Archive for the ‘February 29’ Category

Feast of Patrick Hamilton (February 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Scotland

Image in the Public Domain

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PATRICK HAMILTON (1504-FEBRUARY 29, 1528)

First Scottish Protestant Martyr, 1528

As anyone who pays close attention to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, should know, martyrs constitute one of the major categories of saints of whom I write.  At my Ecumenical Calendar, almost all martyrs are Christian; the exception applies to certain Biblical characters.  Therefore, most martyrs may be one of the following:  Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Protestant, or Anglican.  One subcategory of martyrs is “First ____ Martyr.”  To that subcategory I add Patrick Hamilton, who at the age of 24 years or so, became the first Scottish Protestant Martyr.

Hamilton grew up a Roman Catholic.  He, born in Lankashire, Scotland, in 1504, was a son of Sir Patrick Hamilton and Catherine Stewart (or Stuart), a granddaughter of King James II of Scotland (reigned 1437-1460).  Our saint, the titular Abbot of Fearn Abbey, Ross-shire, used that source of income to finance his studies in Europe.  He studied at the Sorbonne, Paris, where he earned his M.A. in 1520.  While in Paris, Hamilton read some of the writings of Martin Luther.  Our saint also visited Desiderius Erasmus in Leuven.

Above:  Ruins of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, St Andrews, Scotland, 1842

Image in the Public Domain

Hamilton, having returned to Scotland, joined the faculty of the University of St Andrews in 1524.  He stayed out of trouble for a few years.  Our saint even composed a musical setting of the Mass and conducted the premiere performance at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.  Preaching, however, got Hamilton into trouble; he first had to contend with allegations of heresy in 1527.  Hamilton spent part of that year in Marburg, Germany.  There he studied at the university and met William Tyndale, who became a martyr in 1536.

Late in 1527, however, Hamilton returned to Scotland.  He went to the home of his brother in Kincavel, preached often, and married.  The name of his wife has not survived in historical records.  Our saint’s marriage was brief.  He accepted the invitation of David Beaton, the Abbot of Arbroath, to meet at St Andrews.  Hamilton preached and argued for a month prior to his trial before a council of bishops and other clergymen.  He, convicted of heresy on February 29, 1528, burned at the stake that day.

Perhaps those who condemned Hamilton to die thought they were dealing a fatal blow to the perceived existential threat of Protestantism in Scotland.  If so, they were wrong; Hamilton’s martyrdom accelerated the pace of the Scottish Reformation.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR, 1729

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Patrick Hamilton,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with

our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of Samuel Simon Schmucker (February 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  Samuel Simon Schmucker

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL SIMON SCHMUCKER (FEBRUARY 28, 1799-JULY 26, 1873)

U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

Samuel Simon Schumucker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

I recall, while growing up as a good United Methodist boy in rural southern Georgia, hearing people say,

There are Baptists then there are Baptists.

That principle applies to Lutherans, too; degrees of Lutheran confessionalism exist.  If one, for example, labels The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, despite its strong confessionalism and social and theological conservatism, as being too liberal, one has a selection of Lutheran denominations from which to select a church home.

Samuel Simon Schumucker changed throughout his life; he was human, after all.  Lutheranism within the United States of America also changed during his lifetime.  Schmucker effected much of that change, but other change made him, once a prominent leader, an increasingly marginal figure in many quarters.  Yet Schmucker’s legacy has remained relevant within and beyond Lutheranism in North America.

Schmucker came from a devout and large Lutheran family.  He, born in Hagerstown, Maryland, entered the world on February 28, 1779.  Our saint’s mother was Elizabeth Catherine Gross (1771-1820).  His father was the Reverend John George Schmucker (1771-1854), the President of the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States (the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, for short) in 1820 and 1821.  Our saint was one of the best-educated young Lutheran ministers in the United States.  He had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton Theological Seminary.  In 1820, when young Schmucker was preparing to assume pastoral duties in New Market, Virginia, he and his father helped to found the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America (the General Synod, in short).  The General Synod was the first national confederation of Lutheran synods in the United States.  Schmucker, who grew quickly into a leader of the General Synod, attended every convention through 1870.  At its founding, the General Synod encompassed almost all of the U.S. Lutheran Synods and the vast majority of U.S. Lutherans.  Within a few years, however, doctrinal disputes reduced the membership of the General Synod; the Ministerium of Pennsylvania defected in 1823.  (Then it rejoined in 1853 and departed again in 1867.)  Proposed union with the German Reformed Church caused another controversy in 1830.  Our saint saved the General Synod in 1823 and 1830.  Although some synods left the General Synod, others formed and affiliated with it over the years.

The General Synod was too liberal for many Lutherans in the United States in the 1800s.  This was especially ironic in the 1820s.  Our saint was relatively conservative; he advocated for an increased prominence of the Augsburg Confession (1530) in U.S. Lutheranism.  He also sought to purge all traces of Deism from U.S. Lutheranism.  Schmucker, like many Christians of his time, held an overly strict position on “worldly amusements;” the following entertainments (a few of them actually sinful), among others, were forbidden:

  1. Playing games of chance,
  2. Playing checkers,
  3. Playing chess,
  4. Casting dice,
  5. Playing cards,
  6. Listening to opera,
  7. Attending vocal performances in concert halls,
  8. Using tobacco,
  9. Consuming liquor, and
  10. Wearing fashionable clothing.

If Schmucker was too liberal, what was the standard of conservatism?  Perhaps his position that intellectual rigor was no threat to Christianity marked him as a liberal and an alleged heretic.  As time passed, so did his abolitionism, opposition to the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848), and acceptance of Evolution.

Schmucker and his father recognized the need for a Lutheran seminary in the United States.  They helped to found Gettysburg Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in.  Schmucker, Sr., served as a trustee.  Our saint served on the faculty and as the President for nearly four decades.  The seminary gave rise to another institution, Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) in 1832.

Schmucker wrote a textbook, Elements of Popular Theology, with Special Reference to the Doctrines of the Reformation, as Avowed Before the Diet at Augsburg, in MDXXX (1834).  This volume indicated our saint’s concept of orthodox Christianity.  He defined orthodox Christianity according to a common creedal core, which he defined as

fundamental doctrines of Scripture,

while eschewing overly specific creeds and allowing for disagreement in secondary matters.  Parts of some creeds were optional, Schmucker argued.  Orthodox Christianity, according to our saint, was Protestant yet did not include all Protestants.  Roman Catholics, Unitarians, Campbellites, Baptists, and Deists were not orthodox Christians, according to Schmucker.

Schmucker’s critics, starting in the 1830s, in particular, found more and more theological ammunition to use against him.  The General Synod permitted much theological latitude.  Our saint’s Eucharistic and Baptismal theology was closer to that of Calvinism than to that of Lutheranism.  (He did graduate from a Presbyterian seminary.)  He, influenced by the Second Great Awakening, was also a revivalist, to a point.  Puritanism and Pietism were prominent in his theology.  (Pietism had been part of a segment of Lutheran theology for some time by the 1800s.)  Schmucker’s “American Lutheranism” made him open to ecumenical relations with non-Lutherans he defined as orthodox.

This became evident by 1838, when Schmucker proposed church union–confederation, really–on what he called

the apostolic basis.

This plan offered six points of union:

  1. Variety in liturgy, polity, and discipline;
  2. Toleration of theological diversity within the ecclesiastical confederation;
  3. A common creed;
  4. Full communion and open communion within the ecumenical confederation;
  5. Cooperation in matters pertaining to “the common cause of Christianity;” and
  6. The Bible as the main textbook for religious and theological instruction.

Schmucker manifested other evidence of his liberalism as he aged and the General Synod became increasingly confessional and conservative, yet never sufficiently conservative, according to many U.S. Lutherans.  In 1855 our saint worked on the proposed American Rescension of the Augsburg Confession.  The controversial proposal, which most synods of the General Synod refused to accept, deleted the condemnations of non-Lutheran groups, removed mentions of baptismal regeneration, denied Consubstantiation, and argued that the Augsburg Confession (1530) contained errors.

Schmucker was also a liturgist.  He, as the head of the General Synod’s Committee on Liturgy of 1866, in lieu of the Liturgy of 1856.  The Provisional Liturgy of 1866 influenced the Washington Service (1876), which, in turn, presaged the Common Service (1888).  The Liturgy of 1856 was noteworthy for reintroducing The Apostles’ Creed (complete with “the holy Catholic Church”) to corporate worship.  A greater influence on the Common Service was the Reverend Beale Melanchton Schmucker (1827-1888), the more conservative, formalistic, and confessional son of our saint.  Beale, whose liturgical sensibilities were evident in the Ministerium of Pennsylvania’s Liturgy for Use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1860) and the General Council’s Church Book for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (1868), was one of the greatest experts on liturgy and liturgical development.  He was, according to accounts, a walking encyclopedia on the subjects.  He was one of the main reasons the General Council had a stronger liturgical  tradition than the General Synod.

Schmucker lived long enough to witness the General Synod divide twice.  The General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America organized in 1863.  This organization became the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America in 1866 then the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the South in 1876.  Ten years later, with the addition of the Tennessee Synod, the Southern General Synod became the United Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South.  The General Synod (1820) suffered another schism in 1867, when the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America came into existence.  The merger that created The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) in 1918 repaired the schisms of 1863 and 1867.  The General Synod (1820) moved to the right as the General Council moved to the left.  The two confederations moved toward each other.

Schmucker married three times and outlived his first two wives.  He married Eleanora Geiger (1799-1823) in 1821.  Wife number two was Mary Catharine Steenbergen (1808-1848).  Our saint’s third wife was Heisther (Esther), who died in 1882.  Schmucker fathered at least four children.

Schmucker, aged 84 years, died in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1873.

I, as an Episcopalian, am creedal, not confessional.  I also accept science and oppose all forms of slavery.  Anglican collegiality is one of the defining characteristics of my faith.  Therefore, I find much to admire about Schmucker.  I also recognize points of strong disagreement with him.  Yet, whenever I ponder denominational full communion agreements, such as the one the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church share, I think Schmucker would approve.

Alex Haley advised,

Find the good and praise it.

I praise the good in the legacy of Samuel Simon Schmucker.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DENIS, BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 250

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GROSSETESTE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, PHILOSOPHER, AND BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF WILFRED THOMASON GRENFELL, MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Samuel Simon Schmucker,

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), 60

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Feast of Mary Lyon (February 29)   1 comment

Above:  Mary Lyon

Image in the Public Domain

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MARY MASON LYON (FEBRUARY 28, 1797-MARCH 5, 1849)

U.S. Congregationalist Feminist and Educator

Mary Lyon comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Ideas that have become mainstream used to be revolutionary.  Consider, O reader, gender roles, especially those proscribed for women in the United States of America.  Astute students of women’s history know of Republican Motherhood and Separate Spheres.

Republican Motherhood was the idea that women were supposed to be mothers of the republic.  Their job was supposedly to raise good citizens, not to seek and hold public office or have careers, much less to vote.  Women could respectably lobby office holders, but not exercise power.  Men and women moved in Separate Spheres.  Education reinforced the subordinate roles of women; the curricula for male and female students differed.

Mary Lyon challenged this.  She, raised a Baptist, debuted in Buckland, Massachusetts, on February 28, 1797.  She, the sixth of eight children, grew up in a poor family on a farm.  Our saint’s father died when she was five years old.  Lyon mastered the essential skills of daily survival on a farm.  She was also inquisitive beyond the knowledge of social norms dictated for women; Lyon found geology fascinating.  She made time for studies.  Lyon found a mentor, Congregationalist minister Joseph Emerson, one of her teachers.  He, unlike many other men of the time and place, treated women as intelligent people.  Under his influence, she became a Congregationalist.

Lyon, a teacher at various schools, affirmed the right of girls and women to equal formal education (including college) with boys and men.  She linked this cause to the Great Commission, for she argued that well-educated women were better evangelists than poorly-educated women were.  Our saint proved instrumental in founding Wheaton Female Seminary (now College), Wheaton, Massachusetts, in 1835.  That school was the first one in the United States to offer female students a curriculum equal to that for male students.  Lyon founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now College), South Hadley, Massachusetts, which opened on November 9, 1837.  She, having raised funds for the institution, served as its first principal for more than a decade.

Lyon, aged 52 years, died of natural causes in South Hadley, on March 5, 1849.

Her influence has continued.

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Living God, whose image all people bear, we thank you for the life and legacy of your servant Mary Mason Lyon,

who rejected social norms that mandated a curriculum that reinforced the subordinate roles of women in the United States of America.

May we, as a society and as individuals, cease to hold back segments of our society

from achieving their potential, and therefore, from holding our society back.

May we do this for your glory and for the common good.

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

Genesis 1:26-27

Psalm 100

Galatians 3:23-29

Luke 10:38-42

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 8, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ERIK ROUTLEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMNODIST

THE FEAST OF ABRAHAM RITTER, U.S. MORAVIAN MERCHANT, HISTORIAN, MUSICIAN, AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD WHATELY, ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN, IRELAND

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM DWIGHT PORTER BLISS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST; AND RICHARD THEODORE ELY; ECONOMISTS

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Feast of Marian Anderson (February 29)   3 comments

Above:  Marian Anderson Performing at the Lincoln Memorial, 1939

Image in the Public Domain

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MARIAN ANDERSON FISHER (FEBRUARY 27, 1897-APRIL 8, 1993)

African-American Singer and Civil Rights Activist

Marian Anderson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Anderson grew up in a devout Christian home.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 1897, was one of three daughters of Annie Delilah Rucker (1874-1964) and John Berkeley Anderson (c. 1872-1910).  Annie, who did not have a college degree, had taught in Virginia.  She could not teach in Pennsylvania, however; a state law barred African Americans (yet not whites) without a college degree from teaching.  So Annie took care of children for a living.  John sold coal and ice at the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia.  Eventually, he added another source of revenue–selling liquor.  The Andersons were active in Union Baptist Church, South Philadelphia.  All three daughters sang.  Our saint joined the church’s junior choir when she was six years old.  She joined the People’s Chorus in the city four years later.  Marian performed solos in both choirs.

Church and family helped Anderson achieve her potential.  Her father died when she was 12 years old.  Annie and the three daughters moved in with John’s parents.  In 1912 our saint graduated from Stanton Grammar School, but her family could not afford to send her to high school and to take music lessons.  Anderson’s church eventually paid for her to take music lessons and to attend South Philadelphia High School.  Our saint graduated in 1921.

Racism proved to be a professional obstacle for Anderson in the United States.  She, rejected from the Philadelphia Music Academy because of her skin color, studied music privately.  In 1925 our saint won a contest in New York Philharmonic sponsored.  The prize was a concert, at which she performed with the orchestra.  The date of that concert was August 26, 1925.  Anderson continued to study music privately.  She performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 1928.  Our saint’s career outside her native country was more successful than in the United States.  In 1937 she was in Princeton, New Jersey, to perform in Princeton, New Jersey.  When a hotel turned Anderson away because of her race, Professor Albert Einstein invited her to be his guest.  This was not the last time Anderson spent time with the Einstein family.

Perhaps Anderson’s most famous concert was her performance at the Lincoln Memorial, in 1939.  The Daughters of the American Revolution had denied our saint the opportunity to sing at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for a larger, better venue instead.  Anderson finally sang at Constitution Hall in 1943.

Anderson was a trailblazer.  She performed the role of Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City.  In so doing, our saint became the first African American to perform for that opera company.  The intensely patriotic vocalist, who entertained military personnel during World War II and the Korean War, also performed at President Dwight Eisenhower’s second inauguration (1957) and President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration (1961).  Eisenhower appointed Anderson to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (1958f).  Furthermore, our saint, active in the Civil Rights Movement, received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.

Anderson married architect Orpheus H. Fisher (1900-1986) on July 17, 1943.  She thereby became the stepmother of Fisher’s son, James.  Our saint, who lived on a farm near Danbury, Connecticut, from 1940 to 1992, retired on April 10, 1965, the date of her last performance at Carnegie Hall.

Anderson moved to Portland, Oregon, to reside with her nephew, James DePriest, a conductor in 1992.  She died in that city on April 8, 1993.  Our saint was 96 years old.

Anderson had a simple, non-judgmental faith she learned from her mother.  She trusted in God without condemning people whose theology differed from hers.  God, as our saint understood God, was loving and providential.

Marian Anderson’s life spanned decades of much cultural and legal change, especially regarding matters of race.  She helped to create some of that change; our saint did her part to leave the world and the United States of America better than they had been.  Events of the last few years have proven (as if anyone needed evidence) that any talk of the “death of racism” is ridiculous.

The work of fighting racism has fallen to those of us who still have pulses.  May we do our parts, so that those who follow us chronologically will have less work to do in this arena than they would otherwise.

I remember the casual racism around which I grew up.  My parents raised me to reject racism, but many people around me had a different attitude.  Seldom did any of these racists–classmates or some of my father’s parishioners, usually–bother to use code words in lieu of slurs.  I recall know that this language and the bias behind it were wrong.  Yet I also know that some of that racism rubbed off on me, as if by osmosis.  Some thoughts I know to be immoral occur sometimes.  Only God and I know when this happens, for I never express these thoughts.  No, I confess them to God and seek forgiveness.  I entertain the better angels of my nature.

The beginning of resisting racism in society, an institution, a community, et cetera, is choosing not to cave into it as it manifests withing oneself, unless one is a rare person who lacks any trace of racism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILHELM WEXELS, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; HIS NIECE, MARIE WEXELSEN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER; LUDWIG LINDEMAN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND MUSICOLOGIST; AND MAGNUS LANDSTAD, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, FOLKLORIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF BRADFORD TORREY, U.S. ORNITHOLOGIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN GOTTFRIED WEBER, GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOHN WOOLMAN, QUAKER ABOLITIONIST

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Marian Anderson,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Chris, 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), 60

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Feast of Sts. John Cassian and John Climacus (February 29)   2 comments

Vatican Flag

Above:  The Vatican Flag

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JOHN CASSIAN (360-435)

Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, and Spiritual Writer

His feast = February 29

influenced

SAINT JOHN CLIMACUS (CIRCA 570 OR 579-MARCH 649)

Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Spiritual Writer

Also known as Saint John of the Ladder, Saint John Scholasticus, and Saint John the Sinaita

His feast transferred from March 30

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st-john-cassian

Above:  St. John Cassian

Image in the Public Domain

St. John Cassian was an influential figure in both Eastern and Western Christianity.  He, from what is now Romania, entered the world in 360.  Our saint came from a wealthy family and received an excellent education.  For about three years he and Germanus, a friend, were monks at Bethlehem.  Next the duo pursued monastic life in Egypt.  Circa 399 they and about 300 other monks left for Constantinople after St. Theophilus, the Pope of Alexandria (reigned 384-412) and successor of St. Mark the Apostle, wrote a letter opposing Origen‘s noncorporeal understanding of God.  The monks sought the protection of the Alexandrian Pope’s rival, St. John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople.  At the imperial capital St. John Cassian became a deacon.  In 404, following the deposition of St. John Chrysostom, St. John Cassian traveled to Rome to defend the patriarch to the Bishop of Rome.

St. John Cassian spent the rest of his life in the West.  He, ordained to the priesthood, settled at Marseilles, Gaul.  Circa 415 our saint founded a monastery and a convent at that city.  He also wrote about monasticism in the Institutes and the Conferences.  St. Benedict of Nursia (circa 480-circa 550) was so impressed with the Conferences that he listed it as one of the books for reading aloud after supper.

the-ladder-of-divine-ascent

Above:  Icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent

Image in the Public Domain

St. John Cassian, who died at Marseilles in 435, influenced St. John Climacus, born in Syria circa 579.  He became a monk at Mt. Sinai at the age of 16 years.  Eventually our saint became an anchorite then an abbot there.  Finally, shortly before his death, St. John Climacus resigned his abbotcy to become a hermit again.  His second name, “Climacus,” came from his influential book, translated into English as The Ladder to Paradise and as The Ladder of Divine Ascent.  He wrote of the 30 steps to moral perfection, with each step corresponding to a year of Christ’s life from birth to baptism.  The steps were:

  1. On the renunciation of the world;
  2. On detachment;
  3. On exile or pilgrimage;
  4. On blessed and ever-memorable obedience;
  5. On painstaking and true repentance which constitute the life of holy convicts; and about the prison;
  6. On remembrance of death;
  7. On mourning which causes joy;
  8. On freedom from anger and on meekness;
  9. On remembrance of wrongs;
  10. On slander or calumny;
  11. On talkativeness and silence;
  12. On lying;
  13. On despondency;
  14. On the clamorous, yet wicked monster–the stomach;
  15. On incorruptible purity and chastity to which the corruptible attain by toil and sweat;
  16. On the love of money or avarice;
  17. On poverty (that hastens heavenward);
  18. On insensibility, that is, deadening the soul and the death of the mind before the death of the body;
  19. On sleep, prayer, and psalm-singing in the chapel;
  20. On bodily vigil and how to use it to attain spiritual vigil and how to practice it;
  21. On unmanly and puerile cowardice;
  22. On the many forms of vainglory;
  23. On mad pride, and, in the same Step, on unclean blasphemous thoughts;
  24. On meekness, simplicity, guilelessness which come not from nature but from habit, and about malice;
  25. On the destroyer of the passions, most sublime humility, which is rooted in spiritual feeling;
  26. On discernment of thoughts, passions and virtues;
  27. On holy solitude of body and soul;
  28. On holy and blessed prayer, mother of virtues, and on the attitude of mind and body in prayer;
  29. Concerning heaven on earth, or godlike dispassion and perfection, and the resurrection of the soul before the general resurrection; and
  30. Concerning the linking together of the supreme trinity among the virtues.

