Archive for the ‘February 23’ Category

Feast of Blessed Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski (February 23)   Leave a comment

stefan_wincenty_frelichowski1

Above:  Blessed Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski

Image in the Public Domain

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 BLESSED STEFAN WINCENTY FRELICHOWSKI (JANUARY 22, 1913-FEBRUARY 23, 1945)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Blessed Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski was a diligent and faithful priest.  The native of Chelmza, Poland, was an altar boy and a Boy Scout.  Our saint, who remained involved with the Boy Scouts well into his adulthood, became a priest on March 13, 1937.  Next her served as the secretary to Bishop Stansislaw W. Okoniewski, until transferring to Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church, Toruniu, the following year.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested Frelichowski in 1939.  For the rest of our saint’s life he lived in a series of concentration camps, the last one of which was at Dachau.  At all of them Frelichowski performed his priestly duties, to the benefit of his fellow prisoners.  In 1945, while ministering to fellow prisoners dying of typhus, our saint contracted that disease.  He died, aged 32 years, on February 23.

Pope John Paul II beatified Frelichowski in 1999 as a Martyr of Charity.

Our saint is the Patron of Polish Scouts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 7, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PHILIP AND DANIEL BERRIGAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF ANNE ROSS COUSIN, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GERALD THOMAS NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER; BROTHER OF BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST, ENGLISH BAPTIST EVANGELIST, AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS NIECE, CAROLINE MARIA NOEL, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEPHA ROSSELLO, COFOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTER OF OUR LADY OF PITY

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Grant, O Lord, that as we commemorate Blessed Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski,

your witness, your faithful one, so we may overcome the prince of this world

by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony;

and finally obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up

for all who love the appearing of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Daniel 3:14-25 or Wisdom 3:1-9

Psalm 69:29-36

Revelation 7:13-17

Matthew 10:24-33

–Adapted from The Church of South India, The Book of Common Worship (1963), page 65

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Feast of St. Alexander Akimetes (February 23)   Leave a comment

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Above:  The Eastern Roman Empire

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

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SAINT ALEXANDER AKIMETES (300S-403 OR 430)

Roman Catholic Abbot

Information regarding the dates of the birth and death of St. Alexander Akimetes is inconsistent.  According to some sources the date of the birth was circa 350, but others are less precise, offering the vague “300s.”  Furthermore, the reported year of his death is either circa 403 or 430.  Someone seems to have switched the places of “3” and “0;” others seem to have followed his lead.

St. Alexander Akimetes, who converted to Christianity as an adult, made his mark upon the Church.  The native of one of the Aegean Islands came from Roman nobility and studied in Constantinople.  Our saint also served in the army for four years.  After becoming a Christian St. Alexander took the advice of Jesus to the rich young ruler literally and acted upon it; he sold all his goods.  Then our saint became a hermit in Syria.  About seven years later our saint went to prison for burning down a pagan temple.  He converted his jailers and even baptized the governor and his family.  St. Alexander, released, returned to life as a hermit.  A few years later our saint ceased to be a hermit and became a missionary instead.  He was, unfortunately, an unsuccessful missionary.  St. Alexander did succeed, however, in founding several monasteries and serving as an abbot.  One of these abbeys began with a band of robbers our saint converted to Christianity; he appointed one of the former criminals the first abbot then moved on.  St. Alexander’s monks, unlike those who followed the subsequent Rule of St. Benedict (540), performed no manual labor.  They did, however, perform missionary work.  The monks also took turns, in alternating choirs, singing the Divine Office all day long.  For this reason St. Alexander became St. Alexander Akimetes, “Akimetes” meaning “does not rest.”

