Archive for January 2018

Feast of Sts. Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero, Phanxico Do Van Chieu, and Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrian (June 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Indochina, 1837

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO (DECEMBER 19, 1765-JUNE 25, 1838)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Phunhay, Vietnam, and Martyr

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SAINT PHANXICÔ ÐO VAN CHIEU (CIRCA 1797-JUNE 25, 1838)

Vietnamese Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr

Also known as Saint Francis Chieu

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SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN (NOVEMBER 23, 1761-JULY 12, 1838)

Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr in Vietnam

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Alternative feast day = November 24 (as Martyrs of Vietnam)

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St. Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero spent much of his life in Vietnam.  He, born in Baena, Cordoba, Spain, on December 19, 1765, came from a poor family.  He joined the Dominicans (the Order of Preachers) at Granada, Spain, in 1783.  On September 29, 1785, Henares sailed from Asia.  He arrived in the Philippines on July 9, 1786.  There our saint studied theology at the College of St. Thomas, Manila and became a teacher.  Henares, ordained to the priesthood on September 18, 1790, became an Apostolic Vicar and the Titular Bishop of Fez on September 9, 1800.  From 1893 Henares was the Bishop of Phunhay, Vietnam.

One of his aides was St. Phanhixô Ðo Van Chieu, born in Trung Le, Liên Thùy, Nam Ðinh, Vietnam, circa 1797.  Chieu grew up a Christian.  He served as a catechist and assisted missionary priests.

The third saint was Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrián, born in Villafeliche, Zaragoza, Spain, on November 23, 1761.  He came from a devout family.  In 1780 Cebrián joined the Order of Preachers.  He, later ordained a priest, served as a missionary in the Philippines then in Vietnam.  Cebrián, from 1794 the Titular Bishop of Metellopolis, was, with Henares, an Apostolic Vicar.

Emperor Minh Mang (reigned 1820-1841) considered Christianity to be a threat to Vietnamese culture.  He therefore persecuted Christians, both foreign and domestic.  In 1838, at the beginning of the persecution, authorities arrested our three saints.  Henares and Chieu became martyrs (by beheading) on June 25, 1838.  Cebrián and several other Dominicans hid in a cave until May 13, 1838, when, after a betrayal, they became prisoners.  Cebrián spent his final weeks in a public cage, subject to abuse.  He died of thirst, hunger, and exposure to elements on July 12, 1838.

The Roman Catholic Church has recognized these saints.  Pope Leo XIII declared them Venerables in 1799 then Blesseds the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized them in 1988.

Minh Mang’s policy of persecuting Christians failed to eliminate Christianity in Vietnam, obviously and fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT AND HIS PUPIL, SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the hearts of your holy martyrs

Saint Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero,

Saint Phanxicô Ðo Van Chieu, and

Saint Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrián:

Grant to us, your humble servants a like faith, and power of love,

that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their examples;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 715

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Feast of Desiderius Erasmus, St. John Fisher, and St. Thomas More (June 22)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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DESIDERIUS ERASMUS ROTERDAMUS (OCTOBER 1466-JULY 12, 1536)

Dutch Roman Catholic Priest, Biblical and Classical Scholar, and Controversialist

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SAINT JOHN FISHER (1469-JUNE 22, 1535)

English Roman Catholic Classical Scholar, Bishop of Rochester, Cardinal, and Martyr

Alternative feast day = July 6 (The Church of England)

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SAINT THOMAS MORE (FEBRUARY 7, 1487-JULY 6, 1535)

English Roman Catholic Classical Scholar, Jurist, Theologian, Controversialist, and Martyr

Alternative feast day = December 1 (as one of the Martyrs of Oxford University)

Alternative feast day = July 6 (The Church of England)

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A TRIPLE BIOGRAPHY OF THREE GREAT MEN

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On the Roman Catholic calendar the feasts of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More fall on June 22.  They also share a feast day (July 6) in The Church of England.  To their commemoration at this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I add their friend and colleague, Desiderius Erasmus.

