Archive for the ‘April 7’ Category

Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany (March 8-April 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of the Raising of Lazarus

Image in the Public Domain


A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies, not a calendar of observances with any force or a popular following.  It does, however, constitute a forum to which to propose proper additions to church calendars.

Much of the Western Church observes January 18 as the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle, the rock upon which Christ built the Church.  (Just think, O reader; I used to be a Protestant boy!  My Catholic tendencies must be inherent.)  The celebration of that feast is appropriate.  The Church does not neglect St. Martha of Bethany, either.  In The Episcopal Church, for example, she shares a feast with her sister (St. Mary) and her brother (St. Lazarus) on July 29.

There is no Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany, corresponding to the Petrine feast, however.  That constitutes an omission.  I correct that omission somewhat here at my Ecumenical Calendar as of today.  I hereby define the Sunday immediately prior to Palm/Passion Sunday as the Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany.  The reason for the temporal definition is the chronology inside the Gospel of John.

This post rests primarily on John 11:20-27, St. Martha’s confession of faith in her friend, Jesus, as

the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.

The combination of grief, confidence, and faith is striking.  It is one with which many people identify.  It is one that has become increasingly relevant in my life during the last few months, as I have dealt with two deaths.

Faith frequently shines brightly in the spiritual darkness and exists alongside grief.  Faith enables people to cope with their grief and helps them to see the path through the darkness.  We need to grieve, but we also need to move forward.  We will not move forward alone, for God is with us.  If we are fortunate, so are other people, as well as at least one pet.


Loving God, who became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth

and enjoyed the friendship of Saints Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany:

We thank you for the faith of St. Martha, who understood that

you were the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was coming into the world.

May we confess with our lips and our lives our faith in you,

the Incarnate, crucified, and resurrected Son of God, and draw others to you;

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jeremiah 8:18-23

Psalm 142

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

John 11:1-44





Feast of Andre, Magda, and Daniel Trocme (April 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  France, 1941

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


DANIEL TROCMÉ (APRIL 28, 1912-APRIL 6, 1944)

French Educator, Humanitarian, and Martyr

nephew of

ANDRÉ TROCMÉ (APRIL 7, 1901-JUNE 5, 1971)

French Reformed Minister and Humanitarian

husband of


French Humanitarian




You have to think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.

–Bartholomew Scott Blair in The Russia House (1990)


Only to your fathers was YHWH attached, to love them, so he chose their seed after them,

you, above all (other) peoples,

as (is) this (very) day.

So circumcise the foreskin of your heart,

your neck you are not to keep-hard anymore;

for YHWH your God,

he is the God of gods and the Lord of lords,

the God great, powerful, and awe-inspiring,

he who lifts up no face (in favor) and takes no bribe,

providing justice (for) orphan and widow,

loving the sojourner, by giving him food and clothing.

So you are to love the sojourner,

for sojourners were you in the land of Egypt;

YHWH your God, you are to hold-in-awe,

him you are to serve,

to him you are to cling,

by his name you are to swear!

–Deuteronomy 19:15-20, Translated by Everett Fox (1995)


It is very dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.



Robert Ellsberg, in All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), lists April 7 as the feast of André Trocmé.  One could, I suppose, also choose April 6, April 28, June 5, October 10, or November 2, if one were restricting oneself to birth and death dates.  However, on this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, April 12 works fine.

Being a merely decent human being can be difficult and mortally perilous.  Those who behave as decent people during such circumstances are moral giants.

André Trocmé, born in Saint-Quentin-en-Tourment, France, on April 7, 1901, identified with the downtrodden and understood the Biblical mandate to care for them.  He, of Huguenot (properly pronounced U-guh-NO; the “t” and “s” are silent) stock, knew the history of the persecution of French Calvinists.  André had also been a poor refugee during World War I.  He studied theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York, where Henry Sloane Coffin taught and, in 1926, became the president of the institution.  In New York City André met and fell in love with Magda Grilli, Italian-born yet of Russian ancestry.  Members of her family had resisted authority in both Italy and Russia.  The couple married in 1925.

In 1934 André became the pastor in the Huguenot village of Le Chambon-sur-Vignon, or Le Chambon, for short.  He, Magda, and their children settled in the town, whose population went on in just a few years to commit great and unfortunately rare acts of morality and heroism.  For Pastor Trocmé  the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ was to live according to the ethical standards of the Sermon on the Mount–to love God and one’s neighbors.  He also emphasized the portion of Deuteronomy I have quoted at the beginning of this post.  He was also a pacifist.

Pacifism, of course, does not necessarily mean surrender to injustice.  No, it means resisting injustice by nonviolent means.  This is a fact that some of the college students to whom I teach U.S. history fail to grasp.  I recall, for example, one pupil who, even after I corrected him in writing, insisted on describing Quakers as “passive-aggressive,” not pacifistic.

Above:  A Portion of Southern France

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The location of Le Chambon-sur-Vignon is slightly to the southeast of Yssingeau, in Haute-Loire.

