Archive for September 2014

Feast of John Amos Comenius (November 14)   4 comments

John Amos Comenius

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN AMOS COMENIUS (MARCH 28, 1592-NOVEMBER 15, 1670)

Father of Modern Education

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In The Emperor’s Club (2002), one of my favorite movies, William Hundert tells his young students,

Great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance.  What will your contribution be?  How will history remember you?

Jan Amos KomenskyJohn Amos Comenius in the Anglicized version of his name–suffered because of insignificant conquests with lasting effects and left a fine legacy in the realms of education and the church.  Not only did he preserve the “Hidden Seed” of the persecuted, underground Moravian Church (partially by publishing the Ancient Unity’s last hymnal, small enough to fit inside an exile’s pocket, in 1659 and a catechism in 1661 from exile in Amsterdam, The Netherlands) until Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) stepped up to provide a safe haven for Moravians in 1722, but our saint also became the Father of Modern Education and the Father of the Elementary School.

Perish sects.  Perish the founders of sects.  I have consecrated myself to Christ alone.

–Comenius in his later years

The life of our saint was replete with difficulties, including wars, religious persecution, and times of exile.  Comenius, born at Nivnitz, Moravia, on March 28, 1592, grew up in the Moravian Church, the oldest Protestant denomination.  His parents died of plague, making him an orphan at six years of age.  Our intelligent saint studied at Nassau, Rhineland-Palatinate, and at Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg, before serving as the Rector of the Moravian school at Prerov, Moravia (1614-1616), then as the minister at Fulnek, Moravia.  Then warfare and religious intolerance descended upon Comenius.

Europe was far from a hotbed of religious toleration in the 1600s.  In fact, religious toleration was one of the more admirable values of the Enlightenment (late 160os-1700s), itself partially a rejection of the excesses of Christendom.  The Moravian Church went underground for about a century (1620-1722), the period of the “Hidden Seed”  Comenius started 1620 as the Moravian minister at Fulnek, Moravia.  The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was young and about to change the life of our saint and the lives of all members of the Unitas Fratrum drastically.  That year the Spanish Army pillaged and plundered Fulnek, committing violence against non-combatants.  Comenius lost all of his possessions and manuscripts in a fire then his wife and one child en route to refuge at the estate of Baron Charles von Zerotin at Bradeis-on-the-Adler, Moravia.  Our saint’s first exile had begun.  Comenius and other Moravians whom Baron von Zerotin sheltered had to leave the estate in 1628 due to pressures from the Hapsburg Dynasty.  Moravian exiles had settled many corners of Europe starting in 1620; Comenius led a band of Moravians to Lissa, Poland.  There, in 1636, he became a bishop–the last bishop of the Ancient Unity, in fact.

At Brandeis Comenius wrote an allegory, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1623), to comfort Moravian exiles.  He wrote of Moravians as ideal Christians in that classic work of Czech literature.  Our saint depicted the violence and upheaval of the Thirty Years’ War and condemned social problems and endemic lack of concern for others.  His prescription for remedying the situation was a renewed dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the Moravian Church expressed it.  Competition among sects had contributed to much violence in Europe, so the cessation of such rivalries, replaced with unity to realize God’s will, would bring peace, he reasoned.

In Poland Comenius, who hoped for better times despite appearances of current events, started his educational revolution, which he spread to other countries, such as England, Hungary, Prussia, and Sweden.  The theologically mystical bishop advocated for universal, liberal arts education with a classical core.  He considered science and religion complementary, not antagonistic.  Our saint argued for teaching in vernacular languages, not Latin, not that he opposed Latin.  In fact, our saint revolutionized the teaching of that dead language.  His Latin textbooks, which came to exist in seventeen languages, set the standard in the field during his lifetime.  And Comenius supported a rigorous education for girls and women.  After all, were not mothers the first teachers of their children?  He recognized that holding about half of the population back “in its place” constrained entire societies also.