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THE EARLY LIFE OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS

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Above:  Portrait of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam with Renaissance Pilaster, by Hans Holbein the Younger

Image in the Public Domain

Desiderius Erasmus, a great scholar and historically influential man, was a native of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  He, born in 1466, was a son of a priest and the brother of Peter.  After Gerard, the father, died, guardians directed the educations of Desiderius and Peter.  After Peter became a monk at a monastery near Delft our saint joined the Augustinian order.  Erasmus, ordained to the priesthood on April 25, 1492, left the monastery in 1494 and pursued his scholarly work in the world.

Erasmus was a Christian Humanist in the style of the Northern Renaissance.  As such he objected to the dogmatic theology he encountered at the University of Paris.  In Paris our saint became a teacher and began writing.  Apparently Erasmus had a distinctive speaking style, for William Tyndale (1494-1536) described our saint as one

whose tongue maketh of little gnats great elephants, and laudeth up above the skies, whosoever giveth him a little exhibition.

Erasmus, whose English patrons included St. John Fisher and disciples included St. Thomas More (whom he met in 1497), visited England periodically, starting in 1499-1500.  Erasmus thought, despite the cumulative time he spent in England, that the weather and beer there were bad, and that More was the only genius in the realm.

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THE EARLY LIFE OF SAINT THOMAS MORE

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Above:  Sir Thomas More, by Hans Holbein the Younger

Image in the Public Domain

St. Thomas More was a jurist and a classical scholar.  He, born in London on February 7, 1487, was a son of Sir John More, a judge.  Our saint, educated at St. Anthony’s School, Threadneedle Street, London, then in the household of Archbishop of Canterbury John Morton, continued his studies at Oxford University before studying law at New Inn (1494-1496) then Lincoln’s Inn (1496f).  More was a reader at Furnival’s Inn then butler at Lincoln’s Inn (as his father had been) in 1507.  Our saint was also reader at Lincoln’s Inn in 1511 and 1515.

Meanwhile More was studying theology and Latin and Greek literature.  He met Erasmus, his longtime friend, in 1497.  More also translated classical works into English and composed English poetry.

More was a devout man.  For about four years he had lived at the London Charterhouse.  Although he never took monastic vows, he learned certain lifelong austere habits.  More did make wedding vows, however.  In 1505 he married Jane Colt (d. 1511).  The couple had four children.  His second wife was Alice Middleton, a widow.  Her daughter became part of the blended family.  More was a pioneer in the education of women in England, for his daughters were well-educated people.

More was a longtime Member of Parliament and a negotiator.  He, the Undersheriff of London (1510-1518), was also an officer in various companies.  In various capacities he settled disputes in England and France through 1529.

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THE EARLY LIFE OF SAINT JOHN FISHER

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Above:  John Fisher, by Hans Holbein the Younger

Image in the Public Domain

St. John Fisher was a scholar and a priest.  He, born in Beverley, Yorkshire, England, in 1469, graduated from Cambridge University in 1487 and 1491.  He, ordained a priest in 1491, served as a parish priest in Northallerton from 1491 to 1494.  Fisher, a tutor to the young Henry VIII (born in 1491; reigned from 1509 to 1547), was, from 1497, the confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), mother of King Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509).  At Fisher’s urging she founded readerships in divinity at Oxford and Cambridge (1503) then at Christ’s College, Cambridge (1505).  Fisher, the Vice-Chancellor (1501-1504) then Chancellor (1504-1534) of Cambridge University and Bishop of Rochester (1504-1534), for all intents and purposes founded St. John’s College, Cambridge, for which he hired Erasmus as Lecturer in Greek in 1511.  As a bishop Fisher was also devoted to his diocese–unusually so, by the standards of the period.

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ERASMUS THE BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

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Erasmus was a classical scholar and a man of letters. His volumes (1516-1536) on various Church Fathers were masterpieces of scholarship.  Or saint spent much time on St. Jerome (347-419) and his works in particular.  In 1504 Erasmus commenced his work on the Greek New Testament.  The influential volume, published in 1516, was epoch-making.  Our saint, who prioritized Patristic sources and the best Greek texts available to him, was more reliable than St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate.  Erasmus dedicated the work to Pope Leo X.  The Holy Father accepted the dedication, but some powerful factions in the Church opposed the scholarly work.  Martin Luther, however, admired it.

