Feast of John Athelstan Laurie Riley (August 21)   3 comments

St. Paul's Cathedral

Above:  St. Paul’s Cathedral and Blackfriars Bridge, London, England, United Kingdom, 1880s

Image Creator = G. W. Wilson and Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-06814

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

JOHN ATHELSTAN LAURIE RILEY (AUGUST 10, 1858-NOVEMBER 17, 1945)

Anglican Ecumenist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

Many of those of us who read the names of hymn writers in hymnals wonder who some of those who wrote the words were.  What were their backgrounds?  What else did they write?  Among my favorite hymns is “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones” (1906).  The author of that text was John Athelstan Laurie Riley (1858-1945), an accomplished man and a staunch High Church Anglican.

Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones

Scanned from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941)

Riley, an independently wealthy man and an advocate for public education, entered the world at London, England, on August 10, 1858.  He studied at Eton then at Pembroke College, Oxford, earning his M.A. degree in 1883.  He traveled extensively in preparation for a book, Athos; or, the Monastery of the Monks (1887).  That year he married Andalusia Louisa Charlotte Georgina, the eldest daughter of Viscount Molesworth.  Four sons and a daughter resulted from that union.  Riley wrote much about the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.  He also chaired the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association.  Due to these efforts he received the Order of St. Sava and became a Commander of the Order of King George I.  Our saint edited Birkbeck and the Russian Church:  Containing Essays and Articles by the Late W. J. Birkbeck, M.A, F.S.A., Written in the Years 1888-1915 (Being a Continuation of Russia and the English Church, Volume I) (1917).  Closer to home, Riley sat on the London School Board from 1891 to 1897.  Our saint also edited (with Michael E. Sadler and Cyril Jackson) The Religious Question in Public Education:  A Critical Examination of Schemes Representing Various Points of View (1911).

Riley also devoted time to liturgical matters.  He served as the Vice President of the Alcuin Club (named after St. Alcuin, an eighth century Frankish abbot who preserved knowledge and revived schools), which, according to its website, promotes the study of liturgy.  He also wrote hymns, translated other hymns, and served on the committee for the The English Hymnal (1906).  That volume contained three of his original hymns, seven of his translations from Latin (including “O Food of Men Wayfaring“), and one of his translations from Greek.  Riley also wrote Prayer Book Revision:  The Irreducible Minimum of the Hickleton Conference, Showing the Proposed Rearrangements of the Order for Holy Communion; Together with Further Suggestions (1911) and Concerning Hymn Tunes and Sequences (1915).

Riley retired to Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, in 1932.  He died there on November 17, 1945.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 11, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM

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

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

thank you for those (especially John Athelstan Laurie Riley)

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

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

Advertisements

3 responses to “Feast of John Athelstan Laurie Riley (August 21)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: O Food of Men Wayfaring | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Pingback: What Sweet of Life Endureth | GATHERED PRAYERS

  3. Pingback: John Athelstan Laurie Riley | GATHERED PRAYERS

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: