just what the Man Up There would have us do, I think. Wishing you all the best in your new digs.

  2. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 22, 2019 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    Jesus sent Ananias to Straight St.
    Where in Judas’ home he would Saul mt.
    When he got there, surprise:
    The scales fell from Saul’s eyes!
    Helping Saul become Paul is a nt. ft.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

      We have visual rhymes today, eh? Good one. Again!

    • Ken Hull's Gravatar Ken Hull
      March 22, 2019 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      Vote Photini, ‘cuz she had her hands bt.

      • Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
        March 22, 2019 - 11:53 am | Permalink

        L! O! L!

    • Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
      March 22, 2019 - 11:54 am | Permalink

      This is wonderful!!! Thanks, John!

    • Jan Hubbell's Gravatar Jan Hubbell
      March 22, 2019 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely the best one yet! Thank you so much for your wit and writing skills (even if limericks are considered a low form of poetry – I disagree!).

    • LOIS Strait's Gravatar LOIS Strait
      March 22, 2019 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Since our name is Strait and when I asked God if I should marry my husband he open my bible to Acts 9:11 and we just celebrated our 61st anniversary yesterday, So I had to vote for ANANIAS

  3. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 22, 2019 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Ananias is one of my favorite New Testament characters. God told him to go minister to the very man who had come to Damascus with authority to arrest Ananias, and his fellow believers on the Way, and haul him/them to Jerusalem in chains. No wonder he was somewhat hesitant about this assignment. “Um, God, you know who this person is, right?” But when God confirmed his marching orders – –

    Ananias was obedient (see by contrast Jonah, who also did not like the job God had given him)

    And the first words out of Ananias’ mouth when he encountered his fearsome enemy were: “Brother Saul.”

    Wow. I wish I could be as whole-heartedly obedient to God’s leadings in my life. Ananias for the Golden Halo!

  4. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 22, 2019 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Hard choice. Both took risks but went with Ananias because he had the most to lose by taking Paul into the community. He listened to God even though it went against his safety or reason.

  5. Brixham Beth's Gravatar Brixham Beth
    March 22, 2019 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Never knew her name was Photini, nor that she has an impressive history, but have had a life long admiration for Ananias’s faith and courage so he gets my vote today.

  6. Gloria F. Ishida's Gravatar Gloria F. Ishida
    March 22, 2019 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I love Photini and her story.

  7. MaryBeth R Ingram's Gravatar MaryBeth R Ingram
    March 22, 2019 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I am surprised by your parenthetical comment in today’s (March 22) matchup: “and her personal information (not what we’d call an upstanding citizen).”

    It strikes me as very judgmental and exactly the reason why the disciples tell Jesus not to engage with the woman. And yet Jesus does. In doing so, this woman is remembered throughout history and the early church continued her story and flipped the judgment of her, your judgment of her, on his head.

    • HKG's Gravatar HKG
      March 22, 2019 - 8:52 am | Permalink

      Thank you for saying this! I had the same thought, and I came down to the comments in hope that someone else had felt this too. I hope that the author of Photini’s bio will modify that parenthetical comment to one that does not judge her in this way.

      • Diane Quantic's Gravatar Diane Quantic
        March 22, 2019 - 11:53 am | Permalink

        But-ut-ut she WAS a ‘storied’ woman–just as Ananias is the last person anyone would pick as Saul’s transformation, so the woman at the well is the last person anyone would start a conversation with. (preposition OK at end of sentence: see Winston Churchill)

        • March 22, 2019 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

          And Churchill is a formidable source to get permission from.

    • Lisa from Texas's Gravatar Lisa from Texas
      March 22, 2019 - 9:44 am | Permalink

      Disagree… it’s not being judgmental, it’s in the scripture that she didn’t have a great reputation. What we can agree on is that Jesus did speak with her and she went on to spread his message of God’s expansive love, grace, and mercy.

    • Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
      March 22, 2019 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      Jesus didn’t judge her, either! Christians have been reading that judgment into the text for 2 millennia. Jesus simply showed that he knew her…and then SHE engaged HIM in theological discussion, and he seems to have enjoyed that. It’s that story that had me voting for her today. She truly received his radical acceptance of her as such good news she ran back to town to tell everyone about it!

      We tend to make a huge deal of our own sinfulness, when what Jesus wants is for us to follow him. To follow Jesus, you simply turn to him and follow. Focusing on our sin, however penitential we intend that to be, can have the result of keeping us away from Jesus. Following him will heal all that. Presiding Bishop Curry has described it as a flower turning toward the sun. We simply need to turn toward Jesus – like Photini did, and like Saul/Paul did, with Ananias’ help.

      • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
        March 22, 2019 - 10:50 am | Permalink

        Beautiful and inspiring comment! Thank you, Elaine. I still voted for Ananais though – cannot turn away from one who accepted God’s request without question and fulfilled it joyfully.

      • Meg's Gravatar Meg
        March 22, 2019 - 11:57 am | Permalink

        wonderful comment. Strive to be the sun and the sunflower. Glory to God

      • Noreen Ramsden's Gravatar Noreen Ramsden
        March 24, 2019 - 5:02 am | Permalink

        Sunflowers that are turned with their faces to Jesus are depicted in the painting of the crucifixion that hangs behind the altar in our church of St James’ here in Durban, South Africa. Jesus, Sun of my soul!

    • Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
      March 22, 2019 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      My sentiments exactly.

      • Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
        March 22, 2019 - 10:04 am | Permalink

        And it entirely misses the political connotation that her country had been occupied by 5 different foreign empires. Jesus apparently knew local history too.

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          March 22, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

          Omigosh, I’ve never heard that connection! Thanks, Catherine! Putting that in the margin of Jn 4!

        • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
          March 22, 2019 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Catherine, you beat me to it but that was the point I wanted to make with the additional note that Rome was the sixth — i.e. the current nominal husband. I would also add that a woman of poor reputation would be unlikely to easily draw a crowd to meet Jesus.

    • Marjorie's Gravatar Marjorie
      March 22, 2019 - 11:20 am | Permalink

      Photini “had had five husbands,” Jesus says. That indicates to me that she’d been widowed five times – after all, it’s not likely she’d been able to get five divorces. After all those dead husbands, it’s no wonder nobody else would marry her, and her next partner was not her husband. I would judge her to be, not an example of bad behavior, but a very unfortunate woman who was now seen as bringing bad luck and was therefore kept at a distance by “normal” people who’d had better luck.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 22, 2019 - 11:28 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Marjorie!

    • Elizabeth Hunziker's Gravatar Elizabeth Hunziker
      March 22, 2019 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I have not found anywhere in the Bible that truth was watered down to make someone sound better. Her behavior in life was the reason Jesus confronted her. I can’t find where it says her five hsubands were dead??? A great story of redemption!

    • Cheryl's Gravatar Cheryl
      March 22, 2019 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Awww, how mean of the gospel writers to call attention to her past…but an essential element of the story. So Photini overcame her reputation and shared Christianity with the world. Maybe there is hope for the rest of us?

  8. Barb Gutzler's Gravatar Barb Gutzler
    March 22, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    The first evangelist! Another woman leading the charge!!

  9. March 22, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    vote for Ananias please please you will be my friend

  10. Marlene's Gravatar Marlene
    March 22, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I imagine Photini to be one of those women gathered at the grave on Easter morning, standing with Jesus where other apostles had denied him. And because this is lent when we ponder these things, I’m glad Photini is one of those that Lent-madness asks us to read about. So I hope she takes the vote today so that we continue to ponder her story in another round of Lent-madness. Ananias is one to ponder during the Pentecost season.

  11. Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
    March 22, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I wanted to go with Photini, because of her gender, her representation of how the shunned, scorned and outcast are valued by Jesus, and how these people can be forces for inspiration and change. There was also the fact that her name reminds me of an easily spillable alcoholic beverage. However, I went with Ananias because of his bravery in seeking out the one who was to have such a pivotal effect on Christianity, who wrote so many words of wisdom love and conciliation so well documented.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 22, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

      after three, those photinis spill themselves

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        March 22, 2019 - 11:43 pm | Permalink


  12. Kate Mason's Gravatar Kate Mason
    March 22, 2019 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Admire Anais,
    yes. But water springing…. We
    are all Photini.

    • Andria Anderson's Gravatar Andria Anderson
      March 22, 2019 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Ooooo – haiku! Thanks.

  13. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 22, 2019 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    This one’s easy for me; I think one’s vote may reflect what one thinks of Paul, and Paul is not my favorite. Not because of misogyny—because Paul was respectful of a lot of women in leadership roles in the infant church, head coverings in Corinth aside.

    No, the bone I have to pick with Paul is theological. In my view, he changed the “love God and your neighbor” message of Jesus—I’m talking about the overarching theme—to “get yourself right with God.” I don’t think it’s necessarily true that we wouldn’t have a worldwide church without Paul. He founded churches, yes, but often there was already a church in existence when he arrived—in Rome and Corinth, for example. I often wonder what Christianity would be like today if it had developed from James’ original group instead of what Paul bullied them into.

    All that said, I vote for Photini, whose faith walk went from one well to another.

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 22, 2019 - 9:12 am | Permalink

      Thank you for that, Susan. I have long been troubled by the inconsistency between Jesus and Paul and the impact Paul had on the Church, and thought the Church would have been better off without him. There are obviously some wonderful passages in the Epistles, but all in all he comes across to me as a very unpleasant man who never fully understood the message of Jesus.