The inhabitants of Le Chambon were neither passive nor aggressive.  No, they were Christian and merely decent.  In 1940, after the Third Reich took over France, the German government established a puppet state (the French State, in English), commonly called Vichy France.  The rest of France fell under direct German rule.  Le Chambon fell within the borders of Vichy France.  The Trocmés resisted the ultranationalism of the French State.  Resisting authority came naturally to them, especially Magda.

So did sheltering refugees.  As I have written, André had been one.  Also, Magda had worked in a camp for refugees from Francisco Franco’s Spanish Christian Fascists (Falangists, technically), officially neutral during World War II yet sympathetic to the Nazis.  Starting in 1940, with the help of the American Friends Service Committee, the Trocmés led the village in resisting the laws of the Third Reich and of Vichy France while obeying the laws of God.  Le Chambon and the neighboring farms became centers for sheltering Jews, many of them illegal aliens.  In 1942 the order to deport French Jews took effect.  The body count of that order exceeded 83,000.  In Paris alone, in the summer of 1942, the number of deported Jews was about 28,000.  Over years, however, the villagers of Le Chambon, led by the Trocmés, sheltered and saved no fewer than 2,500 Jews–perhaps as many as 5,000.  Vichy and Nazi authorities noticed yet never could capture any Jews there.  A doctor who forged documents died in a concentration camp.  Starting in early 1942 André had to go on the run, so Magda, who had helped him lead the village’s efforts, performed more duties.  There were, after all, documents to forge and deliveries of food and clothing to make.

The villagers of Le Chambon did not consider their actions in sheltering Jews remarkable.  This was an expression of their faith, after all.  Those actions were, however, relatively rare in France during World War II.  They also met with the disapproval of the leader of André’s denomination.

Daniel Trocmé, born on April 28, 1912, was André’s nephew.  Daniel, a science teacher and a compassionate man, had fragile health, including a heart condition.  He taught at Masion Les Roches, a Huguenot boarding school, in Verneuil.  In 1941 he accepted his uncle’s invitation to become the principal of Les Grillons, the boarding school for Jewish children at Le Chambon founded by the American Friends Service Committee.  Daniel was a kind and conscientious educator.  Eventually he left to assume the leadership of Maison Les Roches.  There Daniel sheltered Jewish youth.  Agents of the Gestaop raided the school on June 29, 1943.  Our saint did not flee the authorities, who detained him, along with 18 pupils.  He did not deny sheltering Jews.  No, Daniel told the agents that sheltering Jews was the morally correct action.  He spent the rest of his brief life as a prisoner, dying, aged 31 years, at Maidanek Concentration Camp, Lublin, Poland, on April 6, 1944.

André continued to live out his faith after the liberation of France.  He served as the European secretary of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.  And, during the Algerian War, our saint cooperated with Mennonites to help French conscientious objectors.  He died, aged 70 years, at Geneva, Switzerland, on June 5, 1971.

Magda died, aged 91 years, in Paris on October 10, 1996.  She lived long enough to witness the villagers, her husband, Daniel, and herself recognized formally as Righteous Gentiles.

Some of the passages of scripture that trouble me the most are those that counsel submission to authority–especially, in historical context, that of the Roman Empire.  Although freedom cannot exist amid anarchy, there are times when defying “legitimate” political authority is the only morally correct course of action.  This is a nuance I do not detect in the germane New Testament passages.

The Trocmés understood that nuance well, however.








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

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


Feast of Randall Davidson (April 7)   1 comment

Above:  Archbishop Randall Davidson

Image in the Public Domain



Archbishop of Canterbury

Randall Davidson was the Archbishop of Canterbury for about a quarter of a century.  The native of Edinburgh, Scotland, born on April 7, 1848, grew up a Presbyterian.  The son of Henrietta Swinton and Henry Davidson, a grain merchant, grew up in The Church of Scotland.  Our saint, educated at the Harrow School and at Trinity College, Oxford, converted to Anglicanism.  He, ordained in 1875, became the chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury Archibald Campbell Tait in 1877 then to Edward White Benson, Tait’s immediate successor.  Davidson married Tait’s daughter, Edith (died in 1936), in 1878.  Our saint gained the confidence of Queen Victoria and advised her regarding ecclesiastical appointments.  Through her favor he succeeded to the posts of Dean of Windsor (1883), Bishop of Rochester (1891), and Bishop of Winchester (1895).  In February 1903 he succeeded Frederick Temple as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Davidson had a passion for reconciliation, ecclesiastical and political.  He sought to find common ground in theological arguments (such as the one regarding ritualism), favored the League of Nations, and became an ecumenical leader.  Our saint supported Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, favored closer Anglican-Eastern Orthodox ties, and argued for retaining the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.  He also opposed religious persecution in Russia and spoke out on behalf of the rights of indigenous peoples, thereby making the work of Anglican missionaries easier.

Davidson retired, aged 80 years, in November 1928, shortly after the Parliament refused to approve the proposed Book of Common Prayer, meant to replace the Prayer Book of 1662.  He had hoped that Parliament would approve the proposed Prayer Book.  He died on May 25, 1930, aged 82 years, in London.








Heavenly Father, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Randall Davidson.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

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

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

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


Feast of St. Tikhon of Moscow (April 7)   9 comments

St. Tikhon of Moscow

Above:  St. Tikhon of Moscow

Image in the Public Domain



Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow

Also known as Vasily Ivanovich Belavin


May God teach every one of us to strive for His truth, and for the good of the Holy Church, rather than something for our own sake.

–St. Tikhon of Moscow


From the calendars of saints of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church in America, and The Episcopal Church St. Tikhon of Moscow, whom the website of the Orthodox Church in America describes as “Patriarch and Confessor of Moscow” and “Enlightener of North America,” comes to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

St. Tikhon’s life began in the Russian Empire and ended in the Soviet Union.  Vasily Ivanovich Belavin entered the world at Klin, Toropets District, Pskov Province, Russia, on January 19, 1865.  His father was a Russian Orthodox priest.  Our saint grew up around peasants.  From an early age he learned humility and kindness, characteristics he exhibited throughout his life.  From 1878 to 1883 he studied at Pskov Theological Seminary, where he was an excellent student.  Belavin graduated from St. Petersburg Theological Academy in 1888 then returned to Pskov Theological Seminary to teach moral and dogmatic theology.  He was already living somewhat like a monk, only without vows, so it was natural that the 26-year-old Belavin took monastic vows in 1891.  He became Tikhon, after St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-1783), Bishop of Voronezh.

Our saint’s career progressed rapidly after that.  In 1892 he transferred to Kholm Theological Seminary and became an archimandrite, a senior priest one level below bishop.  St. Tikhon became a bishop on October 19, 1897, officially serving as the Bishop of Lublin but really functioning as the Vicar Bishop of Kholm.  From 1898 to 1907 our saint served in the United States, first as the Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska.  He renamed the see to the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America in 1900.  That year his presence at the consecration of Reginald Heber Weller as the Episcopal Bishop of Fond du Lac contributed to a controversy and a scandal in The Episcopal Church when many Evangelical Episcopalians found the photograph of Episcopal, Orthodox, and Old Catholic bishops posing in copes and mitres disturbing.  The “Fond du Lac Circus” upset many people for a long time.  St. Tikhon reorganized his diocese, founded churches, and functioned as a kind chief pastor, and won the affection and respect of his flock.  The diocese became an archdiocese in 1905, so he became the Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America.  Among our saint’s acts as archbishop was granting permission for the founding of the Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Waymart, Pennsylvania, in 1905.

Above”  The “Fond du Lac Circus,” November 8, 1900

Image in the Public Domain

Our saint returned to Russia in 1907.  There he remained.  From 1907 he served as the Bishop of Yaroslavl.  St. Tikhon transferred to Vilnius in 1913.  There he did much to help the poor of that city during World War I, a conflict which proved to be devastating domestically in Russia.  He was briefly (August 15-November 5, 1917) the Metropolitan of Moscow before becoming the Patriarch.  As the Patriarch of Moscow St. Tikhon had to contend with schismatics on one side and Bolsheviks on the other.  He was glad to welcome former schismatics back into the fold, which he did, but the Soviet government was a greater problem.  It confiscated much church property.  When St. Tikhon approved the sale of certain church property to finance relief efforts for famine victims during the Russian Civil War, such confiscations hampered the humanitarian efforts.  His criticisms of the Soviet government led to his house arrest at a monastery for just over a year (1923-1924).  Under pressure our saint denied being an enemy of the Soviet government.  That statement aroused much opposition to him within the Church.

St. Tikhon died at Moscow on April 7, 1925, two days after celebrating his last Divine Liturgy.  He was 60 years old.  As he died our saint crossed himself and said,

Glory be Thee, O Lord, glory be to Thee.

He did this two complete times and died during the third time.

The Russian Orthodox Church canonized him in 1989.

A recurring theme I noticed in the life of St. Tikhon of Moscow was that many people criticized him harshly and made life difficult for him.  For example, he posed for a photograph wearing his episcopal garb at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and many Evangelical Episcopalians condemned him.  He had done nothing wrong, though.  Many Russian schismatics lambasted St. Tikhon, but he welcomed many of them back into the fold.  Our saint defended the church from the Bolsheviks and sought to feed starving people, but found himself a prisoner for speaking out.  He, in a difficult situation, sought to preserve the Church, but his way of doing so outraged many churchmen.  St. Tikhon was a kind soul and a good man–a better and kinder person than many of his critics, I suppose.