Comenius traveled widely in Europe.  He lived and worked in England in 1641-1642, inspiring the eventual founding of the Royal Society there and of similar institutions elsewhere.  In 1642 our saint rejected an offer to become the President of the new Harvard College.  He did, however, leave England, where the first of three civil wars within a decade was starting, for Sweden, where the government invited him to reform the schools.  Comenius had to leave after a few years, for his involvement in ecumenical activities angered some prominent ministers in the state Lutheran Church.  He returned to Poland, where, in 1648, he became the leader of the entire Moravian Church.  War struck again in 1656, when Comenius lost all his manuscripts in another fire related to a military action.  Thus Comenius relocated to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he died on November 15, 1670, about fifty-two years before Zinzendorf rescued the Moravians and started the modern era of the denomination.

The Moravians survived as a church until 1722 in large part due to the labors of Comenius.  His published theological works–including the 1659 hymnal and the 1661 catechism–kept the flame burning for a few more decades.

Some of our saint’s published works exist in English.  These include a hymn I found in the 1923 and 1969 North American Moravian hymnals and some of his books, such as those for which I have found texts at archive.org and linked into this post.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL CHRISTIAN MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JEROME, BIBLE TRANSLATOR

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [John Amos Comenius and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of William Romanis (November 14)   1 comment

Compass Rose Flag

Above:  The Compass Rose Flag of the Anglican Communion

Image Source = Alekjds

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WILLIAM ROMANIS (APRIL 30, 1824-NOVEMBER 13, 1899)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

To read or sing the words of a hymn attentively is a healthy practice.  To do so with the author’s life and/or the circumstances of the writing of the text in mind is better.  Thus I bring your attention, O reader, to the life of William Romanis (1824-1899.).  I found scant information about him, but here it is:

  1. Romanis came into this world at Westminster, Middlesex, England, on April 30, 1824.
  2. Romanis attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge, graduating with highest honors and his B.A. in 1846 and his M.A. three years later.
  3. Romanis took Anglican Holy Orders in 1847.
  4. Romanis belonged to the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church.
  5. Romanis was an assistant master in the classical department of Cheltenham College from 1846 to 1856.
  6. Romanis served as the Curate at Axminster then at St. Mary’s, Reading.  He published two volumes of Sermons Preached at St. Mary’s, Reading (1862 and 1864).
  7. Romanis served as the Vicar of Wigston Magna, Leicester, from 1863 to 1888.  In 1878 he published thirty-five texts in Hymns Written for Wigston Magna Church School.  Among these was “Round Me Falls the Night.”
  8. Romanis served as the Vicar of Twyford from 1888 to 1895.  He retired from there.
  9. Romanis died at Southsea, Port Sea, Hampshire, England, on November 13, 1899.

Much of the life of our saint consisted of mundane pastoral responsibilities which do not jump off the page or screen to impress many readers.  Yet “mundane” is a word which describes a great deal of daily holy living, is it not?  Our saint’s literary talent was not mundane, however, and we of today are fortunate to have access to that legacy of William Romanis.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNA E. B. ALEXANDER, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN X OF DENMARK AND HAAKON VII OF NORWAY, KINGS

THE FEAST OF PAULINE SPERRY, POLITICAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MCAFEE BROWN, ECUMENIST

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

William Romanis and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Ray Palmer (November 12)   1 comment

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Above:  Central Congregational Church, Bath, Maine, 1851

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = HABS ME,12-BATH,8–13

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RAY PALMER (NOVEMBER 12, 1808-MARCH 29, 1887)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

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Many who sing hymns in the English-speaking world these days might recognize the name of Ray Palmer in conjunction with “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” and no other text.  He did, however, write or translate thirty-seven other texts, some of which I have excavated from hymnals in my collection and added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I choose not to list those hymns individually, but I invite you, O reader, to follow the link in the previous sentence and read them for yourself.  Consider also, O reader, that he wrote most of his hymns in 1830, when he was twenty-one years old and having a difficult year between graduating from Yale College and returning to New Haven, Connecticut, for seminary.  “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” came from that time in his life.  Palmer refused to accept payment for his hymns or to permit changes to the texts.  Ironically, Lutheran Worship, the 1982 service book-hymnal of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, contained a badly rewritten of our saint’s most famous hymn.  “My Faith Looks Trustingly” confused congregations for twenty-four years until the Lutheran Service Book (2006) restored the original text.  As the Missouri Synod has proven, butchering old hymns in the name of modernizing them is not the sole province of well-intentioned liberals; well-intentioned conservatives intent on preserving meaning at the expense of language are just as capable of committing this offense.