      • Deacon Carol's Gravatar Deacon Carol
        March 22, 2019 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

        A very unpleasant man indeed…especially if you are female! I often wondered if he had a nagging wife.
        It would certainly give me a case of the heebee jeebees to have to go to Paul if I was Jewish and knew his reputation.
        But Ananias trusted God so off he went and entered history.

        • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
          March 22, 2019 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

          More like mommy issues, I’m guessing. I don’t think Paul was married.

          As a feminist, I have issues with Paul. He may have had respect for individual women of his acquaintance, but he regarded women, as a class, with contempt, and that has been a longlasting and damaging influence in the Church as a whole.

    • Cheryl's Gravatar Cheryl
      March 22, 2019 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      I too feel the same way. It seems to me that Paul “hijacked” Jesus’ message from his apostles and changed it into something that lost the true meaning of his teachings.

      • Eileen's Gravatar Eileen
        March 22, 2019 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

        I’m glad I read the comments today. I’ve not talked to people before who share my opinions about Paul.

        • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
          March 22, 2019 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

          I agree with these thoughts. “On these 2 commandments lay all the laws and all the prophets.” Just like Jesus to make it easy for us to understand.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 22, 2019 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Paul is most definitely not my favorite of the early church fathers. Judgmental, arrogant, domineering, and thinks far too highly of himself.

      Which is why I think Ananias deserves to advance for putting up with Paul. Photini is an intriguing character, and heaven knows she had to put up with a lot also, but Ananias had to educate and tolerate the former Saul.

  14. Mh's Gravatar Mh
    March 22, 2019 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    “In Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico, a celebration of the Samaritan woman takes place on the fourth Friday of Lent. The custom of the day involves churches, schools, and businesses giving away fruit drinks to passers-by.” (Wikipedia)

    • Carol Ann Webb's Gravatar Carol Ann Webb
      March 22, 2019 - 8:48 am | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing that wonderful custom.

  15. JustJill's Gravatar JustJill
    March 22, 2019 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    More than twenty years ago, I was part of a bilingual women’s Bible story and we read John 4. We didn’t know the early church had named the Samaritan woman; we gave her our own name: Evangelina, the first to evangelize a community.

    Photini/Evangelina gets my vote for this and many other reasons why I resonate with her story.

    • Elise A's Gravatar Elise A
      March 22, 2019 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      This is why I also voted for Photini. I don’t really care about her history as written by the early church, though it is good to find out more, but her gospel evangelizing always inspires me.

  16. Carol Oppel's Gravatar Carol Oppel
    March 22, 2019 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    The daily bios of madness contestants are extraordinarily well written, with grace, and the hand of the Holy Spirit. A lot of punch and vigor in a short space. As a licensed lay preacher in the Diocese of Texas, I appreciate them on many levels. Today’s bios grab me especially. Thanks!!

  17. Anne McCorkle Garrett's Gravatar Anne McCorkle Garrett
    March 22, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I believe she is known as Photina in the Orthodox tradition.

    • John. Lewis's Gravatar John. Lewis
      March 22, 2019 - 9:47 am | Permalink

      Photini represents Modern Greek pronunciation of a long eta, Photina the Ancient Greek pronunciation of the same letter, which was carried over into Latin borrowingsfrom Greek. So you’re right: what we see in the case of Photini/Photina is a Catholic/Orthodox division. There’s two Irene’s (pronounced with three syllables) in my family tree, while my Romanian friend Irina has the same name!

  18. Judy's Gravatar Judy
    March 22, 2019 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Today there’s Ananias, whom we all know
    Without him, where would the early church go?
    But Photini, finally given name
    Took on fiery Nero in early game.
    I discern: Saints obeying Gods hard call make the Church grow.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2019 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      Kudos, Judy!

    • Carol Ann Webb's Gravatar Carol Ann Webb
      March 22, 2019 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      Good one!

  19. March 22, 2019 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    I found this one particularly difficult. Both of these saints give us important lessons to follow: trust in God and get out of your comfort zone. Trust in God and discover the fullness of life and the courage to stand up to bullying authority.

  20. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 22, 2019 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Much as I admire Ananias for his bravery and willingness to have his mind changed by God, the story of Photini has always been one of my favorites. I find her courage and intelligence inspiring, and the immediate impact of her faith as a female evangelist wins my vote.

  21. Pete's Gravatar Pete
    March 22, 2019 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Oh my Lord. Could Lent Madness be any more predictable and easy? Let’s see we have an artist rendering of a white man vs. a woman. Who will win in the ongoing progressivenes that lives joyfully in the game? Even without reading the bios – I voted for she who will win. Too easy.

