Archive for the ‘May 2’ Category

Feast of Sts. Alexander and Athanasius of Alexandria (May 2)   7 comments

Above:  The Council of Nicaea (325)

Image in the Public Domain



Patriarch of Alexandria

His feast transferred from February 26

mentor of


Patriarch of Alexandria and “Father of Orthodoxy”

Also known as Saint Athanasius the Great


We acknowledge the Trinity, holy and perfect, to consist of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  In this Trinity there is no intrusion of any alien element or of anything from outside, nor is the Trinity a bend of creative and created being.  It is a wholly creative and energizing reality, self-consistent and undivided in its active power, for the Father makes all things through the Word and in the Holy Spirit, and in this way the unity of the holy Trinity is preserved.  Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things.  God is above all things as Father, for he is principle and source; he is through all things through the Word; and he is in all things in the Holy Spirit.

–Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, First Letter to Serapion; quoted in Christian Prayer:  The Liturgy of the Hours (New York, NY:  Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1976), page 2011


We believe in one God,

the Father Almighty,

maker of all things, visible and invisible,

and in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only-begotten of the Father,

that is, of the substance of the Father,

God from God,

light from light,

true God from true God,

begotten not made,

of one substance with the Father,

through whom all things were made,

those things that are on earth,

who for us men and for our salvation,

came down and was made man,


rose again on the third day,

ascended into the heavens

and will come

to judge the living and the dead.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit.

–Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, 381; quoted in Karen Armstrong, A History of God:  The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (New York, NY:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), page 111


One of my goals during the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize influences and relationships.  This post replaces two former posts, thereby telling the stories of Sts. Alexander and Athanasius better.

Certain points of Trinitarian theology seem rather abstract.  Although that statement is accurate, abstractions are not necessarily trivial.  Many of them are of the utmost importance, actually.

Arianism is a heresy.  It (very much alive among the Jehovah’s Witnesses) that the Second Person of the Trinity is a created being.  The name of the heresy comes from Arius of Alexandria (died in 336), a priest whom Patriarch St. Alexander (I) of Alexandria (in office from 313 to 328) excommunicated in 321.

Meletius of Lycopolis, bishop of that city in Upper Egypt, became a schismatic leader.  In 306, after the death of Emperor Diocletian, Patriarch St. Peter I of Alexandria (in office 300-311; feast day = November 26) established guidelines for readmitting lapsed church members who had renounced their faith during the Diocletian persecution.  Meletius, objecting strenuously, made so much trouble that St. Peter I excommunicated him.  Renewed persecution led to the martyrdom of the Patriarch in 311 and the sentencing of Meletius to mines.  After Meletius returned to Egypt he founded a rigorous sect in opposition to the allegedly lax ways of St. Alexander (I) of Alexandria.  The Council of Nicaea (325) forbade Meletius to ordain and restricted him to Lycopolis.

St. Alexander (I), mentor to St. Athanasius (I), was an important member in the development of Trinitarian theology.  St. Alexander (I) and his protégé helped to lay the foundations of the Nicene Creed (technically the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed), finalized at the Council of Constantinople (381).

St. Athanasius, born at Alexandria, Egypt, in 295/298, outshone his great mentor.  St. Alexander also opposed the Arian heresy vigorously and contributed to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, but St. Athanasius became known as the “Father of Orthodoxy.”  He studied at the catechetical school at Alexandria.  St. Athanasius, a deacon in 318 and a priest the following year, composed theological treatises as early as his twenties.  In the 320s he served as the private secretary to St. Alexander.  In that capacity St. Athanasius attended the Council of Nicaea (325) and played a prominent role in making the creed nearly unanimous.  It seemed natural, then, that, upon the death of St. Alexander in 328, St. Athanasius succeeded him while in his early thirties.

Meletius disagreed.  In 328 he became a schismatic leader again.  His movement survived until the 700s.

Arius and some of his followers also disagreed.  Political machinations led to our saint’s first exile, to Treves, in Germany, from 335 to 337, at the end of the reign of Emperor Constantine I (reigned 306-337).  The offense of St. Athanasius, according to the Emperor, had been to disobey imperial orders to reconcile with Arians.  That which was political convenience for Constantine I was an intolerable compromise for St. Athanasius.

Four more exiles ensued.  Our saint was back in Alexandria from 337 to 339.  Then he had to leave again.  St. Athanasius avoided arrest and escaped the city in 339.  While the usurper Gregory of Cappadocia occupied the Patriarch’s position, St. Athanasius fled for Rome, where Pope Julius I supported him.  Our saint returned to Alexandria in 346, after the violent death of Gregory.  St. Athanasius was back on the job of building up his diocese and its dependent dioceses, of encouraging monasticism, and opposing heresies for about a decade before his third exile began.  Emperor Constantius II (reigned 337-361) arranged for the deposition of our saint, who spent 356-361 away from Alexandria.  After the death of Constantius II the reign of Julian the Apostate began.  Julian allowed orthodox bishops to return from exile.  However, he also presided over another phase of persecution, hence the fourth exile of St. Athanasius in 362-363.  Imperial politics also led to our saint’s fifth exile, from October 365 to February 366.  St. Athanasius lived in Alexandria for the rest of his life, dying on May 2, 373.  His handpicked successor was St. Peter II (in office 373-381; feast day = February 27), who also opposed Arianism vigorously.

St. Athanasius was one of those men who preserved the Christian faith for his and subsequent generations.  He, a Christian Platonist who drew from Johannine and Pauline theology, championed sound Trinitarian theology.  For St. Athanasius this matter was related to the Atonement; the Logos of God could not be a vulnerable creature and created being (as a person was), for human participation in God, via the Logos, was the only way for people to avoid annihilation due to sin, our saint argued.  St. Athanasius affirmed the transformational power of the Incarnation in human lives.

The Son of God became man so that we might become God.

–St. Athanasius

St. Athanasius, being a brilliant theologian, frequently couched his thoughts in terms that prove confusing to twenty-first century laypeople accustomed to sound bites and not trained in Platonism.  His preferred wisdom has proven timeless, however.








Uphold your Church, O God of truth, as you upheld your servants Alexander and Athanasius,

to maintain and proclaim boldly the catholic faith against all opposition,

trusting solely in the grace of your divine Word,

who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity;

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

Ezekiel 3:1-14a

Psalm 71:1-8

1 John 5:1-5

Matthew 10:22-32

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 357


Feast of Christian Friedrich Hasse (May 2)   2 comments

Flag of England

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain



German-British Moravian Composer and Educator

Among my favorite aspects of the Moravian Church, a denomination I know only via books and music, is their traditional commitment to quality in church music.  The classicism of the European side of the Unitas Fratrum‘s music impresses me, a fan of classical music.  Some recent songs from official publications belie this tradition of caring about quality, hence the awful “In This Crowd Sing Out Loud,” a terrible text set to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”  One of my fellow Episcopalians dubbed it “Jingle Christ.”  “In This Crowd” is the worst song in Sing to the Lord a New Song:  A New Moravian Songbook (2013), which contains many excellent new texts set to familiar tunes.  Hasse, I propose, would have recoiled in horror at “In This Crowd.”

We know much about the life of Chrstian Friedrich Hasse (1771-1831).  His birthplace was the Moravian settlement at Sarepta, Russia.  He studied at Niesky and Barby in Germany.  At Barby Hasse studied under the great Christian Gregor (1723-1801), the “Father of Moravian Music.”  Hasse then taught at Niesky, Barby, and Gross Hennersdorf before transferring to Fulneck, Yorkshire, England, in 1804.  There he remained for the rest of his life.  He taught music and foreign languages at the boys’ school there, served as the organist and music director of the local congregation, and composed anthems for use in church.  In 1808 he married Ann Cossart, who became the mother of his six children.  That family supplied faithful British Moravians for many years.  Hasse’s life and the church-related labors thereof ended when he died suddenly on May 1, 1831.  He was sixty-one years old.

Among our saint’s most enduring musical legacies was Sacred Music:  Partly Original;  Partly Selected from the Works of the Chief of the Most Modern German Composers, by C. F. Hasse.  The Vocal Parts as in the Original Score, and Adapted Exclusively to English Words.  The Instrumental Parts Arranged for the Piano Forte.  Hasse published the first volume in 1829.  The second volume debuted in 1832, posthumously.  The collection contained works of Moravian and non-Moravian composers.

I thank God for the faithful life and the musical legacy of Christian Friedrich Hasse.










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

We bless your name for inspiring Christian Friedrich Hasse 

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

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

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


Feast of Julia Bulkley Cady Cory (May 2)   Leave a comment


Above:  Church of the Covenant, New York, New York

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = HABS NY,31-NEYO,97–1



U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer

Most of the legacy of Julia Bulkley Cady Cory, as I have been able to discover it, rests upon one hymn.  Yet, even with just that text and some information focused mostly on our saint’s early life, we know more about her than we do about many Roman Catholic saints.  She is not on that calendar, of course, for she was a Presbyterian.  But she has earned a space on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Julia was a daughter of J. Cleveland Cory, a leading architect in New York, New York.  He designed the Museum of Natural History, the old Metropolitan Opera House, and the 1871 structure of the Church of the Covenant, which became part of Brick Presbyterian Church in 1893.  The great architect served as Superintendent of Sunday School at Church of the Covenant.

Our saint, educated at the prominent Brearley and Reynolds Schools, grew up in church.  In 1902 J. Archer Gibson, organist at Brick Presbyterian Church, found the words of “We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing,” based on an European text, distasteful.  The standard English-language text, speaking of God smiting the wicked and delivering the oppressed righteous, prompted the organist to ask Julia to write new words to fit the tune, Kremser.  She wrote a new hymn, which debuted at Thanksgiving services at Brick Church and Church of the Covenant that year:

We praise Thee, O God, our Redeemer, Creator,

In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.

We lay it before Thee, we kneel and adore Thee,

We bless Thy holy Name, glad praises we sing.


We worship Thee, God of our fathers, we bless Thee;

Through life’s storm and tempest our Guide hast Thou been.

When perils o’ertake us, escape Thou wilt make us,

And with Thy help, O Lord, our battles we win.


With voices united our praises we offer,

To Thee, great Jehovah, glad anthems we raise.

Thy strong arm will guide us, our God is beside us,

To Thee, our great Redeemer, forever be praise.

This hymn’s first publication occurred in Hymns of the Living Church (1910).

Our saint married business man Robert Haskell Cory in 1911.  She raised three sons, was active in the New York Hymn Society, and attended First Presbyterian Church, Englewood, New Jersey.  She, active in community affairs, led a good life devoted to loving God, her family, and her neighbors.





Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Julia Bulkley Cady Cory and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20







Feast of Charles Silvester Horne (May 2)   Leave a comment

Union Jack

Above:  The Union Jack


English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Charles Silvester Horne (1865-1914), a son of a Congregationalist minister, studied at the University of Glasgow (graduating in 1866) then at Mansfield College, Oxford.  His reputation so preceded him that Allen Street Congregational Church, Kensington (now Kensington United Reformed Church), hired as its pastor two years before he had completed his theological studies.  The ministry was Horne’s second career, for journalism had been his first.  Thus the former newspaper editor became a minister in 1889.  Horne left Allen Street Church in 1903 for his second pastorate, Whitefield’s Central Mission, London (now home of the American Church in London), where he remained until he died.

Horne was also a statesman in matters of church and state.  In 1909 he served as Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.  And, from 1910 to his death, Horne was the Member of Parliament (Liberal Party) for Ipswich.  In 1913 he became the President of the National Brotherhood Council, an organization which addressed social problems.

The end came in 1914, shortly after Horne had delivered the Yale Lectures on Preaching.  His boat had just docked at Toronto, Ontario, Canada, when Horne dropped dead at the feet of his wife, Katharine Cozens-Hardy, the mother of his seven children.

James Moffatt, in the Handbook to the Church Hymnary (1927), on page 377, wrote of Horne:

His enthusiastic public spirit and zeal in all good causes, his burning interest in the social problem, and his strong yet winsome personality, made him an admired leader in his own denomination, and far beyond it, a power for righteousness.

Horne wrote the hymn, “For the might of Thine Arm We Bless Thee” for his London congregation.  The song debuted in print in The Fellowship Hymn Book (1909).

For the might of Thine arm we bless Thee, our God, our fathers’ God;

Thou hast kept Thy pilgrim people by the strength of Thy staff and rod;

Thou hast called us to the journey which faithless feet ne’er trod;

For the might of Thine arm we bless Thee, our God, our fathers’ God.


For the love of Christ constraining, that bound their hearts as one;

For the faith in truth and freedom in which their work was done;

For the peace of God’s evangel wherewith their feet were shod;

For the might of Thine arm we bless Thee, our God, our fathers’ God.


We are watchers of a beacon whose light must never die;

We are guardians of an altar that shows Thee ever nigh;

We are children of Thy freemen who sleep beneath the sod;

For the might of Thine arm we bless Thee, our God, our fathers’ God.


May the shadow of Thy presence around our camp be spread;

Baptize us with the courage Thou gavest to our dead;

O keep us in the pathway that saintly feet have trod;

For the might of Thine arm we bless Thee, our God, our fathers’ God.

Charles Silverster Horne glorified God and aided his fellow human beings in his day.  May we do the same in ours.





For Further Reading:


Holy and righteous God, you have 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 Charles Silvester Horne,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

Feast of Sts. Sigismund of Burgundy, Clotilda, and Clodoald (May 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in 511 Common Era


King of Burdundy

His feast transferred from May 1

cousin of


Queen of Francia

Her feast transferred from June 3

grandmother of 


Roman Catholic Abbot

His feast transferred from September 7


This is a tale of royal politics, murder, and general cruelty amid sanctity.  I spent hours consulting reference works, taking notes, pondering those notes, and telling apart people with similar names.  Now I invite you, O reader, to learn some French history.

We begin with the old Kingdom of Burgundy (411-532/534).  (Reference works disagree about the end date.  Should not that matter be settled by now?)  Burgundy was in modern-day Switzerland and eastern France, by the way.  Gundiac, King of Burgundy, died in 473.  His four sons came to power, each in his own section of the realm.  Two of the sons were Gundibald and Chilperic I.  Gundibald murdered Chilperic I and his (Chilperic’s) wife, leaving their daughters as orphans.  The daughters found refuge with their uncle Godesegil in Genveva.  These young women were Catholics, but uncle Gundibald was Arian.

St. Clotilda (died 545), one of the daughters of Chilperic I, married Clovis I (reigned 481-511), the (Arian) Frankish king and founder of the Frankish monarchy, in 492/493.  She persuaded him to convert to Catholicism in 496/506 (depending on the scholar whose work one consults).  It seems that Clovis I’s conversion was superficial, for he was as ruthless afterward as he was before.  Encyclopedia articles about him mention people he had murdered until the end of his life.  The widowed St. Clotilda (511-545) relocated from Paris to Tours.  She founded many churches and was renowned for her holiness and almsgiving.

St. Clotilda’s first cousin was St. Sigismund of Burgundy (died 524), son and immediate successor of Gundibald.  St. Sigismund, a Catholic since 515, came to the throne in 516.  About a year into his reign, the saint did something he regretted for the rest of his life.  Enraged, he ordered the murder of his son, Sigeric, who had rebuked Sigismund’s second wife (and Sigeric’s stepmother).  The penitent monarch gave generously to the poor and to the Church.  And he restored and endowed the Monastery of St. Maurice d’Agaune in the Valais region.

