Archive for April 2015

Feast of Carl Doving (October 1)   2 comments

Decorah, Iowa 1908

Above:  Panoramic View of Decorah, Iowa, Circa 1908

Copyright Claimant = Brunt & Parman

H116196–U.S. Copyright Office

Image Source = Library of Congress

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CARL DOVING (MARCH 21, 1867-OCTOBER 2, 1937)

Norwegian-American Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator

I collect hymnals from different denominations for several reasons, including the fact that variety in hymnody interests me.  Variety is the spice of life with regard to hymns, for it guards against a generic, vanilla sensibility in church music and texts thereto.  Hymns which Carl Doving (1867-1937), or, as The Service Hymnal:  A Lutheran Homecoming (2001) misspells his last name, “Dovig,” translated are most likely to appear in hymnals of denominations with a Scandinavian or German heritage, for he rendered texts from Scandinavian and German sources into English.  These English-language texts are products of a finely honed mind, the intellect of a skilled linguist, and a deep trust in God.

Doving, a native of Norddalen, Norway, lived in Norway, South Africa, and the United States of America.  In 1883, ag age 16, he moved to the Natal, South Africa.  There Bishop Nils Astrup, a missionary of the Synod of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (SNELCA), educated him.  Our saint taught at Astrup’s Schreuder Mission, Untunjambili, for a few years before emigrating to the United States at age 23 in 1890.  He studied at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, for three years, graduating in 1893 then commencing studies at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1896.  Along the way to becoming an ordained minister of the SNELCA then its immediate successor, the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (1917-1946)/The Evangelical Lutheran Church (1946-1960), wrote three books from his experiences in South Africa:

  1. Billeder fra Syd-Afrika (1892),
  2. Blandt Zuluerne i Syd-Afrika (1894), and
  3. Izihabelelo (1896).

The last book was a volume of Zulu hymns;  the first two were apparently about missionary efforts among the Zulus, according to the scant information I found online.

My sources–books, secondary websites, and primary sources I accessed via Internet searches–helped me to establish some dates in Doving’s career, but not as many as I would have preferred.  I do know the following, however:

  1. Doving served a churches in Red Wing and Montevideo, Minnesota.  He was serving at the congregation in Montevideo in 1902.
  2. In 1903 the SNELCA asked Doving to undertake missionary work among the Zulus.  I have found no indication of his reply.
  3. By 1905 Doving was serving as pastor of the First Scandinavian Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, New York, New York.  He remained there through at least 1911, perhaps 1912.
  4. Doving served as a visiting pastor in Freeborn County, Minnesota, in October and November 1912, overlapping with the long-term tenure of Olof Hanson Smeby (1851-1929) there.  By then Smeby and Doving had concluded their service on the committee for The Lutheran Hymnary (1913).
  5. Doving’s final assignment was as city missionary in Chicago.  This work was well underway by 1916.  One of our saint’s duties was visiting people in hospitals.  Many of them were immigrants not fluent in English.  Fortunately, Doving was fluent in German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Greek.

Preface

Above:  The Conclusion of the Preface to The Lutheran Hymnary (1913)

Scanned from the 1935 edition of The Lutheran Hymnary by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Doving applied his linguistic abilities to translating German and Scandinavian hymns also.  Some sources I consulted indicated that The Lutheran Hymnary contains 32 of his translations.  I counted hymns and wrote down titles, however, and arrived at a different number–37.

Mason City Globe-Citizen, March 6, 1934, page 16 01

Mason City Globe-Citizen, March 6, 1934, page 16 02

Above:  An Article from the Mason City Globe-Citizen, Mason City, Iowa, March 6, 1934, Page 16

Obtained via newspapers.com

The Lutheran Hymnary and users thereof benefited from our saint’s large hymnological library and extensive knowledge of hymnology.  Doving donated that library to Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, in 1934.  Since 1997 the custodian of said library has been Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.  That library contains thousands of hymnals and books about hymns in more than 300 languages and from six continents.  The oldest book in the collection dates to the middle 1600s; the most recent volume comes from the early 1900s.  It is a collection which a recognized expert in the field of hymnology assembled.