Ray Palmer (1808-1887) was a son of Judge Thomas Palmer of Little Compton, Rhode Island.  Our saint left home for Boston, Massachusetts, at age thirteen, to work as a clerk in a dry goods store.  He joined the Park Street Congregational Church, whose senior minister helped Palmer enter Phillips Andover Academy.   Three years later our saint, having graduated, commenced his studies at Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut.  He supported himself financially by teaching others while attending classes at Yale.  Our saint, aged twenty-one years and having graduated from Yale, lived for a year in New York City, where he taught at a girls’ school while studying theology under a pastor’s direction.  In 1831 our saint started seminary at New Haven.  He became an ordained Congregationalist minister in 1835.

Palmer’s ministerial career did not require him to move much.  He served two congregations as pastor, each for about fifteen years.  First, in 1835, started his time at Central Congregational Church, Bath, Maine.  Then, in 1850, he transferred to First Congregational Church, Albany, New York.  In 1865 Palmer moved to New York City to become the Corresponding Secretary of the American Congregational Union.  The retired after fourteen years in that position and moved to Newark, New Jersey, in 1879.  There our saint, active in Belleville Avenue Congregational Church, specialized in the ministry of visiting people.  He died in Newark on March 29, 1887.

A partial list of Palmer’s publications follows:

  1. Memoirs, and Select Remains of Charles Pond, Late Member of the Sophomore Class of Yale College (First Edition, 1829; Second Edition, 1831);
  2. The Spirit’s Life; A Poem (1837);
  3. The Study of History Commended to the Active Classes of Society (1838);
  4. Doctrinal Textbook (1839);
  5. Spiritual Improvement; or, Aid to Growth in Grace; A Companion for the Christian’s Closet (1839);
  6. Closet Hours; or, Aids to Spiritual Improvement and Practical Religion (1851), the reissued edition of Spiritual Improvement (1839);
  7. Christ Going Forth to Purify the World:  A Sermon Preached Before the Foreign Evangelical Society, New York, May 7, 1848 (published in 1851); and
  8. Address on the Education of Women (1852), unfortunately of its time regarding the propriety of separate spheres for men and women;
  9. Hints on the Formation of Religious Opinions; Addressed Especially to Young Men and Women of Christian Education (1860);
  10. Hymns and Sacred Pieces; with Miscellaneous Poems (1865);
  11. Remember Me; or, the Holy Communion (1865);
  12. Hymns of My Holy Hours; and Other Pieces (1868);
  13. Home; or, the Unlost Paradise (1872);
  14. Earnest Words on True Success in Life; Addressed to Young Men and Women (1873);
  15. The Poetical Works of Ray Palmer (1876); and
  16. Voices of Hope and Gladness (1881).

Palmer contributed to other volumes (excluding hymnals), including:

  1. Speeches in Behalf of the University of Albany (1852);
  2. Hymns to Our King (1872); he wrote the Note to the Publisher; and
  3. Higher Education and a Common Language (1879)

Palmer makes a fine addition to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CAMPBELL SHAIRP, SCOTTISH POET AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF PHILANDER CHASE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS OF VILLANOVA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF VILLANOVA

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Ray Palmer and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of William Arthur Dunkerley (November 12)   3 comments

Flag of England

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM ARTHUR DUNKERLEY (NOVEMBER 12, 1852-JANUARY 23, 1941)

British Novelist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

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The name of William Arthur Dunkerley might not be familiar, but his primary nom de plume, John Oxenham, and some of his writings remain famous.  Consider this text, for example, O reader:

In Christ there is no East or West,

In Him no South or North;

But one great fellowship of love

Throughout the whole wide earth.

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In Him shall true hearts everywhere

Their high communion find;

His service is the golden cord

Close binding all mankind.

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Join hands, then, brothers of the faith,

Whate’er your race may be.

Who serves my Father as a son

Is surely kin to me.

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In Christ now meet both East and West,

In Him meet South and North;

All Christly souls are one in Him

Throughout the whole wide earth.

Our saint composed those words as part of the libretto for the Pageant of Darkness and Light, depicting successes in foreign missions, at an exhibit, The Orient in London, in 1908.

Dunkerley, the author for more than sixty books, including novels, religious non-fiction, and collections of verse, entered this world at Manchester, England, on November 22, 1852.  His father operated the family business, a firm specializing in wholesale provisions.  Our saint’s father also served as a deacon and as the Sunday School Superintendent at Charlton Road Congregational Church, Manchester.  Thus Dunkerley learned religion from an early age.

Our saint started writing and learned to love literature at a tender age.  One Sunday School teacher gave a copy to Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho! (Volume I, 1855, and Volume II) to each student, including Dunkerley.  In Kingsley’s fiction our saint found his main nom de plume, John Oxenham.  Dunkerley, who began to write poetry at age fourteen, attended Trafford School and Victoria University, both at Manchester, before entering the family business, for which he worked from 1871 to 1882.

Dunkerley worked overseas for the family firm for nine years.  First he lived in Rennes, Brittany, France, where he purchased then shipped butter, eggs, and fruit to England.  After a few years our saint married Margery “Madgie” Anderson (died 1925), his pastor’s sister-in-law, in 1877.  The couple, which went on to have six children, relocated to the vicinity of New York City, where he opened a new office for the family firm.  That branch of the business failed, however, due to an employee’s crime of embezzlement.

Dunkerley returned to England and became involved in the press.  He opened the London branch (1882-1890) of the Detroit Free Press and helped to launch periodicals, such as The Idler and Today.  Our saint left Fleet Street in 1897 and focused on writing novels for sixteen years.  From 1913 forward he focused on religious subjects, not that they had been absent from his earlier writing.  As one clergyman wrote Dunkerley,

Forgive me if I say I feel drawn to a man who writes poems and novels that have the fresh air of God blowing all about them–a none too common quality in 20th-century literature.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (St. Louis, MO:  Eden Publishing House, 1952), page 834

A partial list of Dunkerley’s books follows:

  1. Rising Fortunes (1899);
  2. God’s Prisoner (1899);
  3. Barbe of Grand Bayou (1903);
  4. Hearts in Exile (1904);
  5. Under the Iron Flail (1905);
  6. A Man of Sark (1907);
  7. The Long Road (1907);
  8. The Song of Hyacinth (1908);
  9. Pearl of Pearl Island (1908);
  10. The Coil of Carne (1911);
  11. Queen of the Guarded Mounts (1912);
  12. Bees in Amber (1913);
  13. Broken Shackles (1915);
  14. “All’s Well!” (1916);
  15. 1914 (1916);
  16. The King’s High Way (1916);
  17. The Vision Splendid (1917);
  18. Inasmuch:  Some Thoughts Concerning the Wreckage of the War (1918);
  19. The Fiery Cross (1918);
  20. Hearts Courageous (1918);
  21. “All Clear!”  A Book of Verse Commemorative of the Great Peace (1919);
  22. Winds of the Dawn (1919);
  23. Gentleman–the King! (1920);
  24. The Wonder of Lourdes; What It Is and What It Means (1924);
  25. Selected Poems (1925);
  26. The Hidden Years (1925);
  27. The Man Who Would Save the World (1927);
  28. God’s Candle (1929);
  29. The Pageant of the King’s Children (with his son Roderick, 1930); and
  30. Christ and the Third Wise Man (1934).

Dunkerley wrote at least nineteen hymns.  Links to three of them follow:

  1. “O God, Within Whose Sight;”
  2. “All Labor Gained New Dignity;” and
  3. “‘Mid the Traffic of All the Ways.”

Dunkerley, moved from Ealing London, to Worthing, Sussex, in 1922.  He served as mayor of Worthing, where he died on January 23, 1941.

Our saint kept his identity a secret from most of his friends.  Some people keep dark and incriminating secrets.  Dunkerley, however, kept a positive one.  He provided a fine justification for that practice with the following words from 1925:

[Christ’s] service is life’s highest joy,

It yields fair fruit a hundred fold,

Be this our prayer–“Not fame, nor gold,

But Thine employ.”

Thus I add William Arthur Dunkerley–Sunday School Teacher, hymn writer, novelist, poet, journalist, father, husband, mayor, supporter of socially progressive causes, and advocate for foreign missions–to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CAMPBELL SHAIRP, SCOTTISH POET AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF PHILANDER CHASE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS OF VILLANOVA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF VILLANOVA

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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 William Arthur Dunkerley

and all who with 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

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

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Feast of Johann Gottlob Klemm, Tobias Friedrich, David Tannenberg, Johann Philip Bachmann, and Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek (November 15)   1 comment

Chart

Above:  A Chart Depicting Relationships Among People I Have Named in This Post

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHANN GOTTLOB KLEMM (MAY 12, 1690-MAY 4, 1762)

Instrument Maker

mentor of 

DAVID TANNENBERG, SR. (MARCH 21, 1728-MAY 19, 1804)

German-American Moravian Organ Builder

mentor and father-in-law of

JOHANN PHILIP BACHMANN (APRIL 22, 1762-NOVEMBER 15, 1837)

German-American Instrument Maker

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JOSEPH FERDINAND BULITSCHEK (1729-1801)

Bohemian-American Organ Builder

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TOBIAS FRIEDRICH (NOVEMBER 25, 1706-JUNE 8, 1736)

German Moravian Composer and Musician

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Introduction

A process which began when I wrote a name–Johann Philip Bachmann–out of a book then assigned him a provisional date on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days led recently to taking notes on Herr Bachmann.  Then one person led to another and I had taken notes on five saints during several hours.  These life stories are like circles in a Venn Diagram, but I will do my best to minimize, if not prevent, confusion.

If I have prompted a desire for more details in you, O reader, some of the hyperlinks I have embedded in this post might interest you.  Others have devoted much time and effort into sharing such details online; I have endeavored to refer people to such websites in this post.

Johann Gottlob Klemm (I)

Our story begins with Johann Gottlob Klemm (1690-1762), born near Dresden.  Klemm’s father was an organist, organ builder, and schoolmaster.  The saint trained in the art of building organs near Dresden, starting circa 1710 after having studied theology at Freiberg and Leipzig.  Among his clients was Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), for whom he build a harpsichord.  The Zinzendorf connection brought Klemm into the Moravian Church in 1726, when the saint moved to Herrnhut, where he lived for seven years.  There he was present for the Moravian Pentecost (August 13, 1727), the birth of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum, and taught boys and led some services.

Tobias Friedrich

Klemm also built a clavichord for Tobias Friedrich (1706-1736).  This saint came from a farming family, but God put him on the Earth for music, not agriculture.  Friedrich trained to become the cantor in the nearby town of Castell when he was twelve years old.  At age fourteen (1720) he met Count Zinzendorf.  The die was cast.  Friedrich became one of the early settlers at Herrnhut, where he remained for the rest of his life, except for a few months in 1731, when the Church sent him on a missions trip to Denmark and Sweden.  He worked for Zinzendorf in a variety of capacities over time, ending as the Count’s secretary.  Friedrich served also as the first organist at Herrnhut, as a member of the Church’s Board of Direction (from 1731 to 1736), and as one of the founders of the collegium musicum (musical ensemble) at Herrnhut.

Friedrich’s lasting legacy to the Moravian Church was in the realm of hymnody.  He, a fine violinist and organist, understood well how to accompany a worshiping congregation.  He also grasped the importance of hymn tunes.  He laid the strong foundation of hymnody in the Renewed Unitas Fratrum.  More than 200 tunes in the Church’s first post-renewal hymnal, the Herrnhuter Gesangbuch (1735), flowed from his pen.  At least twenty of them reamined in Christian Gregor‘s standard-setting Choralbuch (1784).

Friedrich died on June 8, 1736, after a brief illness.  He was just twenty-nine years old.  What more might he have accomplished had he lived longer?

Johann Gottlob Klemm (II)

Klemm, once a devout Moravian, walked away from the Unitas Fratrum in 1733 and emigrated to Pennsylvania with a group of Schwenkfelders, who belonged to the sect which Kaspar von Schwenkfeld (1489-1561) had founded.  Schwenkfeld preferred a style of Protestantism more mystical than either the Lutheran or Reformed traditions, so he argued with both Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli, who also argued with each other, especially regarding Eucharistic theology.  Schwenkfeld, who made good use of the printing presses to spread his ideas, had to contend with other Protestants banning his books.  He spent the last twenty-one years of his life as a fugitive due to his theology, for the religious freedom he championed did not exist for him.

Klemm, once he settled near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, chose to live without a formal religious affiliation for decades.  He also Anglicized his name as “John Clemm” and worked as the first professional organ and keyboard builder in the American colonies.  His market was ecumenical, including the following:

  1. Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1738);
  2. Trinity Church (then Anglican, now Episcopal) Church, Wall Street, New York, New York (1741);
  3. the Moravian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1742); and
  4. the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1746).

Klemm returned to the Unitas Fratrum at the end of his life.  The Moravian community at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, accepted him.  There he mentored David Tannenberg, Sr. (1728-1804), in the art of building organs.  They built five organs for the Moravians.  One of those instruments went to the church at Bethabara, North Carolina.  Klemm died at Bethlehem on May 4, 1762.

David Tannenberg, Sr.

Tannenberg, born into a Moravian Church family, became the major organ builder in America during the 1700s.  He grew up at Herrnhut, except for a period of schooling elsewhere from his tenth to fourteenth years of life.  In 1748 he lived at Zeist, The Netherlands.  The following year he emigrated to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Shortly after Tannenberg arrived he married Anna Rosina Kern.  For eight years he worked as a joiner and a business manager at Bethlehem then at Nazareth.  This experience helped him succeed as a master organ builder.

As I wrote, Johann Gottlob Klemm (1690-1762) settled at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1757.  Then Tannenberg became his apprentice.  Tannenberg persisted in the art and trade of building organs despite the request of Moravian Elders that he make cabinets instead.  Building organs was, they said, “tied up with much disorder.”

Tannenberg’s skill extended beyond the bounds of organ building.  He and his family relocated to Lititz, Pennsylvania, in 1765.  There he not only established his workshop but performed as a vocalist and a violinist in the community.  Tannenberg, who built an average of one organ annually, constructed fifty during his lifetime.  Nine of them survive in 2014.  He installed organs in Pennyslvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, for Roman Catholic, Moravian, Reformed, and Lutheran churches plus private homes.  Tannenberg’s output increased in 1793, when, at his request, Johann Philip Bachmann (1762-1837) arrived from Herrnhut.  They built fourteen organs in either seven or ten years.  I am unsure of the length of their professional relationship, for my source tells me that they parted ways in 1800 on one page then in 1803 on another.  (One of those dates might be a typographical error.)  That source does agree with itself, however, on the existence of tension between the men, hence their professional parting.

Tannenberg built and installed organs to the end.  His final professional act was to install an organ at Christ Lutheran Church, York, Pennyslvania.  He was ill, but he completed the job before suffering a stroke then dying.  The organ’s premiere was his funeral.

Tannenberg also built stringed instruments.  He made at least one harpsichord, which, to the best of current knowledge, no longer exists.  There is hope, however, for his oldest stringed instrument, a clavichord dating to 1761, resurfaced in 2004.

Johann Philip Bachmann

Johann Philip Bachmann (1762-1837), whose name launched me on the process of researching and writing this post, was German.  The native of Thuringia learned carpentry from his father, who might been a piano maker.  Young Bachmann left home at age sixteen to apprentice to a master carpenter.  This saint went from there to the Herrnhut, having joined the Unitas Fratrum.  At Herrnhut the carpenter learned how to make musical instruments.  In April 1793, after he arrived in Pennyslvania, he married Anna Maria Tannenberg, the youngest daughter of David Tannenberg, Sr.  Bachmann apprentice under Tannenberg until 1800 or 1803, traveling sometimes to install organs.  The two men collaborated until Tannenberg’s death (1804), despite their differences.  Bachmann turned from building organs to making pianos and cabinets by 1819, by which time he had begun to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which afflicted him for the last two decades of his life.  He, an invalid for the final months, died on November 15, 1837.

Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek

A previous apprentice to Tannenberg was Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek (1729-1801), a native of Bohemia.  He, an organ builder, millwright, and cabinet maker, apprentice under Tannenberg sometime before 1771, when he left Pennsylvania for North Carolina.  He built at least two organs there–one for the Moravian congregation at Bethabara, the other for the Moravian church at Bathania.  The Bethania organ was unusual, for the organist’s console was behind the case, requiring a window cut through the center of the case so the organist could see the congregation.

David Tannenberg, Jr.

Tannenberg had a son, David Tannenberg, Jr. (1760-circa 1802), who also learned the art and trade of building organs.  The younger Tannenberg, unlike his father, was often at odds with the Moravian community.  The son did, however, work in the field of organ construction, infusing the Pennsylvania German school of organ building with elements of the Moravian school thereof.  One example of the fusion of these two schools was the organ for Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Bally, Pennsylvania.

Conclusion

The worship of God is a serious matter, as the saints of whom I have written in this post knew well.  They employed their skills with great care for the glory of God.  Some of their products survive–often in museums, sometimes in churches.  The old instruments remain functional if people have maintained them.  And at least one cabinet Bulitschek made survives.  It is, according to what I have read, beautiful and well-crafted.

May we do everything excellently, so that even our must mundane and seemingly meaningless tasks may glorify God.  One can glorify God by washing the dishes if one completes the chore properly, after all.

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF GENOA, MYSTIC AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF DANTE ALIGHIERI, POET

THE FEAST OF JAMES CHISHOLM, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Johann Gottlob Klemm;

David Tannenberg, Sr.;

Johann Philip Bachmann;

Joseph Ferdinand Bulitschek; and

Tobias Friedrich,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Common of a Saint I, Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of Christian Gregor (November 6)   8 comments

Herrnhut 1765

Above:  Herrnhut, 1765

Image in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH GREGOR (JANUARY 1, 1723-NOVEMBER 6, 1801)

Father of Moravian Music

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Given the fact that I maintain eight weblogs, I let some sit fallow for defined periods of time while I juggle projects.  Among those projects is Liturgy in the Moravian Church in America, a series at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  That series brings names and contexts to my attention, thereby expanding the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS and the breadth of material at GATHERED PRAYERS.  The name of Christian Gregor came to my attention during the process of working on a post in the Moravian liturgy series at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.

Christian Gregor (1723-1801), the “Father of Moravian Music,” was a giant in the Renewed Unitas Fratrum (1727-).  He, the son of a Silesian peasant farmer, joined the Unitas Fratrum at age seventeen.  In 1742 he arrived at Herrnhut, where he spent most of the rest of his life.  From 1742 to 1748 our saint served as organist at the Moravian headquarters in Saxony.  In 1748 Gregor transferred to the planned community of Herrnhaag (1738-1753), where he worked as the music director. He performed the same function at Zeist, The Netherlands, from 1749 to 1753.  Then our saint returned to Herrnhut, where he remained except for visits elsewhere, such as his travels in Pennsylvania and North Carolina in 1770-1772.  Gregor, back at Herrnhut, served as the treasurer of the Moravian Church’s Board of Direction, starting in 1753.  Our saint, ordained deacon in 1756 and presbyter in 1767, joined that Board in 1764 and became a bishop in 1789.

Gregor was a talented linguist.  He stabilized Moravian hymnody, toning down maudlin tendencies regarding expressions of grief regarding the crucifixion and wounds of Jesus.  His greatest contributions in the field of worship were the Gesangbuch (1778) and the Choralbuch (1784), both of which established standards for the entire Moravian world.  The Gesangbuch, a hymnal, contained no music, according to Moravian custom of the time.  This volume, which remained in use for about a century, contained 1,750 texts, 308 of which Gregor had written or recast.  His Choralbuch, which contained no words, was a volume for organists.

Gregor, a prolific composer of more than 300 musical works apart from hymns, has remained influential in Moravian hymnody.  A few of those hymns and other works for church services include the following:

  1. With Thy Presence, Our Lord and Saviour;”
  2. Make My Calling and Election;”
  3. Sing with Awe in Strains Melodious;” and
  4. Thou, Whose Human Life Did For Us Happiness Obtain.”