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SAINT THOMAS MORE, 1514-1532

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St. Thomas More, a devout man and a gentle father, was also an influential writer, a statesman, and a controversialist.  The author of Utopia (1515-1516) produced many other works, including The History of Richard III (1514), which influenced William Shakespeare’s treatment of the monarch.  More held a series of positions in the 1520s.  He was, for example, the Speaker of the House of Commons and a Justice of the Peace from 1523.  The following year he became a High Steward of Oxford University.  In 1525 he became a High Steward of Cambridge University and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.  Then, from 1529 to 1532, he served as the Lord Chancellor.

The position of Lord Chancellor, although of high rank, was still one of a royal servant.  The position increased More’s wealth.  He gave more to charity.  The duties of the job also required More to present the royal position to the House of Lords, even when this left him with an uneasy conscience, as in the “King’s great matter” involving Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.  Our saint, citing health concerns, resigned in 1532.

More was a devout Roman Catholic who considered Protestantism heretical.  In 1525 and 1526 he wrote German Lutheran theologian Johannes Bugenhagen (1485-1558) in defense of papal authority.  More abhorred both Protestantism and violence.  As much as More argued with and prayed for the conversion of his Lutheran son-in-law, William Roper, Roper recalled never seeing his father-in-law “in a fume.”

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SAINT JOHN FISHER, 1511-1533

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St. John Fisher, a devout Roman Catholic, honored God in various ways.  A devout and simple life was a moral imperative, he preached, to the consternation of some powerful men.  Fisher also honored God with his intellect.  The great man, who undertook the study of Greek at the age of 50 years, encouraged the study of Hebrew at Cambridge University.  Like More, Fisher considered Protestantism heretical, and argued vigorously against it and for Roman Catholicism.

Fisher also opposed the interference of the state in ecclesiastical affairs.  He, a consistent defender of Queen Catherine of Aragon, starting in 1527, opposed the annulment of that marriage as well as the granting to Henry VIII the title of Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy of England.

Fisher’s conscience was about to lead him to his martyrdom.

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THE MARTYRDOM OF SAINTS JOHN FISHER AND THOMAS MORE

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More and Fisher opposed the Act of Supremacy (1534).  Thus, on April 13, 1534, when summoned, both men refused to swear an oath accepting the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, recognizing the succession of their issue, and repudiating papal authority.  Their refusal was officially treasonous.  From April 17, 1534, to the end of their lives they were prisoners in the Tower of London.  The circumstances of their incarceration were inhumane.

Pope Paul III created Fisher a Cardinal on May 20, 1535.  The infuriated Henry VIII, referring to a Cardinal’s red hat, said,

Mother of God!  He shall wear it on his shoulders, for I will leave him never ahead to set it on.

Fisher, tried and sentenced to death on June 17, 1535, died via beheading at Tower Hill, London, five days later.

More wrote in prison.  He began and completed A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulacyon (1534), in which he also argued against the idea that any head of state can dictate religious belief.  More also began a treatise on the Passion of Jesus, but his jailers did not permit him to famish it.  Our saint, tried on July 1, 1535, died via beheading at Tower Hill five days later.

The Roman Catholic Church has recognized these saints.  Pope Leo XIII beatified them in 1886.  Pope Pius XI canonized them in 1935.

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ERASMUS AND THE CHURCH

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Erasmus was a devout Roman Catholic from his cradle to his grave.  Nevertheless, he had both admirers and detractors in Protestant and Roman Catholic circles.  Furthermore, Erasmus was openly critical of some aspects of an powerful people in Holy Mother Church.  For example, he wrote anonymously then denied having written Julius Exclusus (1514), a satire about the late Pope Julius II (in office 1503-1513) attempting to gain entry into Heaven.  Julius II deserved strong criticism, for he was, in the words of scholar J. N. D. Kelly,

a forceful ruler, ruthless and violent.

The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (1986), page 255

Erasmus criticized certain Popes, but not the Papacy.  He condemned abuses in the Church, but not the Church itself.  He avoided committing schism, although some especially defensive Catholics accused him of being worse than Martin Luther, who did commit schism, albeit only after the Church forced the matter.  In fact, Luther and Erasmus, who never met, carried on a literary debate.  Furthermore, Erasmus was critical of more than one Protestant Reformer.

Erasmus, more at home at Basel, Switzerland, than anywhere else, lived there in 1514-1517, 1521-1529, and 1536.  At the end of his life Erasmus really became a Cardinal, but he died at Basel on July 12, 1536, instead.  His heir, Boniface Amerbach, wrote of the great man’s passing:

As was his life, so was the death of this most upright of men.  Most holy was his living, most holy was his dying.

The last words of Erasmus, in Dutch, were:

Dear God.

After his death the Church added his writings to the Index of Forbidden Books.

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CONCLUSION

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These three saints of God were scholars, friends, and colleagues.  They left the world better than they found it and entrusted it with their intellects and piety.  Two of these men died rather than betray their consciences and, they believed, God.  Erasmus also remained faithful to God, as he understood God.  All of these men did this nonviolently.

As I have prepared this post, I have arrived at another conclusion:  I like Erasmus most of all.  The punchiness of his personality has appealed to part of my personality.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT AND HIS PUPIL, SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of Desiderius Erasmus, Saint John Fisher, and Saint Thomas More,

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 St. Paulinus of Nola (June 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Paulinus of Nola

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MEROPIUS PONTIUS ANACIUS PAULINUS (CIRCA 354-JUNE 22, 431)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Nola

St. Paulinus of Nola and his wife Therasia did much to help the poor, especially of Nola, Italy.

St. Paulinus and his wife were initially pagans.  Our saint, born in Buridigala, Gaul (now Bordeaux, France), circa 354, came from a prominent and wealthy family.  He became a lawyer and a Roman imperial official.  After he left public service the couple retired to Buridigala.  Later they moved to Therasia’s estate at Alcala de Henares, Spain.  There they welcomed their only son into the world.  There they also grieved after he died about a week after his birth.

In the wake of their son’s death St. Paulinus and Therasia converted to Christianity and dedicated their lives to God.  St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Delphinus of Bordeaux (d. 403), the Bishop of Buridigala, facilitated the conversions and baptisms in 392.  St. Paulinus and Therasia sold or gave away most of their wealth and embarked on their new lives.

St. Paulinus became a clergyman.  He, ordained a priest in Barcelona in 394, moved to Nola, Italy, where he and Therasia helped poor people.  In 409 our saint, by then a widower, became the Bishop of Nola by popular demand; he served for the rest of his life.  He lived as a monk at home.

St. Paulinus, a prolific writer, composed one of the oldest surviving Christian wedding songs.

St. Paulinus had a group of prominent friends.  They included Emperor Theodosius I “the Great” (reigned 379-395), Pope St. Anastasius I (in office 399-401), St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Nicetas of Remesiana, St. Martin of Tours, and St. Jerome.  The glue of Christian faith held them together.

St. Paulinus died at Nola on June 22, 431.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT AND HIS PUPIL, SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Heavenly Gather, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Saint Paulinus of Nola,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718

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Feast of St. Alban (June 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Alban

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ALBAN (DIED CIRCA 209 OR 305)

First British Martyr

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The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ.  This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of baptism without being a sacrament.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), paragraph 1258

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Albanum egregium fecundia Britannia profert.

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In fertile Britain’s land

was noble Alban born.

–St. Venantius Honorius Clementius Fortunatus (circa 530-circa 610)

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The traditional year of the martyrdom of St. Alban was circa 305.  More recent scholarship has preferred 209 or so, however.

St. Alban was a convert to Christianity and the first British martyr.  He, born and raised a pagan at Verulamium (now St. Albans, England), sheltered a fugitive priest for a few days.  During that time the priest converted our saint to Christianity.  When the Roman soldiers seeking the priest searched St. Alban’s home, they found our saint, wearing the priest’s cloak.  The priest was elsewhere.  The soldiers arrested St. Alban.  At his trial he admitted to sheltering the priest and to being a Christian.  The judge sentenced St. Alban to death.  During the process of becoming a martyr our saint, by his conduct, converted two of his would-be executioners, Aaron and Julius, who also became martyrs shortly thereafter.  According to tradition, soldiers caught up with the priest, whom they stoned to death at Redbourn a few days after the capture of St. Alban.