Carl Doving (D.D., Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, 1931), died at Chicago, Illinois, on October 2, 1937.  His hymn translations survive, and not only in out-of-print hymnbooks.  My survey of germane, current hymnals reveals the following count of Doving texts, in descending order:

  1. Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (The Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 1996)–16;
  2. Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship (The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994)–11;
  3. Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 1993)–5;
  4. Lutheran Service Book (The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, 2006)–3;
  5. The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (The Evangelical Covenant Church of America, 1996)–2;
  6. The Service Book:  A Lutheran Homecoming (unofficial, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2001)–2;
  7. Celebrating Grace Hymnal (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2010)–1;
  8. Chalice Hymnal (Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1995)–1;
  9. Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2006)–1;
  10. Moravian Book of Worship (Moravian Church in America, 1995)–1;
  11. The New Century Hymnal (United Church of Christ, 1995)–1;
  12. The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal (Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1985)–1;
  13. Trinity Hymnal–Baptist Edition (Reformed Baptist, 1995)–1; and
  14. Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Church in America, 1990)–1.

I checked many other current hymnals in my collection and found no Carl Doving texts in them.

The top two hymnals on the list come from denominations with a dominant Norwegian heritage.  The Evangelical Lutheran Synod formed in opposition to the merger which created the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (1917-1946)/The Evangelical Lutheran Church (1946-1960), which merged into The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987).  The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations is the remnant of The Lutheran Free Church, which merged into The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987) in 1963.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also has a strong Norwegian heritage.

Denominations with strong German roots include the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church in America, and the United Church of Christ.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has strong Swedish and Danish roots, as well as Icelandic and Finnish heritages.  Hymnals of Swedish and Danish immigrant denominations had a stronger Scandinavian hymnody than non-ethnic U.S. Lutheran hymnbooks have had, beginning with the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  The Evangelical Covenant Church of America has Swedish immigrant roots.

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has an ethnic Finnish constituency also.

Our saint left a fine legacy, one which continues to benefit people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BOSA OF YORK, JOHN OF BEVERLEY, WILFRID THE YOUNGER, AND ACCA OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENNA, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF TIMOTHY REES, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

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

thank you for those (especially Carl Doving)

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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Posted April 29, 2015 by neatnik2009 in October, Saints of the 1870s, Saints of the 1880s, Saints of the 1890s, Saints of the 1900s, Saints of the 1910s, Saints of the 1920s, Saints of the 1930s

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Feast of David Moritz Michael (October 21)   2 comments

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1832

Above:  View of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1832

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID MORITZ MICHAEL (OCTOBER 21, 1751-FEBRUARY 26, 1827)

German-American Moravian Musician and Composer

David Moritz Michael (1751-1827), a native of Kuhnhausen, in Germany, received his musical training in Europe.  He became a virtuoso on instruments including the violin, the clarinet, and the French horn.  He brought his musical talents to the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum), which he joined when he was thirty years old.  Our saint taught music at the Moravian school at Niesky prior to transferring to the Bethlehem-Nazareth area of Pennsylvania in 1795 to work with young men there.  He lived in Nazareth from 1795 to 1808 and at Bethlehem from 1808 to 1815.  He led the collegium musicum of Nazareth from 1795 to  1804.  Michael assumed leadership of the collegium musicum of Bethlehem in 1808, revitalizing the ensemble musically and financially.  In 1811, at Bethlehem, he conducted an early (if not the first) American performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Creation.

Our saint seems to have composed only during his two decades in the United States of America.  A major work was Psalm 103, which he debuted at Nazareth on November 8, 1805.  He scored the composition, which he intended as a concert piece, for SATB choir, two flutes, two clarinets, bassoon, clarini, string, and organ.  Karl Kroeger wrote in 1976 that Psalm 103 was

the first extended, cantata-like work written by an American Moravian composer, and quite possibly the earliest work for these performing forces written in America.

Kroeger wrote of our saint that Psalm 103 

shows Michael to have been a capable composer of considerable craftsmanship, and perhaps the only Moravian composer in America during his time who could have successfully handled a large-scale, lyrico-dramatic choral form.  On the basis of Psalm 103 alone one must rank Michael as a major figure in American Moravian music.

Michael also composed fourteen Parthien for woodwind ensembles, many solos for vocalists, many motets for church choirs, and two suites for Whitmonday (the Monday after Pentecost).  The structure of each of the Parthien was three to five movements, with forms similar to early classical symphonies.  His motets, all of whom musicologists might not have identified, included “Hearken! Stay Close to Jesus Christ,” “Hearken, For I Bring You Great Joy,” and “Hail, Newborn Infant.”  Whitmonday was an occasion for a music festival along the banks of the Lehigh River at Bethlehem.  Michael’s two suites for Whitmonday were Water Journey (1809) and Suites to Play by a Spring (probably 1810).  The ensemble performed the fifteen movements and two unnumbered sections of Water Journey on a piloted boat on the river.  Each movement was consistent with the condition of the river (from quiet to the whirlpool in the middle to quiet again) when the musicians performed it.  This work, according to many, was Michael’s masterpiece.  Suites to Play by a Spring had fourteen movements–an introduction and three sections.

