Archive for October 2012

Feast of St. Brice of Tours (November 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  A U-Turn

Image Source = Smurrayinchester

(http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:U-turn.svg&page=1)

SAINT BRICE OF TOURS (CIRCA 370-444)

Roman Catholic Bishop

Also known as Saint Britius of Tours

Sometimes I hear or a comment about how someone with obvious character flaws was 0r is “not a saint.”  Such a statement of what qualifies one as a saint indicates a major misunderstanding.  The New Testament definition of a saint is a Christian.  And those whom church authorities have recognized as saints have been among the first to acknowledge their sins.  The official saints were not as different from the rest of us who profess to follow Jesus and struggle with our sins as some think.  We sin, we confess our sins, we repent–“turn around,” literally–and we repeat the cycle.  What matters most is that we keep returning to the proper path.

The life of St. Brice (or Britius) of Tours (circa 370-444) is an excellent example of this principle.  He, the ward of St. Martin of Tours (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/feast-of-st-martin-of-tours/), tried his guardian’s patience.  St. Brice was a juvenile delinquent who heaped contempt upon the very patient St. Martin.  St. Brice reformed and became a priest, but he slipped back into unholy patterns of living.  Yet St. Martin refused to give up on him.  Of St. Brice the elder saint said,

If Christ could tolerate Judas, surely I can put up with Brice.

St. Martin succeeded in reforming St. Brice, who succeeded him as Bishop of Tours in 397.  But the younger saint demonstrated what one source called a “disagreeable character.”   For years many people tried to have him removed.  They succeeded after some accused him of having carried on an affair.  This might have been a false charge, but he was unfit for his office.  The initial phase of St. Brice’s episcopate had lasted for thirty-three years.  For seven years St. Brice insisted upon his innocence.  Finally, restored as Bishop of Tours, he was a changed man, one whose lived holiness was impossible not to notice.  He died in 444, beloved.

I wonder:  How might St. Brice have turned out without human and divine patience?  And how will the example of his life influence how you, O reader, treat others?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMEW ZOUBERBUHLER, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Good Shepherd, king of love,

accept our thanks and praise

for all the love and care we have received;

and for your servant Saint Brice of Tours.

May our care for each other grow constantly

more reverent and more discerning.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10 or Ezekiel 3:16-21 or Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 15 0r 99

Acts 20:28-35 or 2 Corinthians 4:1-10 or 1 Peter 5:1-4

Matthew 24:42-47 or John 10:11-16 0r John 21:15-19

A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 681-682

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Feast of Paul Manz (October 29)   1 comment

Above:  Luther Rose

Image Source = Jed

(http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Lutherrose.svg&page=1)

PAUL MANZ (MAY 10, 1919-OCTOBER 28, 2009)

Dean of Lutheran Church Music

Among Lutherans, he was the dean of church music.

–David Cherwin, Organist, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2009

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He re-stimulated creative hymn playing.  He was playing around, but these [delightful and well-crafted] pieces [into which he introduced improvisations at Mount Olive Church and introduced at hymn festivals nationwide] affirmed the extraordinary musical sophistication he had.  He left a legacy in the pieces that are being used regularly.

— John Ferguson, Professor of Organ and Church Music, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, 2009

Relying on ecclesiastical authorities to name saints is, in itself, insufficient.  If I were to follow that strategy alone, I would not recognize Paul Manz as a saint.

Paul Manz (1919-2009) died at the age of 90 years.  Ruth, his wife of 65 years, predeceased him by a year.  They had four children:  John, a Lutheran minister; Peter; Michael (died in 2006); and David, who died at birth.  The couple also raised the orphaned children of Ruth’s brother and sister-in-law.  Thus Mary, Anne, Sarah, and John Mueller joined the household.

Paul Manz, born in Cleveland, Ohio, began his life as a musician with piano lessons at age five.  While attending Concordia High School in River Forest, Illinois, he took private lessons with premier organists.  The saint earned his master’s degree in organ performance at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.  Then he taught at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and at Macalester College, St. Paul.  He also served as chair of the Department of Music at Concordia University, St. Paul, for nineteen years.  For 37 years (until his retirement in 1983) Manz served as organist and Director of Christian Education at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis (http://www.mountolivechurch.org/).  In 1956 Manz left for Europe for a year on a Fulbright Scholarship.  The church gave him the year off with pay.

Manz became one of the leading organists in the United States.  In fact, he was officially among the 101 Most Notable Organists of the Twentieth Century, according to the American Guild of Organists in 2000.  Other honors included the Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern University, the Confessor of Christ Award from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the Gutenberg Award from the Chicago Bible Society, the Wittenberg Arts Award from the Luther Institute, and honorary doctorates from St. Olaf College and Valparaiso University.  Manz was also on an official list of the ten Most Influential Lutherans.

Manz was part of the liberal wing of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).  From 1969 to 1976 a civil war raged in that denomination.  Manz and Mount Olive Church were among those who formed the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) in 1976.  The AELC participated in the 1987 merger which formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  This background explains the 1983-2009 part of Manz’s life.  In 1983 Manz relocated to Chicago, where he taught at the Lutheran School of Theology, which had ties to Seminex, founded as Concordia Seminary in Exile.  He retired from the Lutheran School of Theology in 1992.  And Manz made quite an impression.

The church and the world were blessed beyond measure by the talents and gifts Paul Manz shared with our seminary community.  His legacy of teaching and his music will continue through our graduates to touch the lives of future generations.   His tireless effort, generating support for our institution through hymn festivals, was a mark of his remarkable ministry.  We give thanks to God for the good fortune of having known Paul and his beloved Ruth as members of the Seminex and LSTC communities.

–James Kenneth Echols, President, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2009

Manz, while in Chicago, attended the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke (http://www.stlukechicago.org/index.shtml), where he served as cantor.  That parish has established the Paul Manz Institute of Church Music.  Manz retired from his role in that congregation in 1999.

I learned of Paul Manz a few years ago, when Dallas Bono, choir director at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, selected the saint’s most famous motet for the choir to sing.  “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” published in 1954, has a powerful backstory.  John, son of Paul and Ruth, was three years old and in the hospital with double pneumonia and a high fever.  His survival was uncertain.  Ruth paraphrased verses from Revelation 22 and Paul composed the music.  John survived.  As I write these words he is on staff at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul (http://www.gloriadeistpaul.org/), Paul Manz’s last parish and the site of his funeral.  And it was appropriate that, as the elder Manz, unable to speak, lay dying, his family members sang the motet as they surrounded him.

The words of the motet follow:

Peace be to you and grace from him

Who freed us from our sins,

Who loved us all and shed his blood

That we might saved be.

Sing holy, holy to our Lord,

The Lord Almighty God,

Who was and is and is to come;

Sing holy, holy, Lord!

Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein,

Rejoice on earth, ye saints below,

For Christ is coming, is coming soon,

For Christ is coming soon!

E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come,

And night shall be no more;

They need no light nor lamp nor sun,

For Christ will be their All!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 12, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDITH CAVELL, NURSE AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FRY, PRISON REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILFRID OF RIPON, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM MUNDY, COMPOSER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Paul Manz

and all those who with music have filled us desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from the Proper for Artists and Writers, Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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For Further Reading:

http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4334

http://www.morningstarmusic.com/composers-manz.cfm

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2001/0114/

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/twincities/obituary.aspx?n=paul-manz&pid=135264217&fhid=3436

http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/67394222.html?refer=y

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/10/29/paul-manz-obit/

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Feast of Sts. Aedesius and Frumentius (October 27)   1 comment

Above:  Flag of Ethiopia

SAINT AEDESIUS (A.K.A. SAINT EDESIUS) (LIVED DURING THE 300S)

Priest and Missionary

colleague (and possibly brother) of

SAINT FRUMENTIUS (DIED CIRCA 380)

First Bishop of Axum and Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

Disclaimer:  Accounts I have located, consulted, and used to write this post disagree on details.  I have, however, attempted to sort through the discrepancies and to write as accurately as possible.  Sometimes objective reality blends with legend.  Distinguishing between the two categories can prove difficult when examining the stories over 1700 years after the fact.

Sometimes life offers unexpected opportunities.  Who would have expected that two Syrian students of philosophy, en route back home from a journey to India, would have played a vital role in Ethiopian history?