Holy God, holy and mighty, who has called us together into one communion and fellowship:

Open our eyes, we pray, as you opened the eyes of your servant Tikhon,

that we may see the faithfulness of others as we strive to be steadfast

in the faith delivered to us, that the world may see and know you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,

be glory and praise to the ages of ages.  Amen.

Jeremiah 31:10-14

Psalm 72:1-8

2 Peter 1:3-11

Matthew 5:3-16

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 313


Feast of Jay Thomas Stocking (April 7)   2 comments


Above:  Yale Divinity School, Between 1900 and 1915

Publisher = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-39339



U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Jay Thomas Stocking, a native of Lisbon, New York, was another minister who did much good during his lifetime yet whose reputation postmortem depends mainly on one hymn.

Stocking, an alumnus of Amherst College (Class of 1895), taught at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, for three years before returning to school as a student.  He graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1901 then attended the University of Berlin.  He, ordained a Congregationalist minister in 1903, served at the following churches:

  • First Church, Bellows Falls, Vermont (1903-1905);
  • Central Church, Newtonville, Newton, Massachusetts (1905-1914);
  • First Church, Washington, DC (1914-1915);
  • Union Church, Upper Montclair, New Jersey (1915-1927);
  • Pilgrim Church, St. Louis, Missouri (1927-1935); and
  • First Church, Newton Centre, Newton, Massachusetts (1935-1936).

A partial list of Stocking’s published works follows:

  • The City That Never Was Reached (1911);
  • The Golden Goblet (1914);
  • Mr. Friend O’Man (1920);
  • Queery Queer (1926); and
  • Stocking Tales (1937);

Stocking, the 1934-1935 Moderator of the National Council of Congregational Christian Churches, was active in the Federal Council of Churches, serving on its Commission on International Justice and Goodwill.

As impressive as all those accomplishments were, one hymn, “O Master Workman of the Race,” has become the postmortem foundation of Stocking’s reputation.  He was on vacation at his summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains in 1912.  The Pilgrim Press had asked our saint to write a hymn for a forthcoming book.  One day, as Stocking watched carpenters repair his summer camp, he had an idea:

The figure of the carpenters, as applied to Jesus, flashed on me as never before, and I sat down and wrote the hymn, almost, if not quite, in the exact form in which it now appears.

–Quoted in Robert Guy McCutchan, Our Hymnody:  A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. Ed. (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937), page 151.

As Stocking wrote in his great hymn,

Give us a conscience bold and good,

Give us a purpose true,

That it may be our highest joy

Our Father’s work to do.





Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Jay Thomas Stocking,

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

Raise up in our own 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

Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C   Leave a comment

Above:  Statue of Reconciliation, Ruins of Old Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England, United Kingdom

Image Source = Rebecca Kennison

Forgiveness and the Future

MARCH 13, 2016

APRIL 7, 2019


Isaiah 43:16-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Thus says the LORD,

who makes a way in the sea,

a path in the mighty waters,

who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior;

they lie down, they cannot rise,

they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:

Do not remember the former things,

or consider the things of old.

I am about to do a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.

The wild animals will honor me,

the jackals and the ostriches;

for I give water in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert,

to give drink to my chosen people,

the people whom I formed for myself

so that they might declare my praise.

Psalm 126 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,

then were we like those who dream.

2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter,

and our tongue with shouts of joy.

3 Then they said among the nations,

“The LORD has done great things for them.”

The LORD has done great things for us,

and we are glad indeed.

5 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,

like the watercourses of the Negev.

6 Those who sowed with tears

will reap with songs of joy.

7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed,

will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.

Philippians 3:4b-14 (New Revised Standard Version):

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

John 12:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom had raised from the dead.  They gave a dinner for him.  Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him.  Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,

Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?

(He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; the kept the common purse and used to steal what was put in it.)  Jesus said,

Leave her alone.  She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.  You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.

The Collect:

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

A Prayer Not To Live in the Past:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

Prayer of Confession:

Prayer of Dedication:



Sometimes I read Sunday lectionary texts and realize that I can tie all but one together.  Today, however, all of them fit together nicely.

Isaiah 43 has God promising restoration to the exiled Jews, descendants of subjects of the former Kingdom of Judah.  God says,

Do not remember the former things,

or consider the things of old.

I am about to do a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

–Isaiah 43:18-19, New Revised Standard Version

Psalm 126 echoes that reading:

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,

then we were like those who dream.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter,

and our tongue with shouts of joy.

–Psalm 126:1-2, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Meanwhile, in Philippians, Paul of Tarsus, once a persecutor of Christians, now an occasionally persecuted Christian, wrote

…forgetting what lies behind, and straining on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

–3:13b-14, New Revised Standard Version


I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

–3:10-11, New Revised Standard Version

That resurrection followed his death, after which people anointed his corpse.  Mary of Bethany’s anointing of Jesus in John 12:1-8 prefigured that pre-Resurrection anointing.

(Aside:  Shortly before I drafted this post I published one ( which also brought me around to John 12:1-8 by means of another lectionary.  It is interesting how lectionaries intersect that way.)