Our saint returned to Germany in 1815.  He died at Neuweid on February 26, 1827.  His music has survived him, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

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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 David Michael Moritz

and all those who with music 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 Abraham Ritter (October 8)   Leave a comment

Philadelphia

Above:  No. 46 to No. 52, Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 17, 1843

A Daguerreotype by William Mason

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZC4-9389

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ABRAHAM RITTER (SEPTEMBER 20, 1792-OCTOBER 8, 1860)

U.S. Moravian Merchant, Historian, Musician, and Composer

Abraham Ritter was one of many fine musicians and composers.  of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  The lifelong resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and member of the Moravian congregation in that city came from a family of the Moravian Church.  He played the organ at his home church for forty-nine years (1811-1860).  Ritter was a merchant by profession, a fact which influenced a book, Philadelphia and Her Merchants:  As Constituted Fifty and Seven Years Ago:  Illustrated by Diagrams of the River Front and Portraits of Some of the Prominent Occupants, Together with Sketches of Character and Incidents and Anecdotes of the Day (1860).

Ritter, the son of Jacob Ritter and Elizabeth Myrtetus Ritter, married Mary Lockton Hardy (September 8, 1810-December 24, 1870), who came from a Lutheran family.  Our saint and his wife had one child, Mary Hendy Ritter (1839-1902), who married Edward Knight Stevenson.

Our saint composed anthems.  One source I consulted indicated that he wrote three anthems for Holy Week.  I found sheet music for one of those, “And Behold There Was a Great Earthquake,” at the website of the Library of Congress.  At that same website I found sheet music for two Christmas anthems, “For Unto Us” and “Glory to God in the Highest.”

Our saint, whose papers are in the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, wrote a history of his congregation:  History of the Moravian Church in Philadelphia, from Its Foundation in 1742 to the Present Time, Comprising Notices, Defensive of Its Founder and Patron, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, Together with an Appendix (1857).

Ritter died on October 8, 1860, after a long illness.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

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God of grace and glory,

you have given a rich variety of interests and talents to us; thank you.

Thank you for those who have served you and helped their fellow human beings

in their daily lives habitually via their vocations yet most memorably their avocations,

and for those who do so.

May we, reminded of and encouraged in our responsibilities to you and each other by their examples,

continue faithfully in the endeavors you assign us.

In the name of Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 38:24-34a

Psalm 33

Romans 14:7-8

Matthew 5:13-16

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Feast of Johann Gottfried Weber (October 7)   Leave a comment

Moravian Logo

Above:  The Logo of the Moravian Church

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHANN GOTTFRIED WEBER (OCTOBER 7, 1740-MARCH 30, 1797)

German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Minister

Classical church music has been among the fine legacies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  Johann Gottfried Weber (1740-1797) contributed to that legacy.  Weber, born at Herrnhut, came from a family of the Moravian Church.  He learned his father’s trade, weaving, as well as music.  Our saint, who joined the Moravian Church in 1754, served as a church organist from 1766 to 1785.  He served in that capacity at the following places:

  1. Kleinwalka, Saxony (1766-1769);
  2. Neudietendorf, Saxony (1769-1772);
  3. Herrnhut, Saxony (1772-1785).

He became an ordained minister in 1785, serving at Barby, Saxony, then at Gothenburg, Sweden, before returning to Herrnhut in 1788.

Weber composed music also.  He wrote many anthems plus eight sonatas for two trumpets and two trombones.  He sent copies of the sheet music of the sonatas from Herrnhut to Salem, North Carolina, in 1785.

Weber died at Gnadau, Saxony, on March 30, 1797.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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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 Johann Gottfried Weber

and all those who with music 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 Christian David (October 13)   2 comments

Herrnhut 1765

Above:  Herrnhut in 1765

Image in the Public Domain

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LAST ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

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CHRISTIAN DAVID (DECEMBER 31, 1690-FEBRUARY 3, 1751)

Moravian Missionary

Christian David (1690-1751) was a foundational figure in the Renewed Moravian Church.  The native of Senftleben, Moravia, was, like St. Simon Peter, impetuous, and usually a force for good.