In 340 the two saints from Tyre survived the killing of most of their shipmates when the vessel stopped along the coast of the Kingdom of Aksum, which included parts of present-day Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Yemen.  They joined the court of King Ousanas subsequent to this event; St. Aedesius served as cupbearer and St. Frumentius as secretary.  The saints remained in the royal court after Ousanas died; St. Frumentius functioned as tutor to the young Ezana II.  When Ezana II began to govern in his own right the saints left the kingdom.  St. Aedesius returned to Tyre, where he became a priest.  St. Frumentius traveled to Alexandria, Egypt, where he asked St. Athanasius to send a missionary.  St. Athanasius sent St. Frumentius.

Christianity had arrived in the Aksumite Kingdom before the two Syrians arrived.  St. Philip the Evangelist  played a vital role in introducing Christianity to the region by witnessing to an Ethiopian eunuch.  Traveling Roman merchants had brought it along with their wares.  But the two saints aided greatly in the faith’s propagation.  St. Frumentius, known to the locals as Abuna Salama, became the first Abuna (“Father” or Patriarch) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, often called simply the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  His Christological orthodoxy led to the enmity of Roman Emperor Constantius II (reigned 337-361), an Arian.  And, in the 300s, St. Aedesius, at Tyre, told Rufinus of Aquileia, a church historian, of the legacy of his friend and colleague.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, historically

…the prime source and custodian of the cultural and literary heritage of the nation

The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropedia, Volume 6 (1982), page 1001,

was subordinate to the Coptic Church until 1959.

A side note:  John J. Delaney, in Dictionary of Saints (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday and Company, 1980), page 239, refers to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as

the dissident Ethiopian Church.

Is it my imagination, or do I detect an attitude?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 11, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NECTARIUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENNETH OF SCOTLAND, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF CECIL FRANCES ALEXANDER, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, DEACON

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your servants,

and who raised up your servants

Saint Aedesius and Saint Frumentius

to be the light of 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 marvelous light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 717

Feast of Sts. Proclus of Constantinople and Rusticus of Narbonne (October 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Orthodox Cross

SAINT PROCLUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE (DIED 446)

Archbishop of Constantinople

His feast transferred from October 24

contemporary of

SAINT RUSTICUS OF NARBONNE (DIED CIRCA 461)

Bishop of Narbonne

His feast transferred from October 26

This is my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’s Days and Holy Days, so I get to assign feast days.  Usually I follow the leads of ecclesiastical calendars.  Yet today I follow another pattern:  moving and merging feasts.  These two saints opposed the same heresy:  Nestorianism.  And, since their feast days are so close to each other on the Roman Catholic calendar, I have decided to combine them and place them on the day which separates them on that calendar.

Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 428 to 431.  His theology led to his ouster from that position.  His great heresy was to make a distinction between the human Jesus and the divine Christ, claiming that the two natures were separate and conjoined.  Thus, he argued, one ought to call St. Mary of Nazareth (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/feast-of-st-mary-of-nazareth-mother-of-god-august-15/) the Christotokos (‘Christ-bearer”), not the Theotokos (“God-bearer”), for a mere mortal could not have given birth to the Logos of God.  In other words, according to Nestorius, Mary gave birth to the human nature of Jesus only.

Official Church teaching, developed more fully to refute Nestorianism, argues a different position.  Historical accounts tell us of the Council of Ephesus (431) and the more detailed repudiation of Nestorianism which the Council of Chalecedon (451) issued.  According to Chalecedon, the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ are

…without confusion, without change, without division, without separation….

–quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought, Revised and Expanded Edition (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1995), page 74

Most of us who call ourselves Christians in 2012 are heirs of the formulas of Ephesus and Chalcedon, even if we do not know it.  Theology did not fall from Heaven or grow on trees so that people saw it, recognized it immediately, and accepted it universally; no, theological doctrines which many of us (including the author of this post) accept as truth emerged from debates, synods, and councils. And today’s saints were present at creation and enunciation.  They also did their share of enunciating.