As a student of history I grasp the value of knowing what happened in the past.  I also recognize the danger of getting lost back there.  My studies have uncovered examples of people reaching back a thousand years or so, speaking of those events as if they occurred last week, and inciting violence.  On the other extreme, I live in the United States of America, which Gore Vidal, novelist and essayist, has called the United States of Amnesia.  Twenty years ago seems like ancient history to many people.  There is a happy medium between the two.

The main idea is that we ought not live in the past, for the future lies ahead.  It is our destination.  God forgives us, and we ought to extend the same courtesy to ourselves and each other.  Paul had to focus on his goal, not his past.  The exiles of Judah needed to focus on rebuilding, not why they had to rebuild.  While acknowledging their past they needed not to become mired in it.

The same is true of each of us.  I have never had a sordid life or a dramatic conversion experience.  I cannot say truthfully that I became a Christian at 2:00 P.M. on a certain date, for example.  No, God entered my life subtly and gradually.  Yet I can identify moments when God broke through more dramatically and obviously than others.  And I have had to forgive myself for certain failings before I could pres on toward my goal.

We humans are social creatures, some of us more so than others.  We ought not only forgive ourselves but each other for each other’s failings.  Then we should help each other on toward each other’s goals in God.  We are here on the planet for each other; may we act accordingly.








Posted November 11, 2012 by neatnik2009 in April 7, Revised Common Lectionary Year C

Tagged with

Feast of Blessed Montford Scott, St. Edmund Gennings, St. Henry Walpole, and Their Fellow Martyrs (April 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Vatican Coat of Arms


Roman Catholic Martyrs

Executed on July 2, 1591



Roman Catholic Martyrs

Executed on December 10, 1591



Roman Catholic Martyrs

Executed on April 7, 1595


Most feasts transferred from October 25


Sometimes I begin with one name and end up with a bevy.  Such is the case with this post.  These tales are related to each other.  They constitute a tapestry of martyrdom, a fabric which simple religious toleration would have prevented.  May we honor these faithful servants of Christ Jesus who followed him to the bloody end, one which an officially Christian state deemed necessary and proper in the midst of anti-Roman Catholic hysteria combined with national security concerns in the wake of the Spanish Armada incident of 1588.

Blessed Montford Scott studied at Douai, France.  He became a subdeacon in 1575 then returned to England.  Arrested then freed in 1576, he returned to Douai in 1577 after having become a priest at Brussels.  Scott’s stay at Douai was brief, for he returned to England that year.  Arrested in 1584, he spent seven years in prison before a brief stint of freedom in 1591.  Yet authorities reapprehended Scott, who went to his gruesome martyrdom (hanging, drawing, and quartering) on July 2, 1591.

Venerable George Beasley died on the same day as did Scott.  Also on Englishman, Beasley studied at Rheims, becoming a priest in 1587.  He returned to England in 1588.  Authorities captured Beasley in 1590.  Imprisoned, Beasley suffered tortures which left him, in the words of the Catholic Encyclopedia, “reduced to a skeleton.”

Blessed Montford Scott had a cousin, Blessed Brian Lacey, with whom authorities arrested him.  Lacey had aided and abetted Roman Catholic priests in England.  As if the fact that this was a capital crime was not bad enough, Lacey’s brother turned him in.  Lacey died on December 10, 1591.

That was a day of much bloodshed.  St. Edmund Gennings and four others linked with him also died on December 10, 1591.  They were St. Polydore Plasden, a priest; St. Swithun Wells, host of an illegal Mass; and Blessed Sidney Hodgson and Blessed John Mason, who tried to protect Gennings and the others from authorities.  And St. Eustace White, another priest, died on that dark day.

St. Edmund Gennings (1567-1591), born at Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, converted to Roman Catholicism at age sixteen.  He studied at Rheims, becoming a priest in 1590, aged twenty-three years.  Then Gennings returned to England.

November 7, 1591. was a fateful day.  On that day, at the home of St. Swithun Wells (circa 1536-1591), Gennings said his last Mass, one which ended prematurely due to a raid.  Wells was the long-time schoolmaster at Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.  He had returned to Roman Catholicism in 1583.  Also present at that Mass was St. Polydore Plasden (1563-1591), a priest since 1586, who had been undercover in England since 1588.  Blessed John Mason and Blessed Sidney Hodgson, members of the congregation, offered physical resistance to the raiding forces.  Law enforcement, then as now, labeled resistance to arrest an offense.

Alice Wells, the widow of St. Swithun Wells, died in prison in 1602.

St. Eustace White (1559-1591), also executed on December 10, had been born at Louth, Lincolnshire, England.  A convert to Roman Catholicism, he studied for the priesthood. Ordained in 1588, he returned to England that year.  Three years later, authorities arrested and executed him.