Our saint, originally a Roman Catholic then a Lutheran, became a driving force in the Renewed Moravian Church.  He met Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) in Dresden in 1722.  David recruited nine people and spearheaded the founding of Herrnhut that year.  He even built the first house in the settlement on the Count’s estate.  David recruited settlers for the rapidly growing community.  Among his recruits were David “Father” Nitschmann, Sr. (1676-1758), and family.  Efforts to recruit settlers from Moravia attracted hostile attention from Austrian authorities, who feared that they might constitute an attempt to foment rebellion.

In the 1720s our saint was a paradox, for he was simultaneously a force for building the community and detracting from it.  On one hand he recruited settlers and taught David Nitschmann (1696-1772), who became the first bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church in 1735, carpentry.  On the other hand, our saint frequently neglected his assigned duties of visiting the sick to focus on evangelism instead.  This reality had the effect of also depriving the community of his skills as a carpenter.  Finally, on May 12, 1727, the new constitution of Herrnhut made clear that seeking the common good was an essential value of the settlement.  Our saint agreed to this.  He became one of the first four elders of the Renewed Moravian Church eight days later.  He resigned his eldership the following year, for he had supported a failed proposal to abandon the discipline of Herrnhut and to merge with the Lutheran parish church at Berthelsdorf.

Our saint was an active missionary.  He and Melchior Nitschmann (1702-1729) were evangelizing in Hungary on August 13, 1727, the date of the Moravian Pentecost at Herrnhut.  The following year our saint and the future first bishop, David Nitschmann (1696-1772), undertook missionary work in Austria.  Our saint and one Timothy Fiedler conducted the first Moravian Church missionary journey in the Baltic provinces in 1729.  Then, from 1733 to 1736, our saint and the Stach cousins (Matthew and Christian) evangelized in Greenland.  They started the Moravian mission there.

Our saint served God ably via the Moravian Church in various ways.  He wrote at least ten hymns.  He also assisted in establishing new settlements in Europe.  Our saint also encouraged Count Zinzendorf to correct the excesses of the “sifting time” (1743-1750) before the Count heeded the advice.

Our saint died at Herrnhut on February 3, 1751.

Here ends the process of adding twelve saints to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via four posts.  That seemed more sensible and less confusing than doing so in one.  These twelve saints were bold in their lived faith.  They were imperfect, but what else should one expect from mere mortals?  They also did much for the glory of God.  What else should one expect from mere mortals?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Christian David,

who made the good news known in Hungary, Austria, the Baltic provinces, and Greenland.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Martin Dober, Johann Leonhard Dober, and Anna Dober (October 12)   4 comments

Dober

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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THIRD ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

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MARTIN DOBER (NOVEMBER 23, 1703-DECEMBER 9, 1748)

Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

brother of

JOHANN LEONHARD DOBER (1706-1766)

Moravian Missionary and Bishop

husband of

ANNA SCHINDLER DOBER (APRIL 9, 1713-DECEMBER 12, 1739)

Moravian Missionary and Hymn Writer

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Two brothers emigrated to Herrnhut in 1725.  Martin and Johann Leonhard (whose name some sources Anglicize as Leonard) Dober were potters from Monchsroth, Swabia.  They were far more than skilled potters; the Renewed Moravian Church provided them opportunities to manifest other abilities in the service of God.

Martin Dober (1703-1748) spent much time at Herrnhut.  For at least part of his time there he led morning worship at 5:00 then went to work in his pottery shop.  Martin became a trusted assistant of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) and a teacher at Herrnhut.  Dober became a bishop in 1744, led the Moravian communities in Britain and Ireland in 1744 and 1745, and ended his days at Herrnhaag.  He also wrote hymns, such as “Jesus, Saviour, I Implore Thee.”  The Index of Authors and Translators in the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923) described him as:

highly gifted in original languages and in the cure of souls.

–Page 674

Johann Leonhard Dober (1706-1766), or Leonard Dober, as some sources refer to him, was a giant in the early decades of the Renewed Moravian Church.  From 1732 to 1734 he served as a missionary in the West Indies.  David Nitschmann (1696-1772) traveled with him to St. Thomas and spent sixteen weeks helping him get started.  Dober labored faithfully in the West Indies, but without much success.  In late 1734 he left for Herrnhut to answer the summons to succeed the late Martin Linner as Chief Elder of the denomination.  Dober had, years earlier, assisted Linner, then the leader of the Single Brothers’ Choir at Herrnhut.  (A choir was a communal group.)

