Archive for the ‘January 4’ Category

That Old Sweet Song of Angels   Leave a comment

nativity-and-annunciation-to-the-shepherds

Above:  Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds

Image in the Public Domain

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Long ago the angels vanished–

But their song is sounding still!

Millions now with hope are singing,

“Peace on earth, to men good will.”

Sing, my heart!  Tho’ peace may tarry,

Sing good will mid human strife!

Till that old sweet song of angels

Shall attune to heav’n our life.

–William Allen Knight (1863-1957), “Come, My Heart, Canst Thou Not Hear It” (1915), quoted in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), Hymn #77

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Part of the mystery of the Incarnation is its counterintuitive nature:  a vulnerable baby was God incarnate.  This truth demonstrates the reality that God operates differently than we frequently define as feasible and effective.  Then again, Jesus was, by dominant human expectations, a failure.  I would never claim that Jesus was a failure, of course.

If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat;

and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink;

for you will heap coals of fire on their heads,

and the LORD will reward you.

–Proverbs 25:22, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

Speaking of counterintuitive ways of God, shall we ponder the advice of St. Paul the Apostle in Romans 12:14-21?

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.  If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  No, if your enemies are hungry, feed them, if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

That old sweet song of angels will not attune to heaven our life if we ignore this sage advice–if we fail to overcome evil with good.  How we treat others indicates more about what kind of people we are than about what kind of people they are.  If we react against intolerance with intolerance, we are intolerant.  We also add fuel to the proverbial fire.  Is not a fire extinguisher better?

As the Master said,

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–Matthew 5:43-48, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

Perfection, in this case, indicates suitability for one’s purpose, which is, in the language of the Westminster Shorter Catechism,

to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

–Quoted in The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, The Book of Confessions (1967)

As the annual celebration of the birth of Christ approaches again, may we who follow him with our words also follow him with our deeds:  may we strive for shalom on a day-to-day basis.  Only God can save the world, but we can leave it better than we found it.

Merry Christmas!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 21, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Feast of Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4)   Leave a comment

seton

Above:  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIZABETH ANN BAYLEY SETON (AUGUST 28, 1774-JANUARY 4, 1821)

Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity

In 2009 the General Convention of The Episcopal Church added St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to the denominational calendar of saints, expanded from Lesser Feasts and Fasts into Holy Women, Holy Men (2010), and now, in 2016, into A Great Cloud of Witnesses.  Adding her to the list of commemorations might have surprised some, for she was a convert from The Episcopal Church to the Roman Catholic Church.  On the other hand, The Episcopal Church has never commemorated just Episcopalians.

Our saint was a cradle Episcopalian and a granddaughter (via her mother) of an Anglican priest.  Her mother, Catherine Charlton Bayley, died when she was three years old.  Elizabeth’s father was Dr. Richard Bayley, professor of anatomy at Columbia University and health officer at the Port of New York.  Richard eventually remarried; he and his second wife raised their blended family devoutly. Our saint married Merchant William Magee Seton at St. Paul’s Church, New York City, on January 25, 1794.  They had five children, two of whom she buried in time.  Elizabeth founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children. Then, when the fortunes of the family firm failed, the Setons found themselves struggling financially.  In 1803, when the family was in Italy, William died of tuberculosis at Pisa.  Elizabeth and her children remained in the country for a while, living with Roman Catholics, who befriended and supported her and her children.  This made her amenable to Roman Catholicism.  On Ash Wednesday 1805, in New York City, she crossed the Tiber River.  Much ostracism followed, but Elizabeth and her family had the financial and spiritual support of certain Roman Catholics.

In time Elizabeth found her vocation.  In 1809 she took vows and became the leader of seven sisters; they were the charter members of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph.  The following year, on donated land in Emmitsburg, Maryland, they opened a school for impoverished girls.  This was the first Roman Catholic parochial school in the United States of America.  The work of the order expanded under our saint’s leadership.  For example, sisters went to work in orphanages in Philadelphia and New York City.  Elizabeth would have been happy for another woman to serve as the Superior of the order, but she performed her duties faithfully until her death–of tuberculosis, like that of her husband–at Emmitsburg, on January 4, 1821.

The order continues to perform its many good works.

On a related note, our saint’s half-brother, James Roosevelt Bayley (1814-1877) was another convert to Roman Catholicism.  He had been an Episcopal priest.  Then he converted to Roman Catholicism.  In 1844 he became a Roman Catholic priest.  Seven years later he became the first Bishop of Newark.  Then, in 1872, he became the eighth Archbishop of Baltimore.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSAPHAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF POLOTSK, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SISTERS OF THE SACRED HEART

THE FEAST OF RAY PALMER, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ARTHUR DUNKERLEY, BRITISH NOVELIST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with your grace as wife, mother, educator, and founder,

that she might spend her life in service to your people:

Help us, by her example, to express our love for you in love of others;

through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you

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

2 Esdras 2:15-24

Psalm 119:105-112

Romans 16:19-20

Luke 14:15-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 157

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Feast of Johann Ludwig Freydt (January 4)   Leave a comment

Moravian Logo

Above:  Moravian Logo

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHANN LUDWIG FREYDT (FEBRUARY 18, 1748-JANUARY 4, 1807)

German Moravian Composer and Educator

Johann Ludwig Freydt, the son of a Prussian army officer, was a natural musician.  He taught himself to play the flute and the violin prior to receiving formal training at Strassfurt.  In 1767 he became a bassoonist in the band of the Royal Footguards at Hannover.  Ten years later he joined the Unitas Fratrum and started working at the Moravian school at Niesky, Germany. Our saint’s coworker, Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836), praised his talent.  Freydt taught until 1805, when bad health forced him to retire.  He spent his final years at Niesky, teaching music to children and revising his earlier compositions.  He died on January 4, 1807.

Freydt was a prolific composer whose works were popular in Moravian musical collections in Europe and America in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  Among his compositions was Alles was Othem hat, for two horns, two flutes, strings, organ, and SSAB choir.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 17, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONY OF EGYPT, DESERT FATHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERARD AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN MOROCCO

THE FEAST OF EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS, UNITARIAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Johann Ludwig Freydt

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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Feast of Sts. Gregory of Langres, Terticus of Langres, Gallus of Clermont, Gregory of Tours, Avitus I of Clermont, Magnericus of Trier, and Gaugericus (January 4)   5 comments

Above:  The Flag of Vatican City

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT GALLUS OF CLERMONT (CIRCA 489-CIRCA 553)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Clermont (527-551)

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SAINT GREGORY OF LANGRES (DIED 539)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Langres (506-539)

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SAINT TERTICUS OF LANGRES (DIED 572)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Langres (539-572)

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SAINT GREGORY OF TOURS (540-594)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Tours (573-593)

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SAINT MAGNERICUS OF TRIER (DIED 596)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Trier (566-596)

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SAINT AVITUS I OF CLERMONT (DIED 600)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Clermont

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SAINT GAUGERICUS (DIED CIRCA 625)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Cambrai then Arras (586-Circa 625)

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Each of the saints whose stories I have combined into this post has his own feast day on the Roman Catholic calendar.  This, however, is my calendar, so they share January 4 on the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

St. Gregory of Langres (died 539) was a Bishop of Langres (from 506 to 539), a civic governor of the Autun region in Gaul (now France), father of St. Terticus, the next Bishop of Langres, and great-uncle of St. Gregory of Tours.  He insisted on public order and had a reputation as a kind minister.

Of St. Terticus of Langres (died 572) we know little.  The son of St. Gregory of Langres, he was Bishop of Langres from 539 to 572 and an uncle of St. Gregory of Tours.

St. Gregory of Tours (540-594), born George Florentius, took the name Gregory to honor his great-uncle, St. Gregory of Langres.   The great-nephew served as Bishop of Tours from 573 to 593.  He wrote lives of the saints and accounts of his time.  His works continue to provide invaluable information about certain saints and Merovingian France.  He also wrote a biography of another uncle, his teacher, St. Gallus of Clermont.  The great-nephew was also a friend of St. Magnericus of Trier.

St. Avitus I of Clermont (died 600) was another friend and mentor of St. Gregory of Tours.  Avitus, while a priest at Tours, led St. Gregory of Tours in Bible studies.  Avitus also ordained St. Greogry of Tours to the diaconate.

St. Gallus of Clermont (circa 489-circa 553) served as Bishop of Clermont from 527 to 551.  Born into a Roman senatorial family, he entered a monastery at Cournon against his family’s wishes.  He received their consent in time.  The saint’s piety and intelligence commended him to Quintianus, Bishop of Clermont, who ordained him priest.  St. Gallus was a prisoner of King Theodoric I of Austrasia (mostly in modern-day Germany and Belgium) for a few years.  Then he returned to Clermont, where he succeeded Quintianus as Bishop of Clermont and defended church rights against royal encroachments.  The saint also had a reputation for great kindness and holiness.

St. Magnericus of Trier (died July 25, 596) grew up in Trier.  A friend of St. Gregory of Tours, he became a priest by the hand of Nicetius, Bishop of Trier.  King Clotaire I, excommunicated by Nicetius, exiled the bishop.  Magnericus accompanied his bishop into exile and returned one year later.  The saint became Bishop of Trier in 566.  He granted sanctuary to King Theodore of Marseilles in 585.  Guntham of Burgundy had forced Theodore into exile.  The saint interceded with King Childebert II on Theodore’s behalf.  The saint also ordained St. Gaugericus.

St. Gaugericus (died circa 625) learned the entire Book of Psalms by heart. He became Bishop of Cambrai (in 586) then Arras.  The saint convinced many people to destroy their idols and destroyed many other idols himself.  He also ransomed many prisoners.

These saints constitute a chain of holiness.  Some of them knew and/or were related to each other, but each was linked directly or indirectly to the others.  These interlocking stories teach the importance of influencing others positively.  They also tell us that the legacy of lived holiness extends generations beyond one’s life.  So may we take comfort from this reality and strive to do the best we can, empowered by God, and take courage that what we  do for God is never in vain, regardless of what appearances might indicate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servants

Saint Gregory of Langres,

Saint Terticus of Langres,

Saint Gregory of Tours,

St. Gallus of Clermont,

St. Avitus I of Clermont,

St. Magnericus of Trier,

and St. Gaugericus,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same 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 November 12, 2016

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for January   Leave a comment

Snow in January

Image in the Public Domain

1 (EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Holy Name of Jesus
  • World Day of Peace

2 (NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, Bavarian Lutheran Minister, and Coordinator of Domestic and Foreign Missions
  • Narcissus, Argeus, and Marcellinus of Tomi, Roman Martyrs, 320
  • Odilo of Cluny, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Sabine Baring-Gould, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

3 (TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Edward Caswall, Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Perronet, British Methodist Preacher
  • Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China and Taiwan
  • William Alfred Passavant, Sr., U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Evangelist

4 (ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Elizabeth Ann Seton, Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity
  • Felix Manz, First Anabaptist Martyr, 1527
  • Gregory of Langres, Terticus of Langres, Gallus of Clermont, Gregory of Tours, Avitus I of Clermont, Magnericus of Trier, and Gaugericus, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Johann Ludwig Freydt, German Moravian Composer and Educator

5 (TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Antonio Lotti, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Genoveva Torres Morales, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels
  • John Nepomucene Neumann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia
  • Margaret Mackay, Scottish Hymn Writer

6 (EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST)

7 (François Fénelon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cambrai)

  • Aldric of Le Mans, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Angela of Foligno, Penitent and Humanitarian
  • Gaspar del Bufalo, Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood
  • Lucian of Antioch, Roman Catholic Martyr, 312

8 (Thorfinn of Hamar, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • A. J. Muste, Dutch-American Minister, Labor Activist, and Pacifist
  • Arcangelo Corelli, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, Scientists
  • Harriet Bedell, Episcopal Deaconess and Missionary

9 (Pepin of Landen, Itta of Metz, Their Relations, Amand, Austregisilus, and Sulpicius II of Bourges, Faithful Christians Across Generational Lines)