St. Alexander died at the abbey at Gomon, on the Bosphorus.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 7, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PHILIP AND DANIEL BERRIGAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF ANNE ROSS COUSIN, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GERALD THOMAS NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER; BROTHER OF BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST, ENGLISH BAPTIST EVANGELIST, AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS NIECE, CAROLINE MARIA NOEL, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEPHA ROSSELLO, COFOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTER OF OUR LADY OF PITY

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O Almighty God, who wills to be glorified in your saints,

and raised up your servant St. Alexander Akimetes to shine as a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praises,

who has called us out of darkness into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nehemiah 4:1-6 or Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15

Psalm 113

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Mark 12:41-44 or Matthew 5:13-16

–Adapted from The Church of South India, The Book of Common Worship (1963), page 68

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Feast of Sts. Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Irenaeus of Lyons (February 23)   2 comments

ichthys

Above:  Ichthys

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (CIRCA 35-107/115)

Bishop of Antioch and Martyr

His feast transferred from October 17

met and wrote to

SAINT POLYCARP OF SMYRNA (69-FEBRUARY 23, 155/156)

Bishop of Smyrna and Martyr

His feast = February 23

met

SAINT IRENAEUS OF LYONS (CIRCA 130-CIRCA 202)

Bishop of Lyons and Martyr

His feast transferred from June 28

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So gird up your loins now and serve God in fear and sincerity.  No more of the vapid discourses and sophistries of the vulgar; put your trust in Him who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory and a seat at His own right hand.  All things in heaven and earth have been made subject to Him; everything that breathes pays Him homage; He comes to judge the living and the dead, and God will require His blood at the hands of any who refuse Him allegiance.  And He that raised Him from the dead will raise us also, if we do His will and live by His commandments, and cherish the things He cherished–if, that is to say, we keep ourselves from wrongdoing, overreaching, penny-pinching, tale-telling, and prevaricating, and bear in mind the words of our Lord in His teaching, Judge not, that you be not judged; forgive, and you will be forgiven; be merciful, that you may obtain mercy; for whatever you measure out to other people will be measured back again to yourselves.  And again, Happy are the poor and they who are persecuted because they are righteous, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

–St. Polycarp, the Epistle to the Philippians, Logion 2, in Early Christian Writings:  The Apostolic Fathers, translated by Maxwell Staniforth and Andrew Louth (New York, NY:  Penguin Books, 1987), page 119-120

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This post replaces three older posts and emphasizes the relationships and influences that bound these three saints in faithful witness.  After all, one of my goals during the ongoing renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.

ignatius-of-antioch

Above:  St. Ignatius of Antioch

Image in the Public Domain

We know little about the life of St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose other name was Theophorus, or “Bearer of God” or “Borne of God.”  He was either the second (if one takes the word of Origen) or the third (if one believes Eusebius of Caesarea) Bishop of Antioch.  In 107 or 115 (depending on the source one consults) ten Roman soldiers escorted St. Ignatius on a long route from Antioch to Rome, to die by becoming lion food.  The purpose of the extended parading of our saint was to humiliate him.  Nevertheless, St. Ignatius conducted himself with dignity and therefore converted many people to Christianity.  Along the way St. Ignatius met St. Polycarp of Smyrna and wrote seven epistles:

  1. To the Ephesians,
  2. To the Magnesians,
  3. To the Trallians,
  4. To the Romans,
  5. To the Philadelphians,
  6. To the Smyrnaeans, and
  7. To Polycarp.

As St. Ignatius wrestled with his anxieties he encouraged others in their faith.

Since I had been impressed by the godly qualities of your mind–anchored, as it seemed, to an unshakable rock–it gave me much pleasure to set eyes on your sainted countenance (may God give me joy of it).  But let me charge you to press on even more strenuously in your course, in all the grace with which you are clothed, and to call all your people to salvation.  You must do justice to your position, by showing the greatest diligence both in its temporal and spiritual duties.  Give thought especially to unity, for there is nothing more important than this.  Make yourself the support of all and sundry, as the Lord is to you, and continue to bear lovingly with them all, as you are doing at present.  Spend your time in constant prayer, and beg for ever larger gifts of wisdom.  Be watchful and unsleeping in spirit.  Address yourself to people personally, as is the way of God Himself, and carry the infirmities of them all on your shoulders, as a good champion of Christ out to do.  The heavier the labour, the richer the reward.

