Feast of John Coleridge Patteson and His Companions (September 20)   3 comments

Above:  Map of New Zealand and Melanesia, 1958

Image Scanned and Cropped from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1958)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JOHN COLERDIGE PATTESON (APRIL 1, 1827-SEPTEMBER 20, 1871)

Anglican Bishop of Melanesia, and Martyr, 1871

worked with

JOSEPH ATKIN (DIED SEPTEMBER 27, 1871)

Anglican Priest, and Martyr, 1871

worked with

STEPHEN TARONIARA (CIRCA 1845-SEPTEMBER 20, 1871)

Anglican Missionary and Martyr, 1871

John Coleridge Patteson, born into a wealthy family in London on April 1, 1827, could have led a comfortable life.  He, educated at Eton and at Oxford University, mastered the Hebrew and Arabic languages.  Our saint, ordained to the Anglican diaconate in 1853 and priesthood the following year,chose to become a missionary to Melanesia.

George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878) was the Anglican Bishop of New Zealand (1841-1858) then Primate of New Zealand (1858-1868).  He was one of the great missionary bishops in the Anglican Communion.  Patteson arrived in New Zealand and began to work under Selwyn’s jurisdiction in 1855.  Two years later he became the leader of the Melanesian Mission.  Then, on February 24, 1861, Selwyn consecrated Patteson the first Bishop of Melanesia.

Selwyn had created a particular missionary system, which Patteson inherited.  Young men and women from Pacific islands studied at St. John’s School, the Melanesian Mission’s institution in Auckland, New Zealand, for the summer then returned home.  The hope was that they would provide Christian influence in their communities.  Experience proved that it was an ineffective strategy.  As Patteson insisted, missionary work in indigenous languages was necessary.

Above:  Map Showing the Solomon Islands

Stephen Taroniara, born circa 1845, was a native of Makira/San Cristobal, in the Solomon Islands.  In the middle 1850s Selwyn had taken him to St. John’s School, Auckland, numerous summers, encountering Patteson.  Back home on Makira/San Cristobal, Taroniara had married one Sumarua, with whom he had a child, Paraiteku.  When our saint retured to Auckland in 1864, he had to do so without his family, for his wife’s relatives refused to permit her to travel to Auckland.

Above:  Map Showing Norfolk Island

Meanwhile, Patterson was establishing new schools, to share the Gospel with Melanesians.  One of these institutions was on Norfolk Island, starting in 1867.  He sought to educate Melanesian men as priests, with the ultimate goal of having Melanesian bishops.  Taroniara, baptized on July 19, 1868, and confirmed on Easter Day 1869, became the first native of the Solomon Islands to receive the Anglican Eucharist.  He, having lost both his child and first wife, due to his in-laws giving his first wife in marriage to another man, had relocated to Norfolk Island with his second wife, Tori (from Sa’a) and her daughter, Rosa.  At Norfolk Island Taroniara studied for the priesthood, and was due for ordination in late 1871.

Missionaries have frequently defended indigenous people from those with powerful economic incentives to exploit their fellow human beings.  In the middle 1700s, for example, Jesuits in South America risked their lives to protect Indians from slavers.  Many Jesuits died while doing so.  In Melanesia, in the middle and late 1800s, many missionaries put their lives at risk to protect natives from entrepreneurs in Fiji and Australia seeking indentured servants to exploit.  Some of these unscrupulous businessmen used the names of missionaries to lure victims.

On August 25, 1871, Patterson, Taroniara, and a priest, Joseph Atkin, left for a missionary tour.  Atkin, from New Zealand, had been a member of the Melanesian Mission since 1863 and both a priest and a missionary to Makira/San Cristobal since 1869.  The traveling companions were visiting the island of Nakapu (in the Santa Cruz group in the Solomon Islands, when natives attacked them, apparently in retribution for actions of those seeking indentured servants.  Patteson and Taroniara died on September 20, 1871; Atkin died a week later.

The deaths of these missionaries led to constructive actions.  The British Government cracked down on the indentured servant trade.  Also, support for missionary work increased in England.

Also, the Melanesian Mission renamed its headquarters after Taroniara.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia became a province of the Anglican Communion in 1975.

The province, with indigenous leaders, spans Vanuatu (the former New Hebrides), the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia.  The denomination as nine dioceses.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 21, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BRUNO ZEMBOL, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1942

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CAMERIUS, CISELLUS, AND LUXORIUS OF SARDINIA, MARTYRS, 303

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF EDESSA, CIRCA 304

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN OF ANTIOCH, CIRCA 353; AND SAINTS BONOSUS AND MAXIMIANUS THE SOLDIER, MARTYRS, 362

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God of the southern isles and seas, we remember with thanksgiving your servant John Patteson,

whose life was taken by those for whom he would freely have given it;

grant us the same courage in extending your gospel and readiness to share our life with others,

for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.  Amen.

or

God of the resurrection, blessed are you in John, first bishop to the Melanesians;

for by his willing sacrifice you revealed the people’s cruel suffering,

and their right to hear the Gospel.  Amen.

Hosea 11:1-4

Psalm 16 or 116:1-9

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

Mark 8:31-35

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you called your faithful servant John Coleridge Patteson

and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia,

and by their labors and sufferings raised up a people for your own possession:

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land,

that by the service and sacrifice of many,

your holy Name may be glorified and your kingdom enlarged;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 22:1-4

Psalm 118:49-56

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 595

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3 responses to “Feast of John Coleridge Patteson and His Companions (September 20)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: Feast of the Martyrs of Melanesia, 1864-2003 (September 27) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Feast of George Augustus Selwyn (April 11) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  3. Pingback: Feast of Ini Kopuria (June 5) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: