Feast of Isabel Florence Hapgood (June 26)   1 comment

Above:  Isabel Florence Hapgood

Image in the Public Domain

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ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD (NOVEMBER 21, 1851-JUNE 26, 1928)

U.S. Journalist, Translator, and Ecumenist

Isabel Florence Hapgood had a gift for languages.  She used it well.  Our saint, born to a wealthy family of Boston, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1851, was an Episcopalian from cradle to grave.  From 1855 to 1881 she grew up in the family home in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Hapgood, educated at private schools in Worcester then in Farmington, Connecticut, had demonstrated her linguistic abilities before she graduated from Miss Proctor’s School, Farmington, in 1868, the year her father, Asa, died.  During the next ten years Hapgood studied Germanic languages, Romance languages, Polish, Russian, and Church Slavonic; she had already mastered French and Latin.  In 1885 she published The Epic Songs of Russia, her first book of translations from Russian.  Many more volumes, mostly of translations from Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, Polish, Dutch, and Portuguese, followed.  Hapgood made many works of literature written in foreign languages available to English-language readers.

From 1887 to 1917 Hapgood visited Russia frequently.  She, fluent in conversational Russian, befriended many important people, including luminaries of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as Leo Tolstoy, some of whose works she translated into Russian.  In 1891 and 1892 she helped him raise funds in the United States to help victims of a famine in Russia.  Our saint, who understood the value of proper liturgy and good liturgical singing, helped to organize the choir of the new St. Nicholas Cathedral, New York City, in 1903.  Her liturgical masterpiece, which she translated with the permission of Orthodox bishops in North America, was the Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic (Greco-Russian) Church (first edition, 1906), about which St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925), then the Bishop of the Aleutians, was enthusiastic.  The Russian Revolutions of 1917 halted Hapgood’s visits to Russia, so she helped Russians who had fled their homeland and assisted others in getting out.

Hapgood was also a journalist.  She was a foreign correspondent for The Nation and The New York Evening Post.  Our saint also contributed to The New York Times, Harper’s Weekly, The Century, and The Atlantic Monthly.

Hapgood died in New York City on June 26, 1928.  She was 76 years old.

The Episcopal Church added Hapgood, respected in the Orthodox Church, to the denominational calendar of saints at the General Convention of 2009.  This was just, for her work of translating the Divine Liturgy into English facilitated Anglican-Eastern Orthodox dialogues.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 5, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF JAPAN, 1597-1639

THE FEAST OF SAINT AVITUS OF VIANNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE (JOAN) OF VALOIS, COFOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF THE ANNUNCIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILEAS AND PHILOROMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Loving God, we thank you for the work and witness of Isabel Florence Hapgood:

Guide us as we persevere in the reconciliation of all people, that we may be one in Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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Loving God, we thank you for the work and witness of Isabel Florence Hapgood,

who introduced the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church to English-speaking Christians,

and encouraged dialogue between Anglicans and Orthodox.

Guide us as we build on the foundation that she gave us,

that all may be one in Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, to the ages of ages.  Amen.

Isaiah 6:1-5

Psalm 24

Revelation 5:8-14

John 17:17-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 441

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One response to “Feast of Isabel Florence Hapgood (June 26)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of St. Raphael of Brooklyn (February 27) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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