–St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Epistle to Polycarp, Logion 1, in Early Christian Writings (1987), page 109

St. Ignatius, no advocate of sola scriptura, encouraged the frequent celebration of the Eucharist and considered Christian factionalism to be “the beginning of all evils” (the Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Logion 8).

polycarp-of-smyrna

Above:  St. Polycarp of Smyrna

Image in the Public Domain

We also know little about the life and much about the death of St. Polycarp of Smyrna (69-115/156), who studied under St. John the Apostle/Divine/Evangelist.  St. Polycarp, a native and the Bishop of Smyrna, in Asia Minor, was a link between the Apostles of Jesus and St. Irenaeus of Lyons (circa 130-circa 202), the first great Catholic theologian.  St. Polycarp defended Christian orthodoxy against heresies, especially Marcionism (which sought to remove Jewish influences from the canon of scripture) and Valentinianism (a variety of Gnosticism).

In 106 or 114 our saint traveled to Rome to meet with Pope St. Anacetus (reigned circa 155-circa 166).  They agreed to disagree regarding the issue of Quartodecimanism, the position (dominant in churches in Asia Minor) that the churches ought to celebrate Easter on the date of 14 Nisan (the date of the Passover), regardless of the day of the week upon which that date falls.  St. Polycarp favored Quartodecimanism; the Pope thought that the celebration of Easter should always fall on a Sunday.

In 107 or 115, shortly after returning to Smyrna from Rome, St. Polycarp became a martyr.  Authorities arrested him at a pagan festival and burned him at a stake.

St. Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians, perhaps a composite of two epistles (in the style of 2 Corinthians), has survived, fortunately.  (Many ancient documents have not survived, sadly.)  One Evarestus wrote The Martyrdom of Polycarp, which has also survived.  These two documents have provided much invaluable information about St. Polycarp.

Such then is the record of Polycarp the Blessed.  Including those from Philadelphia, he was the twelfth to meet a martyr’s death in Smyrna; though he is the only one to be singled out for universal remembrance and to be talked of everywhere, even in heathen circles.  Not only was he a famous Doctor, he was a martyr without a peer; and one whose martyrdom all aspire to imitate, so fully does it accord with the Gospel of Christ.  His steadfastness proved more than a match for the Governor’s injustice, and won him his immortal crown.  Now, in the fullness of joy among the Apostles  and all the hosts of heaven, he gives glory to the Almighty God and Father, and utters the praises of our Lord Jesus Christ–who is the Saviour of our souls, the Master of our bodies, and the Shepherd of the Catholic Church the wide world over.

–Evarestus, The Martyrdom of Polycarp, Logion 19, in Early Christian Writings (1987), page 131

irenaeus

Above:  St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Image in the Public Domain

St. Polycarp met a very young St. Irenaeus of Lyons (circa 130-circa 202).  We know little about the native of Asia Minor, who studied at Rome and became a priest and Lyons.  We do know, however, that St. Irenaeus was a tolerant man.  Even as he argued against certain heresies he contended for the lenient treatment of heretics.  In the case of the Montanists, apocalyptic ascetics in Asia Minor, St. Irenaeus, who argued against their theology and practices, carried to a letter on their behalf to Pope St. Eleutherius (reigned circa 174-189) in 177/178.  Our saint favored toleration fo the Montanists.  The Pope, who did not consider them to be threats, did not countenance any actions against them.