Were the sacrifices of Sts. Alban, Aaron, and Julius worthwhile?  Yes, they were.  These men demonstrated great courage as well as fidelity to God during their brief periods of being Christians.  They were more committed Christians for the few days of their Christian lives than many longterm Christians have been.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Alban

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9

Psalm 31:1-5

1 John 3:13-16

Matthew 10:34-42

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 435

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Feast of Rufus Jones (June 16)   1 comment

Above:  Rufus Jones

Image in the Public Domain

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RUFUS MATTHEW JONES (JANUARY 25, 1863-JUNE 16, 1948)

U.S. Quaker Theologian and Cofounder of the American Friends Service Committee

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This child will one day bear the message of the gospel to distant lands and to people across the sea.

–Peace Jones, aunt of Rufus Jones, speaking of her newborn nephew

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Rufus Matthew Jones did just that.  He, born in South China, Maine, on January 25, 1863, was a son of Edwin Jones and Mary Gifford Hoxie Jones.  Our saint grew up in a Quaker family.  He was a diligent scholar from an early age, studying first in a one-room village school, eventually transferring to Oak Grove Seminary (in nearby Vassalboro, Maine), then attending Providence Friends School (in Rhode Island).  After graduating from Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, in 1885, Jones taught at Oakwood Seminary, Union Springs, New York.  In 1886-1887 our saint studied at Heidelberg University, in Germany.  Next, in 1887, Jones became a teacher at Providence Friends School.  Two years later he began to serve as the principal of Oak Grove Seminary, Vassalboro.  Then, from 1893 to 1934, our saint taught psychology and philosophy at Haverford College.  Howard Thurman was one of his pupils.

Jones was a philosopher, historian, mystic, prolific writer, and agent of social reform.  In 1915 he helped to found the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  Two years later he and Henry founded the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).  The AFSC’s initial purpose was to help conscientious objectors serve in non-combat roles, such as driving ambulances, during World War I.  The AFSC, of which Jones served as chair until 1928 and again in 1935-1936, became a relief and humanitarian agency after the Great War.  Its good works included feeding many Germans after the alleged war to end all wars and helping Jewish refugees in the 1930s.

Jones, husband first of Sarah Coutant (from 1888 to 1899), who died of tuberculosis, then of Elizabeth Cadbury (1902f), was an advocate of Quaker unity.  He used his position as the Editor of the Friends Review (1893-1894)/The American Friend (1894-1912) to work toward this goal.  The AFSC, with its inter-Quaker cooperation, also served this ecumenical purpose.  The organic union of Yearly Meetings across Orthodox, Conservative, and Hicksite lines, or combinations of two of the three, started after Jones died, however.  The various New York, Ohio, and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings merged into composite New York, Ohio, and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings in 1955.  The consolidation of the Baltimore Yearly Meetings followed in 1968.

Jones, a man committed to Christian missions, was not hostile to other religions.  In 1927, while traveling in Asia, he met with Mohandas Gandhi.  Later during that trip our saint spoke to the World Missionary Conference at Jerusalem.  He encouraged delegates, while supporting evangelism, to recognize the positive elements in other religions.

Jones advocated for German Jews in the 1930s.  In 1938, after the Kristallnacht, our saint was one-third of a Quaker delegation that visited the headquarters of the Gestapo.  The humanitarian Quakers, using the AFSC’s track record of feeding many otherwise-starving Germans after World War I, negotiated with Reinhard Heydrich, later an architect of, as the Third Reich put it creepily, “the final solution to the Jewish problem,” the “Jewish problem” being that Jews were alive.  The Quaker visitors received permission to send relief aid for Jews and to aid and abet the emigration of many Jews, thereby saving lives.

Jones, who was on the Modernist side of Quaker theology, spent his final years as he had spent his previous ones–living out Quaker values.  He represented the AFSC at the Nobel Prize ceremony in 1947, when the organization won the Peace Prize.  (A Quaker organization winning the Nobel Peace Prize is logical.)  He died, aged 85 years, at Haverford, Pennsylvania, on June 16, 1948.