  22. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 22, 2019 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Ananias. I’ll keep his example in mind when it comes time to pray, during the Prayers of the People, for those for whom I did not vote.

  23. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 22, 2019 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Had to go with Photini, whose conversation with Jesus is one of the most beautiful and, yes, enlightening passages in the NT.

  24. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 22, 2019 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    I had some Photini last night with a tangy marinara sauce – exquisite.
    Moreover, this: “Today’s church would not exist in its current form without Paul.” ‘Nuff said. Vote goes to Photini.

  25. Carolyn Mack's Gravatar Carolyn Mack
    March 22, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    “Jesus gave her water, he gave that woman water, gave her livin’, lovin,, lastin’ water. and it was not in the well.”

  26. JessicaD's Gravatar JessicaD
    March 22, 2019 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    I am glad that Photini is in the lead because she deserves more recognition than she has. However, I voted for Ananias because that story spoke to me today about how it’s easy to write off people whose views and behaviour are reprehensible to us, but that, led by the prompting of the Spirit, it can still be fruitful to engage with them.

  27. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    March 22, 2019 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    This matchup reminds me of how Jesus was constantly challenging the walls separating us from each other and from God, and then commanding his followers to do the same. It’s easy to be judgmental about other people being judgmental, but how many of us would call a bully, “Brother,” and treat him with compassion? Or take the time to really get to know someone whose reputation precedes them? Yes, I know there are some of you out there, and God bless you for that; but most of us still have boundaries between ourselves and some group of “them.” Our Lord Jesus did not. Thanks be to God.

  28. Jane Fenicle's Gravatar Jane Fenicle
    March 22, 2019 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I am missing the young man who used to be the first to vote each morning. Sadly, I cannot remember his name. I hope all is well and it’s just that he has to catch the school bus early this year.

    Maybe Photini took the options for survival that were available to women of her day. She certainly did her best for Christ.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2019 - 10:09 am | Permalink

      Are you thinking of Oliver? He posted a couple days at the beginning, but then–radio silence. Too bad…

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 22, 2019 - 10:13 am | Permalink

        Yes — Oliver is much missed.

        • Nina L's Gravatar Nina L
          March 22, 2019 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

          I think he must now be Oliver aged about 10

          • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
            March 22, 2019 - 11:57 pm | Permalink

            I think in his post on Ash Thursday he said 11.

  29. Priscilla Szerdi's Gravatar Priscilla Szerdi
    March 22, 2019 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I liked Photini’s courage in converting Nero’s daughter. That had to take some time, and after seeing Nero’s lifestyle she must have felt very compelled to save the young girl’s life (soul). Photini had turned her life around after meeting Jesus and spreading his word, so she kept passing it on. Courage in our belief, Photini is a reminder.

  30. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    March 22, 2019 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    This one is very tough.
    Ananias is an example of doing God’s call with whatever fear you have can make a huge difference in the full picture of belief. I also have not been a fan of Paul’s but Ananias is who we are asked to look at. Wish we had more about this incident effected his life and what he did with it.
    Photini is practicing the “golden rule” and just offering a drink when her whole life changes and she goes on to tell the story of Christ in many places impacting many people, she is graced to receive a miracle in the hand beating so she can reach Nero’s daughter before she is thrown down a well where she does not lose her faith.
    So both played their roles God gave them but I must vote for Photini not because she is woman but she changed her life and dedicated it to faith and His work.

  31. K-Roz's Gravatar K-Roz
    March 22, 2019 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Since I just visited St. Photini’s Orthodox Church this morning and drank water from Jacob’s Well, she has my vote today. Samaria is amazing!

  32. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    March 22, 2019 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    I have learned from LM to appreciate these fantastical stories of saints/”saints.” But I prefer the story of the woman at the well to the accreted history attached to her. I prefer to let her go and not plaster on a long addendum that usefully martyrs her. It’s Ananias for me. He took a risk and followed an inner prompt to go meet an enemy. There he made a small gesture that assisted history to go the right way. His small act of faithfulness and courage made a huge difference. So I vote for Ananias today. Speaking of fantastical saints, I want to know when we get to vote for St. Guinefort.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 22, 2019 - 10:11 am | Permalink

      Agreed. But for my personal experience at the well, I too would have oted for Ananias

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 22, 2019 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Like!! Thank you!

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      March 22, 2019 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I too tend to choose the Biblical over the legendary, but the Johannine account is really all we need for Photina to see that she was one who evangelized for Christ. Several comments above (mine among them) question David Sibley’s view that she was ‘not an outstanding citizen.’

