Feast of Elie Naud (September 7)   Leave a comment

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

Above:  Seal of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIE NAUD, A.K.A. ELIAS NEAU (1661/1662-SEPTEMBER 7, 1722)

Huguenot Witness to the Faith

We who enjoy the blessing of religious toleration are more fortunate than Elie Naud, also known as Elias Neau, was for part of his life.  He was a Huguenot, a member of the Reformed Church of France.  (Aside:  the “t” in “Huguenot” is properly silent, and the “h” is almost silent, according to the rules of French pronunciation.  My tongue, trained to speak English, is incapable of pronouncing that French”h” correctly.)  King Henri IV had issued the Edict of Nantes, granting religious liberty and civil rights to Protestants, in April 1598.  King Louis XIII rescinded the edict on October 18, 1685, making being a Protestant in France a criminal offense.  Even prior to that date, however, being a French Protestant could be dangerous.   Hence, in 1679 Naud fled France for the West Indies.  Eventually he settled in the City of New York, in the British Empire.

Naud’s troubles had not ended.  During the early years of his residence in New York he traveled to Europe and back to the colony for the purpose of raising funds for Huguenot causes.   For his steadfastness of faith Naud spent two years in the infamous island fortress-prison of Chateau d’If, near Marseilles.  On another occasion, in the 1690s, he received a life sentence to be a galley slave, but obviously did not spend the rest of his life in that manner.

Naud, back in New York City, worked among slaves and indigenous people as a catechist and a missioner of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.  Our saint, who joined Trinity Church, Wall Street, then L’Eglise du Saint-Espirit, a francophone parish, opened his catechetical school in 1704.  He had to overcome obstacles, such as racism and fear, especially in the aftermath of the slave riot of 1712.  Yet Naud persevered and succeeded.  He also worked successfully for the colonial government to pass a law permitting the religious instruction of slaves in 1706.

Others carried on Naud’s work after he died in New York City on September 7, 1722.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BASIL THE GREAT, FATHER OF EASTERN MONASTICISM

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY, ENGLISH POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HANS ADOLF BRORSON, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCH

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Blessed God, whose Son Jesus calmed the waves and knelt to serve his disciples:

We honor you for the witness of the Huguenot Elie Naud,

remembered as Mystic of the Galleys and Servant of Slaves;

and we pray that we, with him, may proclaim Christ in suffering and joy alike,

and call others to join us in ministry to those littlest and least,

following Jesus who came not to be ministered to but to minister;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

Daniel 6:10b-16, 19-23

Psalm 30

James 1:2-4, 12a

Matthew 15:21-28

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 565

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