The American Friends Service Committee and the Fellowship of Reconciliation continue in work of which Jones would approve–creating peace, advocating for immigrants and refugees, opposing discrimination, working for economic justice, et cetera–in other words, loving one’s neighbors as one loves oneself.  That sounds Christian to me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIACH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of St. Methodius I of Constantinople and St. Joseph the Hymnographer (June 14)   1 comment

Above:  The Expansion of Islam, 700-900

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (Philadelphia, PA:  The Publishers Agency, Inc., 1957), H-11

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SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE (LATE 700S-847)

Defender of Icons and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

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SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER (LATE 700S-886)

Defender of Icons and the “Sweet-Voiced Nightingale of the Church”

Alternative feast day = April 3

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Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

–Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées

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A DUAL BIOGRAPHY OF ALMOST CERTAINLY THREE MEN

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On the Roman Catholic calendar Sts. Methodius I of Constantinople and Joseph the Hymnographer, contemporaries, share a feast day yet not a feast.  My process of preparing this post reveals that the fact they their stories contain many of the same background characters, however, so merging the feasts is efficient and feasible.

FROM SICILY TO ROME

Above:  St. Methodius I of Constantinople

Image in the Public Domain

St. Methodius I, born in Syracuse, Sicily, in the late 700s, came from a wealthy family.  He, educated in Syracuse, traveled to Constantinople for the purpose of seeking a position in the Byzantine imperial court.  He founded a monastery on the island of Chinos and supervised construction of that monastery instead.  St. Methodius I left Chinos soon after the the completion of the construction of that monastery, for St. Nicephorus I, from 806 to 815 the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, summoned him to the imperial capital and appointed him the apokrisiares, or church advocate, during the reign (813-820) of the Iconoclastic Emperor Leo V the Armenian.

Above:  St. Joseph the Hymnographer

Image in the Public Domain

St. Joseph the Hymnographer, frequently and perhaps hopelessly confused by many hagiographers with St. Joseph of Thessalonica, brother of St. Theodore Studites, also made his way to Constantinople.  St. Joseph the Hymnographer, born on the island of Sicily in the late 700s, came from a Christian family.  His parents were Plotinos and Agatha.  He moved to Thessalonica, where he became a monk.  There St. Gregory the Dekapolite, also a defender of icons, met our saint, whom he took to the imperial capital during the reign (813-820) of Leo V the Armenian.

IN ROME

St. Nicephorus I sent St. Methodius I on a mission to Rome.  During that time Leo the Armenian dismissed the Ecumenical Patriarch and exiled the absent St. Methodius I.

St. Gregory also sent St. Joseph to Rome, to deliver a message to Pope Leo III (in office 795-816).  St. Joseph remained in Rome for years.

BACK TO CONSTANTINOPLE

Both of our featured saints returned to Constantinople after Leo the Armenian died in 820 and during the reign (820-829) of Emperor Michael II the Stammerer.  Although Michael II initially halted the Iconclastic persecution and freed the political prisoners, he eventually resumed the persecution and imprisoned St. Methodius I, who had continued to resist Iconoclasm.  St. Joseph, a priest by this time, was back in the imperial capital also.  There he founded a church and an associated monastery.  In his absence St. Gregory had died.  St. Joseph transferred relics of his mentor to the new church.

THE REIGN OF THE EMPEROR THEOPHILUS (829-842)

The next ruler was Theophilus (reigned 829-842), an Iconclast.  The Emperor freed St. Methodius I, who persisted in resisting Iconoclasm.  Theophilus tolerated this until he became convinced that leniency toward St. Methodius I angered God, who supposedly punished the empire with defeats to Arab armies.  So, in 835, the Emperor ordered the arrest and torture of St. Methodius I, who had retorted that God was angry not over the veneration of icons but the destruction of them.  Byzantine guards broke St. Methodius I’s jaw and permanently scarred his face.  They also kept him incarcerated with two robbers in a cave on the island of Antigonus for seven years.

St. Joseph also resisted the Iconclastic policy of Theophilus.  Our saint therefore spent eleven years in exile in the Cheronese, in Crimea.

EXIT SAINT METHODIUS I

The reign of Emperor Michael III the Drunkard spanned from 842 to 867.  Until 856, however, the regent was his mother, the Empress Theodora.  She ordered defenders of icons freed.  The Empress also elevated St. Methodius I to the office of Ecumenical Patriarch.  In that capacity he presided over the church council that restored the veneration of icons.  He lived peacefully during his final years, dying in 847.

St. Methodius I also wrote some hymns.

EXIT SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER

St. Joseph’s fortunes under Theodora were mixed.  In 842 she made him the keeper of the sacred vessels at the Church of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople.  He had to go into exiles again, however, due to the political consequences of his condemnation of the cohabitation of Bardas, brother of Theodora.  St. Joseph returned from exile in 867, after the death of Bardas.