It was also Frankish custom to divide the kingdom among princes.  So, after Clovis I died in 511, four sons became kings.  Theodoric I (reigned 511-534) ruled from Metz, Chlodomer (reigned 511-524) from Orleans, Childebert I (reigned 511-558) from Paris, and Lothair/Clotaire I (reigned 511-561) from Soissons.  The latter was briefly the king of all Franks from 558 to 561.  The sons of Clovis I fought Burgundy, defeating St. Sigismund, who spent his last days as a hermit at St. Maurice d’Agaune.  Those days ended in 524, when Chlodomer killed him.  The Merovingian Frankish war on Burgundy seems to have been a blood feud, for the sons of Clovis I were grandsons (via St. Clotilda) of the murdered Chilperic I, killed by his brother, Gundibald, father of St. Sigismund.  That blood feud had one more chapter, for Gondmar, bother of St. Sigismund and last King of Burgundy, killed Chlodomer in battle later that year.

Chlodomer had three surviving sons:  Theodoald, Gunther, and St. Clodoald (522/524-560).  Their uncle, Lothair/Clotaire I (reigned 511-561), seeking successfully to guarantee the royal succession for this lineage, had Theodoald (aged ten years) and Gunther (aged seven years) killed.  The protection of their grandmother, St. Clotilda, and their uncle, Childebert I, proved insufficient.  Yet St. Clodoald (aged eight years) survived in Provence.  He grew up, achieved the age of majority, and never sought the throne.  Instead the saint founded and served as abbot of a monastery–Nogent-sur-Seine–near Paris.  After he died it became St. Cloud Monastery in his honor.

We, O reader, have learned of murderous monarchs, a penitential king, a prince who became an abbot, and a queen who used her rank for the most good she could accomplish.  It has been a dramatic tale–one which I hope has not been too confusing.  May you accomplish as much good as possible in your life, may you repent of your sins, and may you favor God more than prestige.






 Lord God, you have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses.

Grant that we, encouraged by the examples of your servants

Saint Sigismund of Burgundy,

Saint Clotilda,

and Saint Clodoald,

may persevere in the course that is set before us and,  at the last, share in your eternal joy with all the saints in light,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 9:1-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Luke 6:20-23

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

Twenty-Ninth Day of Easter: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  The Baptism of the Eunuch, by Rembrandt van Rijn

“Perfect love casts out fear….”

MAY 2, 2021


Acts 8:26-40 (New Revised Standard Version):

An angel of the Lord said to Philip,

Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.

(This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip,

Go over to this chariot and join it.

So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked,

Do you understand what you are reading?

He replied,

How can I, unless someone guides me?

And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,

and like a lamb silent before its shearer,

so he does not open his mouth.

In his humiliation justice was denied him.

Who can describe this generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.

The eunuch asked Philip,

About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?

Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said,

Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?

He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Psalm 22:24-30 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly;

I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,

and those who seek the LORD shall praise him:

“May your heart love for ever!”

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD,

and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs to the LORD;

he rules over the nations.

28 To him alone who sleep in the earth bow down in worship;

all who go down to the dust fall before him.

29 My soul shall live for him;

my descendants shall serve him;

they shall be known as the LORD’s for ever.

30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn

the saving deeds that he has done.

1 John 4:7-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

John 15:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

The Collect:

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Twenty-Ninth Day of Easter:  Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A:

Twenty-Ninth Day of Easter:  Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B:

Acts 8:

1 John 4:

John 15:

O Love That Casts Out Fear:

Feast of St. Philip, Deacon and Evangelist (October 11):


There is a classic scholarly work about racism in Southern United States religion; the title of the book is In His Image, But….  As a student of U.S., Southern, and religious history, I know well the arguments people have made, quoting the Bible, to justify slavery (to 1865) and enforced segregation (well into the Twentieth Century).  Many of the arguments for segregation were recycled from the days of slavery.

Of all the assigned readings for this Sunday, 1 John 4:7-21 stands out most in my mind.  This reading continues an earlier theme in that letter:  We ought to love one another.  Here, in 1 John, we read:

…those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (4:21b)

Racial and ethnic differences are frequently quite obvious to any sighted person.  This, I suppose, helps explain why racism has been and remains common (even though many racists prefer to speak on code words).  Yet, to quote, 1 John 4 again, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen and cannot see, if we hate our fellow human beings, whom he have seen and can see.