St. Proclus (died 446), a native of Constantinople, studied under St. John Chrysostom (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/feast-of-st-john-chrysostom-january-27/), Archbishop of Constantinople.  Archbishop Atticus, whose secretary St. Proclus was, ordained him to the priesthood.  The saint opposed Archbishop Nestorius and succeeded the heretic’s immediate successor, Archbishop Maximian, in 434.  St. Proclus, the author of theological treatises, maintained his opposition to perceived heresies while retaining tact, something many other defenders of orthodoxy have failed to do.  He also functioned as a humanitarian and a good pastor, ministering to the people of Constantinople after an earthquake.

St. Rusticus of Narbonne (died circa 461) was a Gallic contemporary of St. Proclus.  The Bishop of Narbonne was the son of a bishop, one Bonosus.  The former monk became Bishop of Narbonne in 427.  During his tenure he resisted the spread of Arianism through his diocese, built a cathedral, and approved Pope St. Leo I (“the Great”)‘s (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/feast-of-st-leo-the-great-november-10/) denunciation of Nestorianism.

We Christians of today stand on the shoulders of giants–foundational figures–such as these.  May we give them the attention they deserve.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

THE FEAST OF VIDA DUTTON SCUDDER, WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servants

Saint Proclus of Constantinople and Saint Rusticus of Narbonne,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

or

Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops and leaders of your church.

May the memory of their lives be a source of joy for us

and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve you and confess your name before the world;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), page 38

Feast of Frederick Pratt Green (October 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of the Methodist Church of Great Britain

FREDERICK PRATT GREEN (SEPTEMBER 2, 1903-OCTOBER 22, 2000)

British Methodist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer

Writing about saints which church authorities have recognized as such has a great deal of value, but so does recognizing others upon whom ecclesiastical hierarchies have not bestowed that label.  There are many more deserving people in the latter category than inhabitants of the former.  One way to find the names of non-canonized saints is to consult a hymnal.  That is how I began the process of learning about this saint.

Fred(erick) Pratt Green (“Pratt Green” was his surname) was born near Liverpool in 1903.  His father, for a time a Wesleyan Methodist Local Preacher, owned a leather business.  Pratt Green, who once entertained the possibility of becoming an architect, worked in his father’s business before entering the Wesleyan Methodist ministry in 1924.  The saint started writing hymns in his sixties, giving the world over 300 new hymns before he died.  Earlier in his career Pratt Green had demonstrated his literary skill by means of a play and English translations of poems.

Between The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) and Chalice Hymnal (1995) alone I located the following hymns which Pratt Green wrote:

  1. When In Our Music God is Glorified
  2. For the Fruits of This Creation
  3. Seek the Lord
  4. All My Hope is Firmly Grounded
  5. Christ is the World’s Light
  6. Break Forth, O Beauteous Light (second and third stanzas)
  7. When Jesus Came to Jordan
  8. O Christ, the Healer
  9. To Mock Your Reign, O Dearest Lord
  10. Of All the Spirit’s Gifts to Me
  11. When Our Confidence is Shaken
  12. By Gracious Powers
  13. Whom Shall I Send
  14. The Church of Christ, in Every Age
  15. When the Church of Jesus
  16. How Blest are They Who Trust in Christ
  17. God Is Here
  18. Rejoice in God’s Saints
  19. An Upper Room Did our Lord Prepare
  20. Loving Lord, as Now We Gather
  21. Now It Is Evening
  22. Come, Sing a Song of Harvest

Pratt Green was a learned and liberal man.  He rejected fundamentalism and embraced ecumenism and social concerns.  He studied other religions extensively and read the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius frequently.  Pratt Green’s hymns reflected his theology.

Pratt Green and his wife, Marjorie (died in 1993), moved into Cromwell House Methodist Home for the Aged, Norwich, in 1990.  There he died peacefully on October 22, 2000.  He and his wife had raised Elizabeth Shepherd, daughter of a missionary who had died in India.  Pratt Green had received numerous honors, including an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters (1982) from Emory University and the rank of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE SAINTS AND MARTYRS OF ASIA

THE FEAST OF HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK, NORTHERN BAPTIST PASTOR

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH, 1972 

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Fred Pratt Green

and all those who with images and words

have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728