St. Joseph, back in Constantinople, ended his days as the Father-confessor for all priests in the city.  He died in 886.

St. Joseph wrote about 1000 hymns and liturgical poems of the Orthodox Church.  Some of them have come to exist in English-language translations, in hymnals of various denominations, usually Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, and Presbyterian.

THE MATTER OF CHRONOLOGY; OR, PEOPLE LEAD THEIR LIVES FORWARD, NOT BACKWARD

I have endeavored to write as accurately as possible.  As I have mentioned, hagiographers have long confused St. Joseph the Hymnographer with St. Joseph of Thessalonica.  This fact has complicated my task.  Even Orthodox Church resources I have consulted have offered untrustworthy information.  I have discerned some of this via simple mathematics.  According to some sources, the birth of St. Joseph the Hymnographer occurred in 816 and his family fled Sicily when he was 15 years old (in 831), due to the Arab invasion.  Also according to these sources, some years later St. Joseph arrived in Constantinople and carried a message to the Pope during the reign of Emperor Leo V the Armenian.  The reign of Leo the Armenian was 813-820, however.  ST. JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER DID NOT MOVE BACKWARD IN TIME.  I have also read of mutually exclusive exiles of St. Joseph during the reign of the Emperor Theophilus.  I have utilized Ockham’s Razor when making decisions about what to write.

I acknowledge readily, O reader, that my biography of St. Joseph the Hymnographer almost certainly contains elements of the life of St. Joseph of Thessalonica instead, due to the sources available to me.

CONCLUSION

Sts. Methodius I of Constantinople and Joseph the Hymnographer were faithful servants of God who suffered for their faith, due to imperial politics.  Their legacies have survived, fortunately.  The Orthodox Church has continued to venerate icons.  Also, many Christians, in their successive generations, to the present day, have sung hymns by St. Joseph.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIACH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Saints Methodius I of Constantinople and Joseph the Hymnographer,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our won day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Enmegahbowh (June 12)   2 comments

Above:  Enmegahbowh

Image in the Public Domain

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ENMEGAHBOWH (1807/1813-JUNE 11/12, 1902)

Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Ojibwa Nation

Also known as John Johnson

One route to a calendar of saints is to be the first person to do something.  Thus we come to case of Enmegahbowh, the first Native American to become an Episcopal priest, in 1867.  He was not, however, the first Native American to become a priest in the Anglican Communion; that man was Sakachuwescum, also known as Henry Budd, a Canadian Cree, in 1850.

Enmegahbowh, literally “the One who Stands Before his People,” was also from Canada.  He, born at Rice Lake, Ontario, in 1807 or 1813 (depending on the official Episcopal Church resource one consults), was Odawa (Ottawa)-Ojibwa/Chippewa.  He grew up a Christian, and a Methodist minister baptized him as John Johnson.  In 1832 our saint, then a Methodist missionary, arrived in the United States.  Eventually he attempted to return to Canada, but a storm on Lake Superior and a vision of Jonah stopped him.

Enmegahbowh became an Episcopalian in time, after receiving a copy of The Book of Common Prayer prior to 1850.  Eventually me met James Lloyd Breck, with whom he founded St. Columba’s Mission, Gull Lake, Minnesota.  Enmegahbown was a peacemaker.  The way he pursued that calling made him persona non grata among many Ojibwa/Chippewa for a time, but he did facilitate peace between the Dakota and the Ojibwa/Chippewa, in 1869.  Our saint, a missionary to the Ojibwa/Chippewa, became an Episcopal deacon (by the hands of Bishop Jackson Kemper) in 1859 then a priest (by the hands of Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple of Minnesota) in 1867.  Enmegahbowh ministered at the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota until his death on June 11 or 12 (depending on the official Episcopal Church resource one consults), 1902.

Certainly part of Enmegahbowh’s legacy is the active presence of The Episcopal Church among indigenous peoples in Minnesota.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIACH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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Almighty God, you led your pilgrim people of old with fire and cloud:

Grant that the ministers of your Church, following the example of blessed Enmegahbowh,

may stand before your holy people, leading them with fiery zeal and gentle humility.

This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with

you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 129

1 Peter 5:1-4

Luke 6:17-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 423

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