St. Philip the Deacon reached out to the Ethiopian eunuch, a visibly different man, and helped him to become grafted onto the vine of Jesus.  Psalm 22 reminds us that all the Earth belongs to God.  Many people are quite different from anyone of us, and not all cultural differences will melt away.  Nor should they; variety is the spice of life.  We will retain our separate cultural and subcultural identities, which is healthy so long as we remember that we have one common identity in God, namely in Jesus, if we are Christians.

“Perfect love casts our fear,” we read in 1 John 4:18.  Out of fear we have one another, bomb each other, dehumanize and demonize one another, and behave in other inhumane ways toward each other.  The activities do not reflect the love of Jesus or bring glory to God.

May we know whose we are (God’s) and act accordingly, loving ourselves as bearers of the divine image and our fellow human beings as the same.  May we love our neighbors as ourselves.  It is that simple and that challenging.



Published in a nearly identical form at LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on August 1, 2011

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for May   Leave a comment

Rosa Chinensis

Image Source = Sakurai Midori


2 (Alexander of Alexandria, Patriarch; and Athanasius of Alexandria, Patriarch and “Father of Orthodoxy”)

  • Charles Silvester Horne, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Christian Friedrich Hasse, German-British Moravian Composer and Educator
  • Julia Bulkley Cady Cory, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Sigismund of Burgundy, King; Clotilda, Frankish Queen; and Clodoald, Frankish Prince and Abbot

3 (Caroline Chisholm, English Humaniarian and Social Reformer)

  • Elias Boudinot, IV, U.S. Stateman, Philanthropist, and Witness for Social Justice
  • Marie-Léonie Paradis, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family
  • Maura and Timothy of Antinoe, Martyrs, 286
  • Tomasso Acerbis, Capuchin Friar

4 (Ceferino Jimenez Malla, Spanish Romani Martyr, 1936)

  • Angus Dun, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, and Ecumenist
  • Basil Martysz, Polish Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • Jean-Martin Moyë, Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary in China, and Founder of the Sisters of Divine Providence and the Christian Virgins
  • John Houghton, Robert Lawrence, Augustine Webster, Humphrey Middlemore, William Exmew, and Sebastian Newdigate, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1535

5 (Charles William Schaeffer, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Historian, Theologian, and Liturgist)

  • Caterina Cittadini, Foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Somasco
  • Edmund Ignatius Rice, Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ireland and the Congregation of Presentation Brothers
  • Friedrich von Hügel, Roman Catholic Independent Scholar and Philosopher
  • Honoratus of Arles and Hilary of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishops; and Venantius of Modon and Caprasius of Lerins, Roman Catholic Hermits

6 (Anna Rosa Gattorno, Foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of Saint Anne, Mother of Mary Immaculate)

  • Alexis Toth, Russian Orthodox Priest and Defender of Orthodoxy in America
  • Clarence Dickinson, U.S. Presbyterian Organist and Composer
  • Maria Catalina Troiani, Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Willibald of Eichstatt and Lullus of Mainz, Roman Catholic Bishops; Walburga of Heidenhelm, Roman Catholic Abbess; Petronax of Monte Cassino, Winnebald of Heidenhelm, Wigbert of Fritzlar, and Sturmius of Fulda, Roman Catholic Abbots; and Sebaldus of Vincenza, Roman Catholic Hermit and Missionary

7 (Domitian of Huy, Roman Catholic Archbishop)

  • Harriet Starr Cannon, Foundress of the Community of Saint Mary
  • Joseph Armitage Robinson, Anglican Dean, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Rosa Venerini, Foundress of the Venerini Sisters; mentor of Lucia Filippini, Foundress of the Religious Teachers Filippini
  • Tobias Clausnitzer, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

8 (Juliana of Norwich, Mystic and Spiritual Writer)

  • Acacius of Byzantium, Martyr, 303
  • Henri Dumont, Roman Catholic Composer and Organist
  • Magdalena of Canossa, Foundress of the Daughters of Charity and the Sons of Charity
  • Peter of Tarentaise, Roman Catholic Archbishop