Another text is “In This Sepulchral Eden” (with an English translation by Christian Ignatius LaTrobe):

In this sepulchral Eden the tree of life I’ve found,

Here is my treasure hidden, I tread on hallowed ground;

Ye sick, ye faint and weary, howe’er your ailments vary,

Come hither, and make sure of a most perfect cure.

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Here lies in death’s embraces,

My Bridegroom, Lord and God;

With awe my soul retraces

The dark and dolorous road

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That leads to this last station;

Here in sweet meditation

I’ll dwell by day and night,

Till faith is changed to sight.

Here is a translation of another Gregor text:

Sing hallelujah, Christ doth live,

And peace on earth restore;

Come, ransomed souls, and glory give,

Sing, worship and adore:

With grateful hearts to Him we pay

Our thanks in humble wise;

Who aught unto our charge can lay?

‘Tis God that justifies.

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Who can condemn, since Christ was dead,

And ever lives to God?

Now our whole debt is fully paid,

He saves us by His blood:

The ransomed hosts in earth and heaven

Through countless choirs proclaim,

“He hath redeemed us; praise be given

To God and to the Lamb.”

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In all we do, constrained by love,

We’ll joy to Him afford,

And to God’s will obedient prove

Through Jesus Christ our Lord:

Sing hallelujah, and adore

On earth the Lamb once slain,

Till we in heaven shall evermore

Exalt His Name.

And here is another translated Gregor text:

Countless hosts before God’s throne,

Where the Lamb abideth,

And as God and Man, His own

To life’s fountain guideth,

Now possess perfect bless,

Which for us is wanting,

And for which we’re panting.

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O how excellent and fair,

Goodly beyond measure,

Is the lot which we shall share;

And how rich the treasure!

When we see, bodily,

Our beloved Saviour,

And He is, for ever.

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May this ever blessed hope

Fill our hearts with gladness,

And ‘mid weakness bear us up,

Till from sin and sadness

We shall be wholly free,

And above for ever,

Praise our gracious Saviour.

Gregor introduced concerted anthems and arias into Moravian Church music.  Among his contributions in this regard was a 1783 setting of the following text:

Hosanna!  Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!

The arrangement in two voice parts fills two pages in the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923).

Blessed is He Gregor

Above:  Gregor’s 1783 Setting of the Hosanna

Scan Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Our saint attended a meeting of the Board of Direction at Herrnhut on in early November 1801.  Afterward he suffered a fatal stroke.  Gregor, his work completed, died on November 6.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL EXILED SAINTS

THE FEAST OF GODFREY THRING, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JANE CREWDSON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Christian Gregor)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Dumbing Down Our Language   Leave a comment

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Above:  Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, July 1942

Photographer = Lee Russell (1903-1986)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USF34-073146-D

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Language matters to me, for I am a man of letters.  I am also a grandson of an English teacher, so much of my grandmother’s concern and care for the English language has become my own.  Thus increasingly frequent assaults on the English language bother me.  Some examples follow:

  1. Confusing “it’s” and “its;”
  2. Confusing a possessive form of a word for its plural form;
  3. Using “impact” as a verb in the absence of an event resulting in a crater or wedging something or someone in somewhere;
  4. Writing or speaking of how someone “impacted” the world, community, et cetera, or of how “impactful” something is;
  5. Mistaking the singular form of a word which ends in -ist for its plural form; and
  6. Using the passive voice (in news reports, for example) when we know the identity of the actors.

So:

  1. I do not want to read or write about laws were passed by a state legislature or how hot drinks were distributed at a coffee shop;
  2. Nobody has impacted me, but many people have influenced and affected me;
  3. Good books have proven influential and memorable, but never impactful;
  4. “Colonist” is singular and “colonists” is plural;” and
  5. Nothing has gone to the dog’s.

It’s true.

Our English language deserves more care and respect than many of those who speak and write her take with her.  Clear message-sending, a stage in effective communication, requires correct use of the language.  If what I have observed regarding the degradation of common English is a portent for the future, I weep for that time to come.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 COMMON ERA