In our saint’s absence Pothinus, the Bishop of Lyons, became a martyr.  In 178, when St. Irenaeus returned to the city, he became the next bishop.  As the Bishop of Lyons our saint wrote to Pope St. Victor I (reigned 189-198) in support of Quartodecimanism.  St. Irenaeus, the first great Catholic theologian, also wrote against Gnosticism.  Whereas St. Clement of Alexandria (circa 150-circa 210/215) refuted Gnosticism with a Christian Gnosis, St. Irenaeus argued against that heresy by citing the goodness of creation and the resurrection of the dead, quoting scripture, and affirming Apostolic Succession.

Sts. Irenaeus seems to have become a martyr in 200, give or take a few years.

Sts. Ignatius, Polycarp, and Irenaeus were foundational figures in Christianity.  They were spiritual giants to whom we who follow Christ in the twenty-first century owe a great debt of gratitude.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETIUS OF TRIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND BISHOP; AND SAINT AREDIUS OF LIMOGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF KRATIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND HERMIT

THE FEAST OF HENRY USTICK ONDERDONK, EPISCOPAL BISHOP, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Grant, almighty God, that following the teaching of

Sts. Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Irenaeus of Lyons,

we may know you as the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,

that we may be counted worthy ever to be numbered among the sheep who hear his voice;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nehemiah 8:1-8 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Matthew 13:51-52

–Adapted from The Church of South India, The Book of Common Worship (1963), page 67

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Feast of Samuel Wolcott (February 23)   1 comment

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Above:  Samuel Wolcott

Hymn Source = hymntime.com

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SAMUEL WOLCOTT (JULY 2, 1813-FEBRUARY 24, 1886)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Writer

Samuel Wolcott started writing hymns at the age of 55 years.  He composed more than 200 texts, most of which have not remained popular with hymnal committees and editors.  Among these mostly forgotten hymns was “Father, I Own Thy Voice.”  However, “Christ for the World We Sing!” has endured.

Wolcott was a New Englander.  He, born at South Windham, Connecticut, on July 2, 1813, was one of at least six children of Elihu Wolcott (1784-1858) and Rachel McClintock McClure Wolcott (1783-1822).  Our saint’s father died.  His father remarried twice, first to Julianna Wolcott (in 1823) then, after her death, to Sarah Crocker Wolcott (in 1835).  Our saint graduated from Yale College in 1823 and Andover Theological Seminary four years later.

Wolcott, a minister in the Congregational Church, served abroad and in the United States.  From 1840 to 1842 he was a missionary in Syria; bad health forced his return to his homeland.  Our saint subsequently served at:

  1. First Church of Christ, Longmeadow, Massachusetts (1843-1847);
  2. Belchertown Congregational Church, Belchertown, Massachusetts (1847-1853);
  3. High Street Congregational Church, Providence, Rhode Island (1853-1859);
  4. Chicago, Illinois (1859-1862); and
  5. Plymouth Congregational Church, Cleveland, Ohio (1862-1883).

Wolcott was active in the Y.M.C.A., an organization that inspired “Christ for the World We Sing!”  Our saint, a trustee of Oberlin College from 1868 to 1881, also served as the secretary of the Ohio Home Missionary Society (1870s).

Wolcott married Harriet Amanda Pope (1821-1901).  The couple had at least 11 children, born from 1844 to 1863.  Among their children was Edward Oliver Wolcott (1848-1905), U.S. Senator from Colorado (1889-1901).

Our saint retired to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, in 1883.  He died there on February 24, 1886.  He was 72 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETIUS OF TRIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND BISHOP; AND SAINT AREDIUS OF LIMOGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF KRATIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND HERMIT

THE FEAST OF HENRY USTICK ONDERDONK, EPISCOPAL BISHOP, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Samuel Wolcott,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Syria and the United States of America.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716

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Feast of Sts. Willigis and Bernward (February 23)   1 comment

Above:  The Western Region of the Holy Roman Empire in 1000 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT WILLIGIS (DIED 1011)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mainz

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SAINT BERNWARD (DIED 1022)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Hildesheim

His feast transferred from November 20

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St. Willigis, as a priest, became chaplain to Holy Roman Emperor Otto II (reigned 973-983), who appointed him Archbishop of Mainz in 975.  Archbishop Willigis crowned the three-year-old Otto III as Emperor in 983 and, along with regents, helped to govern the realm during Otto III’s minority.  And, after Otto III died in 1002, St. Willigis helped name Henry II (reigned 1002-1024) as Emperor.  The saint was more than a statesman; he also sent missionaries to Sweden and Denmark, built a cathedral at Mainz, founded many churches, and named many capable bishops.

St. Bernward became an orphan then grew up in the household of his uncle, Volkmar, Bishop of Utrecht.  Ordained a priest at Mainz, St. Bernward became imperial chaplain and tutor to the seven-year-old Emperor Otto III in 987 and Bishop of Hildesheim six years later.  As Bishop he built St. Michael’s Church and monastery at Hildesheim and earned a reputation as a capable leader.  He was also involved in a jurisdictional dispute with St. Willigis over the convent and church at Gandershiem.  Rome settled the matter in St. Bernward’s favor, and St. Willigis accepted the decision.    St. Bernward joined the Benedictine order in his later years.  He died on November 20, 1022.

I chose to pair these two saints on the same day because their lives intersected.  We who call ourselves Christians need not agree all the time; indeed, we will not.  But we can be gracious and agreeable.  Celebrating Sts. Willigis and Bernard together reinforces this point.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 8, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN RINCKART, ARCHDEACON OF EILENBURG

THE FEAST OF RICHARD BAXTER, ANGLICAN THEOLOGIAN

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Almighty God,

you raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servants Saint Willigis and Saint Bernward.

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

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Revised on December 6, 2016

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for February   Leave a comment

Winter, by Hendrick Avercamp

Image in the Public Domain

THIS IS THE RESET MODE OF THE ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS FOR FEBRUARY, PENDING FURTHER REVISION.

1 (Henry Morse, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1645)

  • Benedict Daswa, South African Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1990
  • Charles Seymour Robinson, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Musician
  • Sigebert III, King of Austrasia

2 (PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE)

3 (Anskar and Rimbert, Roman Catholic Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen)

  • Adelaide Anne Procter, English Poet and Feminist
  • Alfred Delp, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • Jemima Thompson Luke, English Congregationalist Hymn Writer’ and James Edmeston, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Samuel Davies, American Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

4 (CORNELIUS THE CENTURION, WITNESS TO THE CRUCIFIXION)

5 (Martyrs of Japan, 1597-1639)

  • Avitus of Vienne, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Jane (Joan) of Valois, Cofounder of the Sisters of the Annunciation
  • Phileas and Philoromus, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 304

6 (Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, Poet and Hymn Writer)

  • Mateo Correa-Magallanes and Miguel Agustin Pro, Mexican Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1927
  • Vedast (Vaast), Roman Catholic Bishop of Arras and Cambrai

7 (Helder Camara, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Olinda and Recife)

  • Adalbert Nierychlewski, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942
  • Moses, Apostle to the Saracens
  • William Boyce and John Alcock, Anglican Composers

8 (Josephine Bakhita, Roman Catholic Nun)

  • Jerome Emiliani, Founder of the Company of the Servants of the Poor
  • John of Matha and Felix of Valois, Founders of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity
  • Josephina Gabriella Bonino, Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family
  • Mitchell J. Dahood, Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

9 (Alto of Altomunster, Roman Catholic Hermit)

  • Porfirio, Martyr, 203

10 (Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola; and her twin brother, Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • Benedict of Aniane, Restorer of Western Monasticism; and Ardo, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Norbert of Xanten, Founder of the Premonstratensians; Hugh of Fosses, Second Founder of the Premonstratensians; and Evermod, Bishop of Ratzeburg
  • Philip Armes, Anglican Church Organist

11 (ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM)

12 (Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, and Jarena Lee, Evangelists and Social Activists)

  • Benjamin Schmolck, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • Charles Freer Andrews, Anglican Priest
  • Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Henry Williams Baker, Anglican Priest
  • Michael Weisse, German Moravian Minister and Hymn Writer and Translator; and Jan Roh, Bohemian Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

13 (AQUILA, PRISCILLA, AND APOLLOS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

14 (Abraham of Carrhae, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs
  • Johann Michael Altenburg, German Lutheran Pastor, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • Victor Olof Petersen, Swedish-American Lutheran Hymn Translator

15 (New Martyrs of Libya, 2015)

  • Ben Salmon, U.S. Roman Catholic Pacifist and Conscientious Objector
  • Francis Harold Rowley, Northern Baptist Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer
  • Michael Praetorius, German Lutheran Composer and Musicologist
  • Thomas Bray, Anglican Priest and Missionary

16 (Philipp Melanchthon, German Lutheran Theologian and Scribe of the Reformation)

  • Christian Frederick Martin, Sr., and Charles Augustus Zoebisch, German-American Instrument Makers
  • Louis (Lewis) F. Kampmann, U.S. Moravian Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Translator
  • Nicholas Kasatkin, Orthodox Archbishop of All Japan

17 (August Crull, German-American Lutheran Minister, Poet, Professor, Hymnodist, and Hymn Translator)

  • Janini Luwum, Ugandan Anglican Archbishop and Martyr, 1977

18 (Colman of Lindisfarne, Agilbert, and Wilfrid, Bishops)

  • Barbasymas, Sadoth of Seleucia, and Their Companions, Martyrs, 342
  • Guido di Pietro, a.k.a. Fra Angelico, Roman Catholic Monk and Artist
  • James Drummond Burns, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

19 (Nerses I the Great, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Mesrop, Bible Translator)

  • Bernard Barton, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Elizabeth C. Clephane, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer

20 (Henri de Lucac, French Roman Catholic Priest, Cardinal, and Theologian)

  • Wulfric of Haselbury, Roman Catholic Hermit

21 (John Henry Newman, Cardinal)

  • Arnulf of Metz, Roman Catholic Bishop; and Germanus of Granfel, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr, 677

22 (Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst, Anti-Nazi Martyrs at Munich, Germany)

  • Bernhardt Severin Ingemann, Danish Lutheran Author and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Hopper, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Margaret of Cortona, Penitent and Foundress of the Poor Ones
  • Praetextatus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Rouen

23 (Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Irenaeus of Lyons, Bishops and Martyrs)

  • Alexander Akimetes, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Samuel Wolcott, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Writer
  • Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Willigis, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mainz; and Bernward, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hildesheim

24 (MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

25 (Gregory of Nazianzus the Elder, Nonna, and Their Children:  Gregory of Nazianzus the Younger, Caesarius of Nazianzus, and Gorgonia of Nazianzus)

  • Felix Varela, Cuban Roman Catholic Priest and Patriot
  • John Roberts, Episcopal Missionary to the Shoshone and Arapahoe
  • Karl Friedrich Lochner, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Theodor Fliedner, Renewer of the Female Diaconate; and Elizabeth Fedde, Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess

26 (Antonio Valdivieso, Roman Catholic Bishop of Leon and Martyr)

  • Andrew Reed, English Congregationalist Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer
  • Emily Malbone Morgan, Founder of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross
  • Paula of St. Joseph of Calasanz, Foundress of the Daughters of Mary

27 (Nicholas Ferrar, Anglican Deacon and Founder of Little Gidding; George Herbert, Anglican Priest and Metaphysical Poet; and All Saintly Parish Priests)

  • Anne Line and Roger Filcock, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1601
  • Gabriel Possenti, Penitent
  • Luis de Leon, Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian

28 (Thomas Binney, English Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and “Archbishop of Nonconformity”)

  • Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, African-American Educators

29 (John Cassian and John Climacus, Roman Catholic Monks and Spiritual Writers)

 

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

Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A   Leave a comment

Above:  Mount Tabor, Traditional Site of the Transfiguration

Jesus, Consistent with the Law and the Prophets

FEBRUARY 23, 2020

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Exodus 24:12-18 (New Revised Standard Version):

The LORD said to Moses,

Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.

So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said,

Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

THEN THIS PSALM

Psalm 2 (New Revised Standard Version):

Why do the the nations conspire,

and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the LORD and his anointed, saying,

Let us burst their bonds asunder,

and cast their cords from us.

He who sits in the heavens laughs;

the LORD has them in derision.

Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

and terrify them in his fury, saying,

I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.

I will tell of the decree of the LORD:

He said to me,

You are my son;

today I have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession.

You shall break them with a rod of iron,

and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

be warned, O rulers of the earth.

Serve the LORD with fear,

with trembling kiss his feet,

or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;

for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Happy are all who take refuge in him.

OR THIS PSALM

Psalm 99 (New Revised Standard Version):

The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble!

He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!

The LORD is great in Zion;

he is exalted over all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name.

Holy is he!

Mighty King, lover of justice,

you have established equity;

you have executed justice

and righteousness in Jacob.

Extol the LORD our God;

worship at his footstool.

Holy is he!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,

Samuel also was among those who called on his name.

They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.

He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;

they kept his decrees,

and the statutes that he gave them.

O LORD our God, you answered them;

you were a forgiving God to them,

but an avenger of their wrongdoings.

Extol the LORD our God,

and worship at his holy mountain;

for the LORD our God is holy.

THEN THE EPISTLE READING

2 Peter 1:16-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying,

This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.

We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

THEN THE GOSPEL READING

Matthew 17:1-9 (New Revised Standard Version):

Six days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus,

Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said,

This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!

When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying,

Get up and do not be afraid.

And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them,

Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.

The Collect:

O God, who before the passion of your only­begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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When I read about events such as the Ascension and the Transfiguration I suspect that more happened than I read in texts.  I do not doubt the veracity of the accounts, but I suspect that words were inadequate to the full scope of events in question.  One just had to be there to get the full effect, and I am about 2,000 years too late for that.

The Transfiguration was a revelatory experience for the accompanying apostles.  They glimpsed the true nature of Jesus, which entails being consistent with the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).  [A true story:  Recently Beth Long, my Rector, repeated a question a child in the parish asked.  How, this young person queried, did the apostles recognize Moses and Elijah?  Beth replied that she did not know.  Indeed, that is an intriguing question and a plot hole, but it does not distract me from the point of having Jesus, Moses, and Elijah together briefly.]  Yet Peter–”God bless him,” as we say in the U.S. South–wanted to remain in the moment and institutionalize it.  This reaction, although well-intentioned, was misguided, for Jesus and the apostles needed to move along.

They were headed for Jerusalem, where the Passion Narrative would unfold. The Gospel of Luke contains another account of the Transfiguration. Just a few verses after that passage, Jesus “turned his face toward Jerusalem,” and his impending death. (Luke 9:51) This is an important turning point in the Gospel of Luke, and one should read verses before it and after it in its context.  With that in mind, I propose that the Transfiguration was also a “booster shot” for Jesus, who was about the embark on a difficult, yet necessary, course.

When pondering the calendar of the Christian Church, one needs to remember that the earliest feast Christians observed was Easter.  Even Christmas (the observance of which developed later) exists in the shadow of Easter.  And the Transfiguration does, also.

The placement of the Transfiguration on this Sunday is appropriate because the next season in the Christian year is Lent, and the next Sunday will be the First Sunday in Lent.  At the end of that 40-days season is Holy Week.  So we Christians need to set our faces toward Jerusalem, too.

KRT

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/week-of-6-epiphany-saturday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/week-of-proper-1-saturday-year-2/