Climacus, who died in March 649, became an influential figure in both Eastern and Western monasticism via his book.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF LUKE OF PRAGUE AND JOHN AUGUSTA, MORAVIAN BISHOPS AND HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF BLESSED KAZIMIERZ TOMAS SYKULSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF LARS OLSEN SKREFSRUD, HANS PETER BOERRESEN, AND PAUL OLAF BODDING, LUTHERAN MISSIONARIES IN INDA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED SEVERIN OTT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom, and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servants Sts. John Cassian and John Climacus,

and we pray that by their teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth we have seen

in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for February   Leave a comment

Winter, by Hendrick Avercamp

Image in the Public Domain

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
  • James Nicholas Joubert and Marie Elizabeth Lange, Founders of the Oblate Sisters of Providence
  • 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)

  • Cornelia Hancock, U.S. Quaker Nurse, Educator, and Humanitarian; “Florence Nightingale of North America”
  • Mateo Correa-Magallanes and Miguel Agustin Pro, Mexican Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1927
  • Orange Scott, U.S. Methodist Minister, Abolitionist, and first President of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection
  • 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
  • Daniel J. Harrington, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar
  • 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 (Danny Thomas, U.S. Roman Catholic Entertainer and Humanitarian; Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital)

  • Alto of Altomunster, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • Bruce M. Metzger, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Biblical Translator
  • John Tietjen, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Ecumenist, and Bishop
  • 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
  • Julia Williams Garnet, African-American Abolitionist and Educator; her husband, Henry Highland Garnet, African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist; his second wife, Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, African-American Suffragette and Educator; her sister, Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, African-American Physician; and her second husband, Theophilus Gould Steward, U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Minister, Army Chaplain, and Professor
  • 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
  • Henry Williams Baker, Anglican Priest, Hymnal Editor, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • 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)

  • Charles Todd Quintard, Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee
  • 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)

  • Antoni Leszczewicz, Polish Roman Catholic Priest, and His Companions, Martyrs, 1943
  • Janini Luwum, Ugandan Anglican Archbishop and Martyr, 1977
  • Johann Heermann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • John Meyendorff, Russian-French-American Orthodox Priest, Scholar, and Ecumenist

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
  • Henry B. Whipple, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota
  • 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)

  • Agnes Tsao Kou Ying, Agatha Lin Zhao, and Lucy Yi Zhenmei, Chinese Roman Catholic Catechists and Martyrs, 1856, 1858, and 1862; Auguste Chapdelaine, French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr, 1856; and Laurentius Bai Xiaoman, Chinese Roman Catholic Convert and Martyr, 1856
  • Bernard Barton, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Elizabeth C. Clephane, Scottish Presbyterian Humanitarian and Hymn Writer
  • Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Episcopal Priest, Ecumenist, and Liturgist; Dean of American Liturgists

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

  • Charles Sheldon, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Gospel Theologian
  • Gregorio Allegri, Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Singer; brother of Domenico Allegri, Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Singer
  • Stanislawa Rodzinska, Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1945
  • Wulfric of Haselbury, Roman Catholic Hermit

21 (John Henry Newman, English Roman Catholic Priest-Cardinal)

  • Arnulf of Metz, Roman Catholic Bishop; and Germanus of Granfel, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr, 677
  • Austin Carroll (Margaret Anne Carroll), Irish-American Roman Catholic Nun, Author, and Educator
  • Robert Southwell, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1595
  • Thomas Pormort, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1592

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, 1945
  • 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
  • Jakob Hutter, Founder of the Hutterities, and Anabaptist Martyr, 1536; and his wife, Katharina Hutter, Anabaptist Martyr, 1538
  • 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, Roman Catholic Penitent
  • Luis de Leon, Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian
  • Raphael of Brooklyn, Syrian-American Russian Orthodox Bishop of Brooklyn

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

  • Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, African-American Educators
  • Fred Rogers, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • Joseph Badger, Sr., U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister; First Missionary to the Western Reserve
  • Pedro Arrupe, Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized, and Superior General of the Society of Jesus

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

  • Marian Anderson, African-American Singer and Civil Rights Activist
  • Mary Lyon, U.S. Congregationalist Feminist and Educator
  • Patrick Hamilton, First Scottish Protestant Martyr, 1528
  • Samuel Simon Schmucker, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

 

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