9 (Stefan Grelewski and his brother, Kazimierz Grelewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1941 and 1942)

  • Dietrich Buxtehude, Lutheran Organist and Composer
  • Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, Cofounders of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Maria del Carmen Rendiles Martinez, Foundress of the Servants of Jesus of Caracas
  • Thomas Toke Lynch, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

10 (Enrico Rebuschini, Roman Catholic Priest and Servant of the Sick; and his mentor, Luigi Guanella, Founder of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity, and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph)

  • Anna Laetitia Waring, Humanitarian and Hymn Writer; and her uncle, Samuel Miller Waring, Hymn Writer
  • Ivan Merz, Croatian Roman Catholic Intellectual
  • John Goss, Anglican Church Composer and Organist; and William Mercer, Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator
  • Vasile Aftenie, Romanian Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 1950

11 (Henry Knox Sherrill, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Barbara Andrews, First Female Minister in The American Lutheran Church, 1970
  • John James Moment, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Matteo Ricci, Roman Catholic Missionary
  • Matthêô Lê Van Gam, Vietnamese Roman Catholic Martyr, 1847

12 (Germanus I of Constantinople, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Defender of Icons)

  • Gregory of Ostia, Roman Catholic Abbot, Cardinal, and Legate; and Dominic of the Causeway, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • Paul Mazakute, First Sioux Episcopal Priest
  • Roger Schütz, Founder of the Taizé Community
  • Sylvester II, Bishop of Rome

13 (Henri Dominique Lacordaire, French Roman Catholic Priest, Dominican, and Advocate for the Separation of Church and State)

  • Frances Perkins, United States Secretary of Labor
  • Gemma of Goriano Sicoli, Italian Roman Catholic Anchoress
  • Glyceria of Heraclea, Martyr, Circa 177
  • Unita Blackwell, African-American Civil Rights Activist, Rural Community Development Specialist, and Mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi

14 (Francis Makemie, Father of American Presbyterianism and Advocate for Religious Toleration)

  • Carthage the Younger, Irish Abbot-Bishop
  • Maria Dominica Mazarello, Cofounder of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
  • Theodore I, Bishop of Rome
  • Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus, Martyrs in Syria, 165


16 (Andrew Fournet and Elizabeth Bichier, Cofounders of the Daughters of the Cross; and Michael Garicoits, Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram)

  • John Nepomucene, Bohemian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1393
  • Martyrs of the Sudan, 1983-2005
  • Ubaldo Baldassini, Roman Catholic Bishop of Gubbio
  • Vladimir Ghika, Romanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1954

17 (Thomas Bradbury Chandler, Anglican Priest; his son-in-law, John Henry Hobart, Episcopal Bishop of New York; and his grandson, William Hobart Hare, Apostle to the Sioux and Episcopal Missionary Bishop of Niobrara then South Dakota)

  • Caterina Volpicelli, Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart; Ludovico da Casoria, Founder of the Gray Friars of Charity and Cofounder of the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth; and Giulia Salzano, Foundress of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart
  • Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall, Attorneys and Civil Rights Activists
  • Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Ivan Ziatyk, Polish Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1952

18 (Maltbie Davenport Babcock, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer)

  • Felix of Cantalice, Italian Roman Catholic Friar
  • John I, Bishop of Rome
  • Mary McLeod Bethune, African-American Educator and Social Activist
  • Stanislaw Kubski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

19 (Jacques Ellul, French Reformed Theologian and Sociologist)

  • Celestine V, Bishop of Rome
  • Dunstan of Canterbury, Abbot of Glastonbury and Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Ivo of Kermartin, Roman Catholic Attorney, Priest, and Advocate for the Poor
  • Georg Gottfried Muller, German-American Moravian Minister and Composer

20 (Alcuin of York, Abbot of Tours)

  • Columba of Rieti and Osanna Andreasi, Dominican Mystics
  • John Eliot, “The Apostle to the Indians”
  • Mariá Angélica Pérez, Roman Catholic Nun
  • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