Dober’s successor at St. Thomas was Friedrich Martin (1704-1750), who succeeded, leaving 1,600 baptized people at the time of his death.  He, a bishop from 1748, survived legal obstacles, such as imprisonment for refusing to swear an oath in court and to pay the accompanying fine.  His widow, Maria Barbara Leinbach (1722-1810), married David Nitschmann (1696-1772) in 1754.

Anna Schindler (1713-1739), a native of Kunewald, Moravia, helped Anna Nitschmann (1715-1760) found the Single Sisters’ Choir at Herrnhut in 1730, having lived at the settlement since 1725.  Anna Schindler married Johann Leonhard Dober on July 13, 1737.  He had been the Chief Elder of the Renewed Moravian Church for two years.  In 1738 he and his wife started evangelizing in Amsterdam.  She died at Marienborn, Saxony, on December 12, 1739, a few months short of her twenty-seventh birthday.

Anna wrote at least eighteen hymns, including “Lamb of God, Who Thee Receive” (1735) and “O What Depth of Love and Boundless Grace” (1737).  The translation of the latter hymn from the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969) follows:

O what a depth of love and boundless grace

The gospel light to sinful man displays,

When Christ Himself to us doth manifest,

And we in Him find comfort, peace, and rest!

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When in the soul this blessed truth resounds,

That Christ’s death, for sinners life abounds,

O how doth this fresh the fainting heart,

And bid all anxious doubts and fears depart.

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For sinners without merit of their own

Which could the burden of great guilt atone,

Who no escape from penalty can see,

For such the Lamb of God died on the tree.

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From Him there goes forth virtue, that we may

With confidence to God the Father pray.

And then we shall ourselves to all proclaim

The heirs of God through faith in Jesus’ Name.

Johann Leonhard Dober resigned as Chief Elder at the Synod of 1741.  The job of leading the Moravian Church was too much for one person, he said.  There were also concerns that the Chief Eldership might turn into a Moravian version of the Papacy.  The decision that Jesus Christ would become the Chief Elder of the Moravian Church occurred on September 16, 1741.  The formal announcement of this fact on November 13 of that year has become a commemorated event, the Festival of Christ the Chief Elder.  The General Conference, a three-member committee, became the decision-making body.  Dober did not belong to it.

Dober, a bishop since 1747, traveled widely on church business.  For example, in 1749, when the Church was cleaning up the mess of the “Sifting Time” (1743-1750), centered at Herrnhaag, Dober and Bishop David Nitschmann (1696-1772) visited European Moravian communities as part of the effort.  During his labors Dober also wrote at least twelve hymns, none of which North American Moravian hymnals since 1923 have contained.

Dober died at Herrnhut in 1766.

Here ends the third installment of this series of posts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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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

Martin Dober, Johann Leonhard Dober, and Anna Schindler Dober,

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

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of Johann Nitschmann, Sr., David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic; and David Nitschmann, the Martyr (October 10)   1 comment

Nitschmann-Van Vleck

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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SECOND ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

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JOHANN (OR JOHN) NITSCHMANN, SR. (1703-MAY 6, 1772)

Moravian Missionary and Bishop

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DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC (SEPTEMBER 20, 1703-MARCH 28, 1779)

Moravian Bishop and Missionary

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DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR (DIED APRIL 15, 1729)

Moravian Missionary and Martyr

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The process of researching the Nitschmanns led me through a number of contradictory sources.  I paid close attention to minor details to determine relationships.  There were, for example, four David Nitschmanns (two of whom became bishops) and two Johann (or John) Nitschmanns (both of whom became bishops).  I am not surprised, therefore, that some writers whose work I consulted confused one Johann (or John) Nitschmann with another.  They were contemporaries (one born in 1703 and the other in 1712), after all.  Also, I am aware that, in the age of the Internet, I can gain easy access to more information easily from home than was possible with more effort not long ago.  Even with that ease of access to information I became confused along the way, until I checked details (such as birthplaces and geographical locations of certain people in specific years) again and again.  I admit the possibility that I have made some mistakes or at least arrived at some inaccurate determinations (given the material available to me as well as human imperfection), but I have tried to be as accurate as possible.

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I was able to draw a family tree for the saints I covered in the previous post.  In this post I cover three other Nitschmanns who were also foundational figures in the Renewed Moravian Church.  At least one of them was a distant cousin of the first five Nitschmanns of whom I wrote.  As for the other two Nitschmanns in this post, I do not know, for my searches yielded no such information.