  • Emily Greene Balch, U.S. Quaker Sociologist, Economist, and Peace Activist
  • Julia Chester Emery, Upholder of Missions
  • Philip II of Moscow, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, and Martyr, 1569
  • William Jones, Anglican Priest and Musician

10 (John the Good, Roman Catholic Bishop of Milan)

  • Allen William Chatfield, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator
  • Ignatius Spencer, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Apostle of Ecumenical Prayer; mentor of Elizabeth Prout, Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion
  • Mary Lundie Duncan, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • William Gay Ballantine, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Educator, Scholar, Poet, and Hymn Writer

11 (Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Roman Catholic Monk)

  • Charles William Everest, Episcopal Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Miep Gies, Righteous Gentile
  • Paulinus II of Aquileia, Roman Catholic Patriarch of Aquileia
  • Richard Frederick Littledale, Anglican Priest and Translator of Hymns

12 (Benedict Biscop, Roman Catholic Abbot of Wearmouth)

  • Aelred of Hexham, Roman Catholic Abbot of Rievaulx
  • Anthony Mary Pucci, Roman Catholic Priest
  • Henry Alford, Anglican Priest, Biblical Scholar, Literary Translator, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and Bible Translator
  • Marguerite Bourgeoys, Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame

13 (Hilary of Poitiers, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers, “Athanasius of the West;” and Hymn Writer; mentor of Martin of Tours, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tours)

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • George Fox, Founder of the Religious Society of Friends
  • Mary Slessor, Scottish Presbyterian Missionary in West Africa
  • Samuel Preiswerk, Swiss Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

14 (Macrina the Elder, Her Family, and Gregory of Nazianzus the Younger)

  • Caesarius of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishop; and Caesaria of Arles, Roman Catholic Abbess
  • Eivind Josef Berggrav, Lutheran Bishop of Oslo, Hymn Translator, and Leader of the Norwegian Resistance During World War II
  • Kristen Kvamme, Norwegian-American Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Sava I, Founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and First Archbishop of Serbs

15 (Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader and Martyr, 1968)

  • Abby Kelley Foster and her husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, U.S. Quaker Abolitionists and Feminists
  • Bertha Paulssen, German-American Seminary Professor, Psychologist, and Sociologist
  • Gene M. Tucker, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • John Cosin, Anglican Bishop of Durham

16 (Roberto de Noboli, Roman Catholic Missionary in India)

  • Berard and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs in Morocco, 1220
  • Edmund Hamilton Sears, U.S. Unitarian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Biblical Scholar
  • Gustave Weigel, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Ecumenist
  • Richard Meux Benson, Anglican Priest and Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist; Charles Chapman Grafton, Episcopal Priest, Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and Bishop of Fond du Lac; and Charles Gore, Anglican Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford; Founder of the Community of the Resurrection; Theologian; and Advocate for Social Justice and World Peace

17 (Antony of Egypt, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • James Woodrow, Southern Presbyterian Minister, Naturalist, and Alleged Heretic
  • Pachomius the Great, Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism
  • Rutherford Birchard Hayes, President of the United States of America
  • Thomas A. Dooley, U.S. Roman Catholic Physician and Humanitarian

18-25 (WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY)

18 (CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER, APOSTLE)

19 (Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Humanitarians)

  • Deicola and Gall, Roman Catholic Monks; and Othmar, Roman Catholic Abbot at Saint Gallen
  • Elmer G. Homrighausen, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Christian Education
  • Harold A. Bosley, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Henry Twells, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

20 (Fabian, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 250)

  • Euthymius the Great and Theoctistus, Roman Catholic Abbots
  • Greville Phillimore, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Harriet Auber, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Richard Rolle, English Roman Catholic Spiritual Writer

21 (Mirocles of Milan and Epiphanius of Pavia, Roman Catholic Bishops)

  • Alban Roe and Thomas Reynolds, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1642
  • Edgar J. Goodspeed, U.S. Baptist Biblical Scholar and Translator
  • John Yi Yon-on, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Korea
  • W. Sibley Towner, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

22 (John Julian, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist)

