Feast of Peter Mortimer and Gottfried Theodor Erxleben (December 1)   Leave a comment

Moravian Logo

Above:  Logo of the Moravian Church

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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PETER MORTIMER (DECEMBER 5, 1750-JANUARY 8, 1828)

Anglo-German Moravian Educator, Musician, and Scholar

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GOTTFRIED THEODOR ERXLEBEN (JUNE 15, 1849-DECEMBER 21, 1931)

German Moravian Minister and Musicologist

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With this post I add to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days two saints on whom I found little information yet whose scholarship and faithfulness to God improved the lives of people during their lifetimes and continues as their legacies.

Peter Mortimer (1750-1828), born in England, spent most of his life in German states.  When he was a boy his family sent him to the Moravian school at Niesky.  Our saint remained in Germany for the remainder of his days.  He served various congregations as a teacher, an organist, and a secretary.  Mortimer also devoted time to researching and writing in the fields of music and church history.  His magnum opus was Der Choral-Gesang, zur zeit der Reformation (1821), in which he argued that Protestant choral melodies come from Greek modes.  Mortimer died at Herrnhut, Saxony, on January 8, 1828.

Gottfried Theodor Erxleben (1849-1931) was a minister and musicologist.  The German parson served at congregations in Silesia and Russia.  He also directed the teacher training program at the school at Niesky.  His magnun opus was Die Kleine Choralkunde, which he prepared during his retirement.  The 153-page manuscript contained notes on texts and tunes, with citation of the opening measures of said tunes.

These saints’ interest in music was consistent with the high premium the Moravian Church, at its best, places on good music in church.  It was also consistent with the Moravian ethic of recognizing the sacred in the seemingly secular.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILL CAMPBELL, AGENT OF RECONCILIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT LIPHARDUS OF ORLEANS AND URBICIUS OF MEUNG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MORAND OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND MISSIONARY

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of

[Peter Mortimer, Gottfried Theodor Erxleben, 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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