21 (Christian de Chargé and His Companions, Martyrs of Tibhirine, Algeria, 1996)

  • Eugene de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles, and Founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate
  • Franz Jägerstätter, Austrian Roman Catholic Conscientious Objector and Martyr, 1943
  • Joseph Addison and Alexander Pope, English Poets
  • Manuel Gómez González, Spanish-Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1924; and Adilo Daronch, Brazilian Roman Catholic Altar Boy and Martyr, 1924

22 (Frederick Hermann Knubel, President of the United Lutheran Church in America)

  • Humility, Italian Roman Catholic Hermitess and Abbess
  • John Forest and Thomas Abel, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1538 and 1540
  • Julia of Corsica, Martyr at Corsica, 620
  • Maria Rita Lópes Pontes de Souza Brito, Brazilian Roman Catholic Nun

23 (Ivo of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Frederick Augustus Bennett, First Maori Anglican Bishop in Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • Józef Kurgawa and Wincenty Matuszewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1940
  • William of Perth, English Roman Catholic Baker and Martyr, 1201

24 (Nicolaus Selnecker, German Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Hymn Writer)

  • Jackson Kemper, Episcopal Missionary Bishop
  • Edith Mary Mellish (a.k.a. Mother Edith), Foundress of the Community of the Sacred Name
  • Maria Gargani, Foundress of the Sisters Apostles of the Sacred Heart
  • Mary Madeleva Wolff, U.S. Roman Catholic Nun, Poet, Scholar, and President of Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana

25 (Bede of Jarrow, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of English History)

  • Aldhelm of Sherborne, Poet, Literary Scholar, Abbot of Malmesbury, and Bishop of Sherborne
  • Cristobal Magollanes Jara and Agustin Caloca Cortés, Mexican Roman Catholic Saints and Martyrs, 1927
  • Madeleine-Sophie Barat, Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart; and Rose Philippine Duchesne, Roman Catholic Nun and Missionary
  • Mykola Tsehelskyi, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1951

26 (Augustine of Canterbury, Archbishop)

  • Lambert Péloguin of Vence, Roman Catholic Monk and Bishop
  • Philip Neri, the Apostle of Rome and the Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory
  • Quadratus the Apologist, Early Christian Apologist

27 (Paul Gerhardt, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Alfred Rooker, English Congregationalist Philanthropist and Hymn Writer; and his sister, Elizabeth Rooker Parson, English Congregationalist Hymn Writer
  • Amelia Bloomer, U.S. Suffragette
  • John Charles Roper, Anglican Archbishop of Ottawa
  • Lojze Grozde, Slovenian Roman Catholic Martyr, 1943

28 (John H. W. Stuckenberg, German-American Lutheran Minister and Academic)

  • Bernard of Menthon, Roman Catholic Priest and Archdeacon of Aosta
  • Edwin Pond Parker, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Jeremias Dencke, Silesian-American Moravian Composer and Organist; and Simon Peter and Johann Friedrich Peter, German-American Composers, Educators, Musicians, and Ministers
  • Robert McAfee Brown, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, Activist, and Ecumenist

29 (Percy Dearmer, Anglican Canon and Translator and Author of Hymns)

  • Bona of Pisa, Roman Catholic Mystic and Pilgrim
  • Jiri Tranovsky, Luther of the Slavs and Father of Slovak Hymnody
  • Ruby Middleton Forsythe, African-American Episcopal Educator
  • Mary Theresa Ledóchowska, Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver, and “Mother of the African Missions;” and her sister, Ursula Ledóchowska, Foundress of the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus (Gray Ursulines)

30 (Joan of Arc, Roman Catholic Visionary and Martyr, 1430)

  • Apolo Kivebulaya, Apostle to the Pygmies
  • Joachim Neander, German Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Josephine Butler, English Feminist and Social Reformer
  • Luke Kirby, Thomas Cottam, William Filby, and Laurence Richardson, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1582



  • Ascension
  • First Book of Common Prayer, 1549


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