  • Alexander Men, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1990
  • Ladislao Batthány-Strattmann, Austro-Hungarian Roman Catholic Physician and Philanthropist
  • Louise Cecilia Fleming, African-American Baptist Missionary and Physician
  • Vincent Pallotti, Founder of the Society for the Catholic Apostolate, the Union of Catholic Apostolate, and the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate

23 (John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria)

  • Charles Kingsley, Anglican Priest, Novelist, and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Grubb, English Quaker Author, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer
  • James D. Smart, Canadian Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Phillips Brooks, Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, and Hymn Writer

24 (Ordination of Florence Li-Tim-Oi, First Female Priest in the Anglican Communion)

  • George A. Buttrick, Anglo-American Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar; and his son, David G. Buttrick, U.S. Presbyterian then United Church of Christ Minister, Theologian, and Liturgist
  • Marie Poussepin, Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Virgin
  • Martyrs of Podlasie, 1874
  • Suranus of Sora, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr, 580

25 (CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL, APOSTLE)

26 (TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

27 (Jerome, Paula of Rome, Eustochium, Blaesilla, Marcella, and Lea of Rome)

  • Angela Merici, Foundress of the Company of Saint Ursula
  • Carolina Santocanale, Foundress of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes
  • Caspar Neumann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Pierre Batiffol, French Roman Catholic Priest, Historian, and Theologian

28 (Albert the Great and his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, Roman Catholic Theologians)

  • Daniel J. Simundson, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Henry Augustine Collins, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Barnby, Anglican Church Musician and Composer
  • Somerset Corry Lowry, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

29 (LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

30 (Lesslie Newbigin, English Reformed Missionary and Theologian)

  • Bathildas, Queen of France
  • Frederick Oakeley, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest
  • Genesius I of Clermont and Praejectus of Clermont, Roman Catholic Bishops; and Amarin, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Jacques Bunol, French Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

31 (Charles Frederick Mackenzie, Anglican Bishop of Nyasaland, and Martyr, 1862)

  • Anthony Bénézet, French-American Quaker Abolitionist
  • Lanza del Vasto, Founder of the Community of the Ark
  • Menno Simons, Mennonite Leader
  • Mary Evelyn “Mev” Puleo, U.S. Roman Catholic Photojournalist and Advocate for Social Justice

 

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

Feast of Felix Manz (January 4)   2 comments

Above:  Anabaptist Martyrs Memorial Plate, Zurich, Switzerland

Image Source = Roland zh

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FELIX MANZ (1498-JANUARY 5, 1527)

First Anabaptist Martyr

Christianity is divided into denominations which differ with each other on matters great and small.  Such disagreements might cause one justifiably to choose one denomination over others, but we need to remember that we need not kill each other over these matters.  Besides, we profess to follow the same Lord and Savior:  Jesus of Nazareth.  But do we act like him?

Consider the case of Felix Manz, a man with whom I disagree on the subject of baptism yet whose life and witness I admire and whose execution I deplore.    Manz, the son of a Roman Catholic priest, developed tendencies for his day.  At a time when church and state were frequently united, he favored the separation of the two.  The union of church and state led to the persecution of dissenters, such as Manz.  Based on his reading of the Bible, he opposed Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and infant baptism.  He wrote and spoke of all these matters publicly.  Manz’s theological views led him to help found the Anabaptist movement at Zurich, Switzerland, in 1525.

The city council of Zurich had considerable power over the Reformed Church in that city, thus dissenters, such as Anabaptists, or rebaptizers, were allegedly threats to public order, for they raised questions certain authority figures preferred not to hear.  One, faced with a question–perhaps even a heresy–might formulate a well-reasoned theological answer and enter into a civil debate.  Or one might do what the government of Zurich did.

The government of Zurich imprisoned Manz (for life, they said) in 1526.  Later that year, it decreed that the penalty for adult rebaptism would be drowning.  Thus, on January 5, 1527, an agent of the government of Zurich pushed a bound Felix Manz into the river, where he drowned.  Other Anabaptists met the same fate.

It was murder.

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May 16, 2010

The Seventh Sunday of Easter

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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 Felix Manz, 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 the Proper for Martyrs from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006, hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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Revised on November 12, 2016

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Posted May 16, 2010 by neatnik2009 in January 4, Saints of 1520-1539

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