  33. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 22, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Photini’s well is one of the better-identified sites in the Gospels, since it already was and continued to be a Samaritan holy place. You can go there (it’s now inside a church), lower a bucket into the well, and drink of the same water that Jesus drank. You can be pretty sure that you are sitting and standing exactly where our Lord did. It’s a quiet spot, and you can imagine yourself in conversation with him.

    Fifteen months ago I sat by the well and, because of that physical sense of Jesus’s presence, found it one of the most moving stops on a tour that included most all of the usual sites mentioned in the Gospels. It’s in honor of that place and moment in my life, rather than all those pious legends, that I’m voting for Photini, or rather for whoever she was in real life.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 22, 2019 - 10:36 am | Permalink

      What a moving experience. You are a true pilgrim. I’m thinking about that untreated well water, though, after our second-century physician yesterday. Giardia, e-coli come to mind; that would be a “moving” experience indeed. But perhaps well water is purer than I know.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 22, 2019 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

        I’ll bet they test it these days, while the pilgrims are sleeping.

        • Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
          March 22, 2019 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

          Maybe it gets tested; it certainly tasted clean, cold, and refreshing, and none of our group got sick. One thing that helps protect it is that now, like so many important Holy Land sites that were originally outdoors, the well is protected inside a church. So it is hard to envision the setting that is evoked in the Bible – same with other places, like Calgary/Golgotha, now inside a cathedral.

    • Linda Mackie Griggs's Gravatar Linda Mackie Griggs
      March 22, 2019 - 11:32 am | Permalink

      Davis, my experience at the Well echoes yours. It is a truly awe-some place.

  34. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 22, 2019 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Was a very hard descision the conversion of Paul or the Woman at the well and her conversion after speaking to Jesus. Both spread the message of Jesus but the Photini is whom I voted for in the end.

  35. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 22, 2019 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    Characterizing the woman at the well as “not exactly an upstanding citizen” completely misses the political overtones that her country had been occupied by 5 foreign powers. It’s not about her moral failings – it’s about her social and sexual victimization. Jesus liberates her from all if it. Go Photini!

  36. Patricia Samuel's Gravatar Patricia Samuel
    March 22, 2019 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Flower turning toward the sun, which emits photons of light energy,….hence the perfect name, Photini, who turned toward the Son, …and was filled with His energy….. and spread the Word.

  37. Jane Trambley's Gravatar Jane Trambley
    March 22, 2019 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Photini: victimized, marginalized, probably very lonely. And Jesus found her. Saved by the living water.

    • Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
      March 22, 2019 - 11:02 am | Permalink


  38. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 22, 2019 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Hard decision, but I voted for Ananias because his name means YHWH has given and my name means <God's gracious gift. So for that connection in meaning he gets my vote.

    As for his “craft cocktail” I’d suggest that it is the hair of the dog that you drink to open you eyes the next morning after having one to many glasses of Photini.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 22, 2019 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      There’s no photini, but the batini is the official drink of Austin, TX.
      Tito’s Vodka mixed with Chambord and blue Curacao, Sangria, and half a cup of red wine. All that is shaken and served with a cherry garnish.
      A well that dispensed that would be the end (in more than one sense) of many pilgrimages.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 22, 2019 - 11:31 am | Permalink

        Whoa, instant blackout!

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 22, 2019 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

        I should point out that “bat” means “daughter” in Hebrew. The Samaritan woman may not be a “daughter of the law,” but she is a true daughter of the gospel. Not only did Jesus turn water into wine, but it seems he turned it into a cocktail as well. “Eau de vie” indeed.

  39. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 22, 2019 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    Hard choice, especially with two (count ’em TWO) songs going through my head: “Jesus met the woman at the well” as sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary; and hymn 673 in Hymnal 1982, “The first one ever”, second verse, with the refrain “and blessed is she who perceives.”
    But I have to go with the person who was brave enough to minister to the enemy of his faith.

  40. Frank's Gravatar Frank
    March 22, 2019 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    The year for very obscure saints!

  41. Stephen Lusk's Gravatar Stephen Lusk
    March 22, 2019 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    There’s a whole brotherhood named for St. Andrew because he brought his brother to Jesus. Photini brought a whole village, and John didn’t even bother to get her name.
    BTW, I’ve been told that her name is “Photini” in modern Greek but would have been “Photina” her own time and in Byzantine Greek. To the Orthodox Churches, she’s still “Photina.”
    Plus, she’s just about the only female martyr that comes to mind as managing to keep her clothes on during her passion.

  42. James w's Gravatar James w
    March 22, 2019 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry so many of this year’s saints are so obscure and have stories which based on mere pious legends with barely a shred of historical information, if that. Let’s instead celebrate some of the saints about whose lives and devotion we actually have some evidence for. There are plenty of those. I don’t find silly and fantastic stories like those about “Photini” the least bit edifying.

    • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
      March 22, 2019 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

      As the 10th year of LM, the more easily found saints have participated. The saints that don’t win the Golden Halo in any given year have to wait a few years to be “recycled”. Just stick with it and you’ll see them again!

  43. Lillie Hardingham's Gravatar Lillie Hardingham
    March 22, 2019 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    “Lent Madness Seasonal Craft Cocktails” Another fabulous possibility for a book! Now, between the Song book and the Cocktail book, not to mention the Limerick & Short Poem book, you could start a Lent Madness Library. All of which could be for sale – with supplemental editions available each year. These creations are all too good not to preserve for posterity!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2019 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      And a cookbook and hymnal, too!

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 22, 2019 - 11:52 pm | Permalink

        If only there was a member of the Supreme Executive Council of Lent Madness who was the Executive Director of a publisher. If only. 😉

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 22, 2019 - 4:16 pm | Permalink

      There used to be recipes inspired by various contenders in the Lent Madness book each year. I miss those. Still have a few years’ worth of books on my cookbook shelf!

  44. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 22, 2019 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Another saintly bracket you should know about! The Catholic Balm Co is having a “March Madness: Holy Beards Edition” bracket on their Facebook page! Who had the most saintly ‘stache? Vote for the most blessed beard!

  45. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 22, 2019 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    A hymn about Photini from Ephrem! Love the Lent Madness crossover!

  46. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    March 22, 2019 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    I have wondered why a woman of Photini’s time might have multiple marriages. Was she infertile, and cast aside by a string of husbands for not providing offspring? Or a victim of rape early on, and taken on begrudgingly as a spare wife by these men but never truly loved or respected? We don’t know — and Jesus doesn’t judge her, and neither do I. Nevertheless, she persevered. And I have always loved this dreamlike story. Photini — survivor, evangelist, apostle, martyr — gets my vote.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 22, 2019 - 11:48 am | Permalink

      I am thinking that “nevertheless, she persisted” will be the mantra of every woman saint from now on. Never let it be said that the US Senate produced no words worth remembering.

  47. Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
    March 22, 2019 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Why is it if a woman is a centerpiece in a gospel story she must be of ill repute. For me, this social and cultural bias deeply undermines the truth and value of the Bible. We know the Bible is a product of edits and revisions. Is it not time to edit and revise the Bible to reflect the spiritual growth the past 2000 has produced? Thank you for indulging my Friday soapboxing.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 22, 2019 - 3:53 pm | Permalink

      But there are many women at the center of gospel stories who are definitely not of ill repute, starting with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her cousin Elizabeth.

  48. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    March 22, 2019 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    It took a lot of guts for Ananius to risk life and limb just because he heard a voice ordering him to go to the enemy. And we know his story while Photini’s story may just be embellished. I’ve been selecting a lot of the “losers” in this year’s contest. But for me, that is a sign that I am seeing my life as a Christian in a different light—or I am just getting old and cranky. My grandfather told me that if I drowned, I would be found upstream.

    • Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
      March 22, 2019 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Best curse ever! And from your grandfather! I’m going to remember that one. Thanks!

      And in spite of the fabulosity of her extended story, I’ll vote for the Woman at the Well, who bravely kept exploring what Jesus challenged her with.

  49. Mother and Son's Gravatar Mother and Son
    March 22, 2019 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a disagreement today. Mother was stumping for Ananias, but Son was super-impressed with anyone who would take on Nero. In the end, Photini won the day. It was a hard decision. In all honesty, we will be glad for either saint who wins.

  50. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    March 22, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always loved the story of the woman at the well and how Jesus spoke with her out of all custom. She then got the courage to go back to the village where she was probably ostracized and share the news about Jesus. That said, the rest of her story seems a bit implausible, so I had to go with Ananias who obeyed God even against his own wishes.

  51. Fr. Bill's Gravatar Fr. Bill
    March 22, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Again I seem to have voted for the loser. Great comments everyone!

  52. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    March 22, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I recently read “Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist,” by Eli Saslow, and was so impressed by the college kids who reached out to the protagonist to work at changing his mind, although they hated what he stood for. In their honor I’m voting for Ananias.

  53. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 22, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I admire Ananias for his strength and complete faith, but had to go with Photini. Happy Weekend, everyone!

  54. Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
    March 22, 2019 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Such a tough vote today! Either one winning will please me. I wanted to go with Ananias because his obedience in the face of danger had such an important outcome for Christianity. But I voted for Photini because I just returned from Jerusalem and the Holy Land, where I had the opportunity to drink from Jacob’s well myself, one of many simply overwhelming experiences. So in sisterhood with another who was, like myself, “undeserving” of grace, I cast my vote.

    • Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
      March 22, 2019 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

      See a doctor immediately. I have a friend who drank from Jacob’s Well and got very sick. It was a life-changing event, and not a good one.
      I went for Photini because of her immediate acceptance of Jesus’ message. She is definitely one of the first apostles!

      • Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
        March 22, 2019 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

        How long after drinking didyour friend get sick??? We had an entire group partaking. No symptoms from anyone yet, and it was about a week and a half ago.

  55. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    March 22, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Photini gets my vote , I am touched deeply by the words in that hymn about drawer of living water and the source of life.

  56. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 22, 2019 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Jesus speaks the truth about the political, social, religious, sexual, psychological, personal, communal meanings and mores and the immediate circumstances (with him at Jacob’s well) in which the un-named woman finds herself, and where he finds and embraces all of us who are otherwise busy being occupied by the powers and principalities of this world but who, nevertheless, go there too – and yet we want to reduce it to anything less powerful as quickly as we can, or so it seems to me this morning. He “forgave” her? For what? Internalizing the disqualifying definitions heaped upon her and her kinspeople? Let the Living Water of liberation continue to flow!

  57. JOAN OGDEN's Gravatar JOAN OGDEN
    March 22, 2019 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Toughest choice yet. Wow. Going for the “outsider” who engaged with Jesus, ignoring the cultural proscriptions, and also did not remind Jesus that he had not said “Please”

  58. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 22, 2019 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a message for David Sibley: I have been nominating Ananias for Lent Madness ever since I started participating; I was so excited to see he made the bracket this year. Looks like he won’t be going on to the Saintly Sixteen, but I wanted to tell you I think you gave him a great write-up. Thanks. Guess we can drown our disappointment tonight in a couple of Photinis.

  59. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 22, 2019 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Peter, Paul and Mary had a song about Jesus meeting the woman at the well..

  60. William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
    March 22, 2019 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I and others have already commented on/questioned the blogger’s suggestion that Photina was of ill repute; I should also note that Paul’s epistles do not make up the bulk of the NT. If bulk means majority then there is no bulk of the NT; if it means plurality then that honor goes to Luke-Acts.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 22, 2019 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I love the allegorical reading that her “husbands” were foreign colonizers. That adds a dimension to the reading that I had never considered.

  61. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 22, 2019 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Laughing and singing my way through Lent Madness this year! Thanks to all you clever people. What a delight! It almost feels sinful!

  62. Gail's Gravatar Gail
    March 22, 2019 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Ananias is extremely important to Christianity, and acted with great courage. Photini may not have done what they said that she did. Nero had one daughter, and she died at the age of three months.

  63. Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
    March 22, 2019 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Well, well, well….Make mine Photini!

  64. NoraB's Gravatar NoraB
    March 22, 2019 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know Photini met such a grisly end. Damn you Nero! Had to vote for Ananias for aiding in the conversion of Paul.

  65. Ruth Willbanks's Gravatar Ruth Willbanks
    March 22, 2019 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    A “Photini cocktail” shouldn’t contain any alcohol at all. -A virgin martini if you will. You know – a “Faux-tini!!”

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 22, 2019 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

      I would be very surprised if the word “virgin” could be applied to any woman who has had five husbands (and the man who she was with when she met Jesus was not her husband…).

  66. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 22, 2019 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I found this one the hardest so far, and even succumbed to reading the comments before I voted (although that didn’t change my initial instinct). I admit, while holding tremendous reverence for Ananais, what Photini did in an age when feminism wasn’t loud and proud won the day for me.

  67. Judy F N's Gravatar Judy F N
    March 22, 2019 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Always loved Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Woman at the Well.” Had to go with Photini,especially after learning more about her!

  68. March 22, 2019 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I know, from experience, how hard it is to go to someone you think will reject you, much less kill you, but do it anyway, so I voted for Ananais. And to the SEC: yes there is another March Madness. Here in Kansas, where basketball is a religion, the faithful get up, read the comments, vote in Lenten Madness and then immerse themselves feverishly in round ball. Children go unwashed, meetings go unattended, the dogs hide under the bed to avoid anguished screams and the games go on.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 22, 2019 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

      “Let the unwashed children come unto me.”

  69. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 22, 2019 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Hey, SEC! Did you know there is a true copycat challenge called “Jesus Madness”?
    You should sue!
    I just learned about Photini recently, but she is really the enlightened one!