Some of my sources confused the two Johann (or John) Nitschmanns, who were contemporaries and bishops about nine years apart in age.  I have, however, to the best of my knowledge, been able to distinguish one from the other based on details, such as geographical locations in specific years and birthplaces of children.  The previous post contains a summary of the life of Johann Nitschmann, Jr. (1712-1783).  Now Johann Nitschmann, Sr. (1703-1772), gets his turn.

Johann Nitschmann, Sr., was a prominent figure in the early life of the Renewed Moravian Church.  He came from a family of the Bohemian Brethren/Ancient Unity and emigrated to Herrnhut in 1725.  He became a trusted aide to Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), accompanying the Count on a “witness journey” through Switzerland and southern Germany in 1731.  Nitschmann traveled as far as Freiberg, Saxony.  Three years later Nitschmann married Juliana Haberland (1712-1751), one of the original members of thee Single Sisters’ Choir at Herrnhut.  Anna Nitschmann (1713-1760) and Anna Schindler (later Dober) (1713-1739) had founded the Choir in 1730, and the former led it.  (A choir was a communal group.)  Johann and Juliana had a son, Immanuel (1736), who married into the Van Vleck family, which became prominent in the Moravian Church, supplying ministers, bishops, musicians, and composers.  Count Zinzendorf trusted Johann Nitschmann, Sr., so much that he assigned him to supervise young Christian Renatus von Zinzendorf, a student a Jena.  Nitschmann’s other duties involved evangelism in Jena.

David Nitschmann (1696-1772) was a pioneer at Herrnhut.  In fact, three young David Nitschmanns were pioneers at Herrnhut.  A second David Nitschmann who arrived at Herrnhut 1724 was traveling through Austria in 1729 when authorities arrested him.  He died in prison on Good Friday, April 15, 1729.  Moravian Church records refer to him as David Nitschmann, the Martyr.  A third David Nitschmann, who also settled at Herrnhut in 1724, was David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic (1703-1779).  The native of Zauchtenthal , Moravia, was a weaver by trade and a distant cousin of the five Nitschmanns of whom I wrote in the previous post.  David, Jr., was “the Syndic” because his duties included conducting negotiations on behalf of the Renewed Moravian Church.  His first wife, Anna Helena Anders, died in 1734.  Eventually he married a second time, to Rosina Fischer.  The Syndic served as one half of a missionary team to Ceylon from 1739 to 1741.  The other half of that team was a physician, one Dr. Eller.  The two had to return to Herrnhut in 1741 because certain Dutch Reformed clergymen, hostile to the Moravian missionaries, interfered with the mission station.

1741 was an eventful year for the Renewed Moravian Church.  Polycarp Muller and Johann Nitschmann, Sr., became the third and fourth bishops, respectively.  (The David Nitschmann who lived from 1696 to 1772 had become the first bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church in 1735.  Count Zinzendorf had become the second bishop two years later.)  In September 1741 Chief Elder Johann Leonhard Dober (1706-1766) resigned.  The job of leading the Renewed Moravian Church was too much for one person, he said.  There were also concerns that the Chief Eldership might turn into a Moravian Papacy.  The decision of the Synod of 1741 was that Jesus Christ would serve as the Chief Elder and that a three-member committee, the General Conference, would make decisions for the Church.  Two of the original members were the newest bishops.  The third original member was Friedrich von Watteville, who became the fifth bishop in 1743.

The Syndic, a bishop since 1746, served God via the Moravian Church until the end.  The Synod of 1764 reorganized church government, creating three committees:

  1. the Directory, which provided general oversight;
  2. the Board of Syndics, which handled diplomacy and constitutional affairs; and
  3. the Board of Wardens, which handled finances.

The Syndic served, not surprisingly, on the Board of Syndics.  He also traveled widely on official business.  The Syndic died at Zeist, The Netherlands, on March 28, 1779.

Johann Nitschmann, Sr., also continued to serve, sometimes more effectively than others.  From 1749 to 1751 he was the presiding bishop in America.  At that time Nitschmann was, unfortunately, stubborn and strict in his interpretation of his orders from the Directory.  The economy at Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania, suffered as a result.  Before he left America Juliana died on February 22, 1751.  The widower bishop returned to Herrnhut, where he became the pastor.  He died at Zeist, The Netherlands, on May 6, 1772.

These saints served God the best way they knew, devoting their lives to the Almighty.  One died because of that dedication.  They were, for all their human flaws, devout and excellent servants of God.

Here ends the second installment of this series of posts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

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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 Nitschmann, Sr.; David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic; and David Nitschmann, the Martyr;

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

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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