St. Edmund Gennings began his English mission with Blessed Alexander Rawlins.  Imprisoned twice in 1585 for his Roman Catholicism, Rawlins studied at Rheims in 1589-1590, becoming a priest in 1590.  His English mission lasted from 1591 to 1595, when authorities arrested him.  Rawlins died on April 7, 1595, with St. Henry Walpole.

St. Henry Walpole (1558-1591), born in Docking, Norfolk, England, studied law.  Witnessing the execution of St. Edmund Campion  in 1581 prompted Walpole to convert to Roman Catholicism and study for the priesthood (in Europe) instead.  He became a   Jesuit in 1584 and a priest four years later.  Walpole went on a mission to Lorraine then to the Netherlands, where he served as a chaplain to Spanish soldiers there.  There, in 1589, Calvinists arrested him and imprisoned him for a year.  Walpole, released in 1590, taught at Seville and Vallodolid (in Spain) then went on a mission to Flanders.  The saint began his English mission in 1593, but authorities arrested him almost immediately.  Walpole spent most of the rest of his life in the Tower of London, suffering tortures.

The blood of the martyrs waters the church.





Almighty and everlasting God,

who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyrs

Venerable George Beasley,

Saint Edmund Gennings,

Blessed Sidney Hodgson,

Blessed Brian Lacey,

Blessed John Mason,

Saint Polydore Plasden,

Blessed Alexander Rawlins,

Blessed Montford Scott,

Saint Henry Walpole,

Saint Swithun Wells,

Alice Wells, and

Saint Eustace White:

Grant to us, your humble servants,

a like faith and power of love,

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

through Jesus Christ our Lod,

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

Feast of St. George the Younger (April 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Triumph of Orthodoxy Icon


Greek Orthodox Bishop of Mitylene

St. George the Younger was one of several Bishops of Mitylene named George, hence the addition of the appelation “the Younger” to his name.  The use of surnames was a great and useful practice in distinguishing people with the same personal name.  We must, in the absence of surnames, resort to descriptive labels, such as “the Younger,” “the Elder,” and “of __________.”

St. George the Younger, born to a wealthy family on the island of Lesbos, gave away his wealth to the poor and the ill.  He became the Bishop of Mitylene, on Lesbos.  In that capacity he earned a reputation for charitable activities and for holiness of life.  A defender of icons, he earned the ire of the Byzantine Emperor Leo the Armenian (reigned 813-820), who exiled him to the Crimea.  There St. George died of natural causes, a martyr of sorts.

A theological disagreement ought not to constitute an offense worthy of suffering and exile.





Jesus our Redeemer,

you gave your life to ransom us;

you have called us to drink your cup

and undergo your baptism.

We thank you for St. George the Younger’s witness;

May we have faith and resolution too.  Amen.

Isaiah 43:1-7

Psalm 3 or 116

1 Peter 4:12-19

Luke 12:2-12

A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 680-681

Posted January 25, 2012 by neatnik2009 in April 7, Saints of 750-799, Saints of 800-849

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for April   Leave a comment


Image Source = WiZZiK

1 (Frederick Denison Maurice, Anglican Priest and Theologian)

  • Giuseppe Girotti, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • John Gray, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Mythologist, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages
  • Ludovico Pavoni, Roman Catholic Priest and Educator
  • Syragius of Autun and Anarcharius of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Bishops; and Valery of Leucone and Eustace of Luxeuit, Roman Catholic Abbots

2 (James Lloyd Breck, “The Apostle of the Wilderness”)

  • Carlo Carretto, Spiritual Writer
  • John Payne and Cuthbert Mayne, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1582 and 1577
  • Joseph Bernardin, Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago
  • Sidonius Apollinaris, Eustace of Lyon, and His Descendants, Roman Catholic Bishops

3 (Luther D. Reed, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Liturgist)

  • Burgendofara and Sadalberga, Roman Catholic Abbesses, and Their Relatives
  • Marc Sangnier, Founder of the Sillon Movement
  • Mary of Egypt, Hermit and Penitent
  • Reginald Heber, Anglican Bishop of Calcutta, and Hymn Writer
  • Sidney Lovett, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Chaplain of Yale University

4 (Benedict the African, Franciscan Friar and Hermit)

  • Alfred C. Marble, Jr., Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi then Assisting Bishop of North Carolina
  • Ernest W. Shurtleff, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., U.S. Civil Rights Leader, and Martyr, 1968 (also January 15)

5 (Emily Ayckbowm, Founder of the Community of the Sisters of the Church)

  • Mariano de la Mata Aparicio, Roman Catholic Missionary and Educator in Brazil
  • Pauline Sperry, Mathematician, Philanthropist, and Activist; and her brother, Willard Learoyd Sperry, Congregationalist Minister, Ethicist, Theologian, and Dean of Harvard Law School
  • William Derham, Anglican Priest and Scientist

6 (Marcellinus of Carthage, Roman Catholic Martyr, 413)

  • Benjamin Hall Kennedy, Greek and Latin Scholar, Bible Translator, and Anglican Priest
  • Daniel G. C. Wu, Chinese-American Episcopal Priest and Missionary
  • Emil Brunner, Swiss Reformed Theologian
  • Milner Ball, Presbyterian Minister, Law Professor, Witness for Civil Rights, Humanitarian
  • Nokter Balbulus, Roman Catholic Monk

7 (Tikhon of Moscow, Russian Orthodox Patriach)

  • André Trocmé, Magda Trocmé, and Daniel Trocmé, Righteous Gentiles
  • George the Younger, Greek Orthodox Bishop of Mitylene
  • Jay Thomas Stocking, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Montford Scott, Edmund Gennings, Henry Walpole, and Their Fellow Martyrs, 1591 and 1595
  • Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury

8 (Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Patriarch of American Lutheranism; his great-grandson, William Augustus Muhlenberg, Episcopal Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgical Pioneer; and his colleague, Anne Ayres, Founder of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion)

  • Dionysius of Corinth, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Godfrey Diekmann, U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, Ecumenist, Theologian, and Liturgical Scholar
  • Hugh of Rouen, Roman Catholic Bishop, Abbot, and Monk
  • Julie Billiart, Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame
  • Timothy Lull, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Scholar, Theologian, and Ecumenist

9 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran Martyr, 1945

  • Johann Cruger, German Lutheran Organist, Composer, and Hymnal Editor
  • John Samuel Bewley Monsell, Anglican Priest and Poet; and Richard Mant, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore
  • Lydia Emilie Gruchy, First Female Minister in the United Church of Canada
  • Mikael Agricola, Finnish Lutheran Liturgist, Bishop of Turku, and “Father of Finnish Literary Language”
  • William Law, Anglican Priest, Mystic, and Spiritual Writer

10 (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Roman Catholic Priest, Scientist, and Theologian)

  • Fulbert of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Henry Van Dyke, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist
  • Howard Thurman, Protestant Theologian

11 (Heinrich Theobald Schenck, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer)

  • Charles Stedman Newhall, U.S. Naturalist, Hymn Writer, and Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister
  • George Augustus Selwyn, Anglican Bishop of New Zealand, Primate of New Zealand, and Bishop of Lichfield; Missionary
  • George Zabelka, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Military Chaplain, and Advocate for Christian Nonviolence
  • Henry Hallam Tweedy, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer

12 (Henry Sloane Coffin, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, and Hymn Translator; and his nephew, William Sloane Coffin, Jr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Social Activist)

  • David Uribe-Velasco, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927
  • Julius I, Bishop of Rome
  • Zeno of Verona, Bishop

13 (Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham)

  • Henri Perrin, French Roman Catholic Worker Priest
  • John Gloucester, First African-American Presbyterian Minister
  • Lucy Craft Laney, African-American Presbyterian Educator and Civil Rights Activist
  • Martin I, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 655; and Maximus the Confessor, Eastern Orthodox Monk, Abbot, and Martyr, 662
  • Rolando Rivi, Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr, 1945

14 (Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany, Episcopal Suffragan Bishops for Colored Work)

  • Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius, Martyrs in Lithuania, 1347
  • George Frederick Handel, Composer
  • Wandregisilus of Normandy, Roman Catholic Abbot; and Lambert of Lyons, Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Zenaida of Tarsus and her sister, Philonella of Tarsus; and Hermione of Ephesus; Unmercenary Physicians

15 (Olga of Kiev, Regent of Kievan Russia; Adalbert of Magdeburg, Roman Catholic Bishop; Adalbert of Prague, Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 997; and Benedict and Gaudentius of Pomerania, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 997)

  • Damien and Marianne of Molokai, Workers Among Lepers
  • Flavia Domitilla, Roman Christian Noblewoman; and Maro, Eutyches, and Victorinus of Rome, Priests and Martyrs, Circa 99
  • Hunna of Alsace, the “Holy Washerwoman”

16 (Bernadette of Lourdes, Roman Catholic Visionary)

  • Calvin Weiss Laufer, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist
  • Isabella Gilmore, Anglican Deaconess
  • Mikel Suma, Albanian Roman Catholic Priest, Friar, and Martyr, 1950
  • Peter Williams Cassey, African-American Episcopal Deacon; and his wife, Annie Besant Cassey, African-American Episcopal Educator

17 (Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Emily Cooper, Episcopal Deaconess
  • Lucy Larcom, U.S. Academic, Journalist, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer
  • Max Josef Metzger, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944
  • Wilbur Kenneth Howard, Moderator of The United Church of Canada

18 (Roger Williams, Founder of Rhode Island; and Anne Hutchinson, Rebellious Puritan)

  • Cornelia Connelly, Founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus
  • Maria Anna Blondin, Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne
  • Mary C. Collins, U.S. Congregationalist Missionary and Minister
  • Murin of Fahan, Laserian of Leighlin, Goban of Picardie, Foillan of Fosses, and Ultan of Peronne, Abbots; Fursey of Peronne and Blitharius of Seganne, Monks
  • Roman Archutowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1943

19 (Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1012)

  • Emma of Lesum, Benefactor
  • Olavus Petri, Swedish Lutheran Theologian, Historian, Liturgist, Minister, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and “Father of Swedish Literature;” and his brother, Laurentius Petri, Swedish Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala, Bible Translator, and “Father of Swedish Hymnody”

20 (Johannes Bugenhagen, German Lutheran Theologian, Minister, Liturgist, and “Pastor of the Reformation”)

  • Amator of Auxerre and Germanus of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Bishops; Mamertinus of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Abbot; and Marcian of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Monk
  • Christian X, King of Denmark and Iceland; and his brother, Haakon VII, King of Norway
  • Marion MacDonald Kelleran, Episcopal Seminary Professor and Lay Leader
  • Robert Seymour Bridges, Anglican Hymn Writer and Hymn Translator

21 (Roman Adame Rosales, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927)

  • Conrad of Parzham, Capuchin Friar
  • David Brainerd, American Congregationalist then Presbyterian Missionary and Minister
  • George B. Caird, English Congregationalist then United Reformed Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Georgia Harkness, U.S. Methodist Minister, Theologian, Ethicist, and Hymn Writer
  • Simeon Barsabae, Bishop; and His Companions, Martyrs, 341

22 (Gene Britton, Episcopal Priest)

  • Donald S. Armentrout, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Scholar
  • Hadewijch of Brabert, Roman Catholic Mystic
  • Kathe Kollwitz, German Lutheran Artist and Pacifist
  • Vitalis of Gaza, Monk, Hermit, and Martyr, Circa 625

23 (Toyohiko Kagawa, Renewer of Society and Prophetic Witness in Japan)

  • Martin Rinckart, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Teresa Maria of the Cross, Founder of the Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa of Florence
  • Walter Russell Bowie, Episcopal Priest, Seminary Professor, and Hymn Writer

24 (Genocide Remembrance)

  • Egbert of Lindisfarne, Roman Catholic Monk; and Adalbert of Egmont, Roman Catholic Missionary
  • Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Capuchin Friar and Martyr, 1622
  • Jakob Böhme, German Lutheran Mystic
  • Johann Walter, “First Cantor of the Lutheran Church”
  • Mellitus, Bishop of London, and Archbishop of Canterbury


26 (William Cowper, Anglican Hymn Writer)

  • Adelard of Corbie, Frankish Roman Catholic Monk and Abbot; and his protégé, Paschasius Radbertus, Frankish Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Theologian
  • Robert Hunt, First Anglican Chaplain at Jamestown, Virginia
  • Ruth Byllesby, Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia
  • Stanislaw Kubista, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940; and Wladyslaw Goral, Polish Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 1945
  • William Stringfellow, Episcopal Attorney, Theologian, and Social Activist

27 (George Washington Doane, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey; and his son, William Croswell Doane, Episcopal Bishop of Albany; Hymn Writers)

  • Antony and Theodosius of Kiev, Founders of Russian Orthodox Monasticism; Barlaam of Kiev, Russian Orthodox Abbot; and Stephen of Kiev, Russian Orthodox Abbot and Bishop
  • Christina Rossetti, Poet and Religious Writer
  • Remaclus of Maastricht, Theodore of Maastricht, Lambert of Maastricht, Hubert of Maastricht and Liege, and Floribert of Liege, Roman Catholic Bishops; Landrada of Munsterbilsen, Roman Catholic Abbess; and Otger of Utrecht, Plechelm of Guelderland, and Wiro, Roman Catholic Missionaries
  • Zita of Tuscany, Worker of Charity

28 (Jaroslav Vajda, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer)

  • Jozef Cebula, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941
  • Pamphilius of Sulmona, Roman Catholic Bishop and Almsgiver
  • Peter Chanel, Protomartyr of Oceania, 1841

29 (Catherine of Siena, Roman Catholic Mystic and Religious)

  • Bosa of York, John of Beverley, Wilfrid the Younger, and Acca of Hexham, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • James Edward Walsh, Roman Catholic Missionary Bishop and Political Prisoner in China
  • Simon B. Parker, United Methodist Biblical Scholar
  • Timothy Rees, Welsh Anglican Hymn Writer and Bishop of Llandaff

30 (James Montgomery, Anglican and Moravian Hymn Writer)

  • Diet Eman; her fiancé, Hein Sietsma, Martyr, 1945; and his brother, Hendrik “Henk” Sietsma; Righteous Among the Nations
  • James Russell Woodford, Anglican Bishop of Ely, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • John Ross MacDuff and George Matheson, Scottish Presbyterian Ministers and Authors
  • Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Poet, Author, Editor, and Prophetic Witness



  • The Confession of Saint Martha of Bethany (the Sunday immediately prior to Palm Sunday; March 8-April 11)


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.