  70. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 22, 2019 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Please stop with the spurious saints! Photini’s story reads like any other mythical hagiography. There are elements in it that are not true, in any way. Chief among them is the preposterous story of her conversion of Nero’s daughter Dominina and her slave girls. Arrant nonsense. History – actual recorded history! – tells us that Nero was only 30 years old when when he died, hardly old enough, even given his reputed sexual promiscuity, to have fathered a daughter who grew to puberty, let alone adulthood. In fact, we know he only had one child, a daughter by his second wife Poppaea, and that died in infancy. Ananias, on the other hand, was a major catalyst in the spreading of the Gospel. Had he not done what God asked him to do, no doubt Saul would have remained Saul, and Christianity would have been confined to a small geographic area because the Great Apostle would never have done his magnificent work of carrying the word of the Word far and wide. If you’re going to give us legends, at least be honest enough to tell us they are legends! Photini? Phooey!

    • March 22, 2019 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Yeah. Even the idea that she would have managed to get an audience with the emperor in the first place is too much for me to swallow.

    • Karen Hoyer's Gravatar Karen Hoyer
      March 22, 2019 - 9:20 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand, we could vote just based on her story as written in the bible which is pretty inspiring.
      Though she lacks a name, she’s articulate and smart, curious and engaging in her conversation with Jesus.
      And then she immediately goes into town to bring people out to also listen and learn from Jesus.

  71. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 22, 2019 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    We chose Photini today. Rather than the well known cocktail others are talking about, I’d prefer some Thai pho or faux pasta rotini instead. Seems like most of our votes this LM are going for the lesser-known saints presented.

    And as for that “other” March Madness going on now, we say, go Cats!

    • March 22, 2019 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

      I saw Photini & also thought of that delicious Vietnamese soup! No Fauxtini with rail liquor, no! Perhaps Crystal Vodka with a dash of fish sauce, anyone? Garnished with lime & basil, of course!

  72. Nigel Anstey's Gravatar Nigel Anstey
    March 22, 2019 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    No Ananias, no St. Paul. See Acts 9 simple as!

  73. March 22, 2019 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice today, but I have to go with Ananias. What he did took real courage and bore great fruit for the young Church. Sharing the Gospel with Nero certainly would have taken great courage, but the legends that grew up around the woman at the well don’t have the ring of truth to me.

  74. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 22, 2019 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    The Biblical account of the woman at the reasonable, and her response admirable, but not outstanding. The legends seem pure fantasy and out of context with the message of Christ. I hope I would have the faith of Ananias, knowing the danger, but going to meet with one considered to be an enemy.

  75. Lucy's Gravatar Lucy
    March 22, 2019 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I have never heard of the legends of Photina, or even her name, however you spell it, before. That’s what comes of being a lifelong Methodist; I don’t know the stories of most of the saints. But the Woman at the Well? I know her! She has inspired me and helped me to draw ever closer to the Lord Jesus, who has given me assignments I would never have dreamed of receiving if I had not meditated on her Biblical story.

  76. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 22, 2019 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I love the Samaritan woman at the well and thought I would end up voting for her. But the opening lines: ‘As a general rule, if we find that our lives of prayer and discipleship only lead to places of personal comfort and safety, then it’s quite likely we aren’t listening to God as closely as we should.’ for the write up for Ananias convinced me otherwise.

  77. Mike Juhasz's Gravatar Mike Juhasz
    March 22, 2019 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Keeping with the recent results. Photini (luminous or enlightened one) is lighting up Ananias!

  78. Linda Corvec's Gravatar Linda Corvec
    March 22, 2019 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice, however, I ended up voting for Photini.

  79. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 22, 2019 - 11:02 pm | Permalink

    so hard to pick today…the courage of Ananias. His response to God was much more eloquent than what I would have said. ( “Are you CRAZY God???) Was going with him until I read Photinas story. I get it. I’ve been on the wrong side of the stellar reputation road before. As a recovering person I understand so well that I am living a life given to me by grace and not because of my own strength. I feel I owe a debt to be willing to share with others who struggle with addiction if the opportunity arises and I cannot separate my faith journey from my sobriety. I pray I would have the courage to share my story as Photina did, even at the cost of my life if it came to that.

  80. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 22, 2019 - 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Props to Ananias for seeking out Saul/Paul, but I voted for Photini. The story of her encounter with Jesus so intrigued me that I was inspired to read about it in my sorrowfully neglected King James. which has to count as a minor miracle. Also, Samaritans have figured large in my Lent, so I am well disposed towards them. And I like that Photini comes off as fairly saucy in her conversation with Jesus. Next time I make a Martini I will add a garlic-stuffed olive and a couple of capers and toast the woman at the well.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 22, 2019 - 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a drink worth losing your head over.

  81. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 23, 2019 - 2:42 am | Permalink

    I belong to a parish whose patron is Paul, so I have to go with the guy God used to spark his conversion.

  82. Judith Genaway's Gravatar Judith Genaway
    March 25, 2019 - 7:55 am | Permalink

    This choice was hard! I never read about Photini
    before….& Ananias is an old friend! Hm-m.

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