Archive for the ‘October 11-20’ Category

Feast of Vincent Taylor (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Part of The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VII (1951), 114

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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VINCENT TAYLOR (JANUARY 1, 1887-1968)

British Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

Vincent Taylor comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the article, “The Life and Ministry of Jesus” (Volume VII, 1951).

Taylor, born in Edenfield, Lancashire, England, was an active scholar for nearly half a century–1920 to 1968.  His family moved to Accrington, in 1890; there he finished growing to adulthood.  Our saint studied for the Methodist ministry at Richmond College.  He was a parish minister from 1910 to 1930 and during World War II.  Along the way he earned his doctorate from the University of London (1922), worked as Tutor in New Testament Language and Literature at Wesley College, Leeds (1930f), and served as the Principal of the same college (1936-1953).

Taylor was conservative yet not fundamentalist; he rejected Biblical infallibility.

  1. He recognized the existence of disagreements within the New Testament.  Some books supplemented others, he insisted.
  2. He, a practitioner of textual, form, source, and historical criticism, rejected Bultmannian skepticism regarding the historicity of the four canonical Gospels.  At the same time, Taylor did not reject Bultmannian demythologizing completely.
  3. Our saint neither defended miracle stories uncritically nor rejected them; he knew the limits of what history could prove and disprove.  Taylor, in a Kierkegaardian leap of faith, accepted the Virgin Birth of Jesus, defending it on dogmatic, not historical, grounds.
  4. Our saint argued that Luke incorporated Q into the Gospel of Luke.
  5. Taylor also recognized the presence of multiple theories of the atonement in the New Testament.  He, not seeking to harmonize them, rejected Penal Substitutionary Atonement, criticized the Classic Theory of the Atonement also, and affirmed the centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Taylor wrote:

The New Testament is not a fortuitous collection of separate writings, but a medium in which the significance of Christ, as the Word of God and the Saviour of men, emerges clearly into the light of day.

Taylor also had a balanced view of individual and societal sinfulness, and interpreted the Bible in the context of his times.  He, taking into account the evils of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, interpreted the “obey the government” passage in Romans 13 in a particular way.  St. Paul the Apostle, Taylor argued, obviously had not considered mass-murdering dictators or the possibility of the Holocaust.  Therefore, our saint wrote, nobody should permit Romans 13 to stand in the say of resisting tyrants.  He, understanding that sin is both individual and collective, also wrote of the necessity of both individual and collective salvation.

Major works by Taylor included The Gospel According to Saint Mark (1952), Doctrine and Evangelism (1953), and The Epistle to the Romans (1955).

Taylor, aged 81 years, died in 1968.

Taylor’s argument regarding Romans 13 rings true with me.  I cannot imagine God condemning anyone for refusing to obey Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, or Pol Pot–dictators with extremely bloody hands.  After all, the commandment to effect social justice is always binding.  Nevertheless, I recall reading a chilling argument to the contrary in the October 30, 1974, issue of The Presbyterian Journal, the magazine that had midwifed the birth of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) the previous year.  The editor, G. Aiken Taylor, approved of the following statement, submitted by a reader, one J. B. Finneran, “an elect lady from Simpsonville, MD”:

The Bible commands us to obey earthly authority, for God establishes governments….When a Herod or a Hitler comes into power, we must thereby assume this is the Lord’s plan; He will use even such as these to put His total plan into effect for the good of His people here on earth.

–Page 11

I affirm the sovereignty of God, too, but is there no good reason to resist tyrants, according to J. B. Finneran and G. Aiken Taylor?  Their argument is law and order on steroids.

Vincent Taylor, being a mortal, was incorrect on some points, of course.  He was, however, a man who loved God with his intellect and who got much right.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 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

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

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Vincent Taylor and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Claus Westermann (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copy of Isaiah 40-66:  A Commentary (1969), October 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CLAUS WESTERMANN (OCTOBER 7, 1909-JUNE 11, 2000)

German Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar

Claus Westermann comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Biblical Studies section of my library, which his volume, Isaiah 40-66 (1969), graces.

Westermann, born in Berlin, Germany, on October 7, 1909, was a son of Diedrich and Katharina Westermann, formerly missionaries to Africa.  Our saint’s father had become a professor of African languages in Berlin by 1909.

Westermann became one of the major Old Testament scholars of the twentieth century.  He, educated at the Universities of Tübingen and Marburg, served as pastor of a church in Berlin-Dahlem prior to World War II.  Our saint, drafted into the German Army in 1940, served in Russia.  He resumed advanced studies after the war.  Westermann graduated from the University of Zurich with his doctorate in 1949; his dissertation was, “The Praise of God in the Psalms.”  Our saint, from 1949 to 1952 the pastor of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin, began to teach full-time in 1953.  He joined the faculty of the University of Heidelberg in 1958.  Our saint retired 20 years later.  The student of Gerhard von Rad wrote more than 70 published works.

Consider Isaiah 40-66 (1969), O reader.

Westermann, who accepted that there were three Isaiahs, acknowledged internal disagreements within chapters, as in Chapter 66.  He identified discrepancies within 66:18-24:  verses 18, 19, and 21 indicating a mission to the nations, and verses 20 and 22-24 emphasizing the primacy of worship in Jerusalem.  The second section amended the first, our saint wrote.  The presence of the two traditions, Westermann insisted,

made terribly clear that in the post-exilic period what people had to say about the way in which God was going to act upon Israel and upon the other nations lost all unanimity and took two different roads.

–Page 429

Westermann continued:

In the light of the New Testament our only course is to agree with the first, the one which proclaims the great missionary move out to the nations.  This means, then, that we must be critical of vv. 20, 22ff.  But over and above this, an Old Testament critic is bound to say that a theology which ordains one place of eternal annihilation for all God’s enemies along with the perpetuation of a worship restricted to one place is alien to the central core of the Old Testament.  Here, in the interests of rendering absolute a worship that is tied to a place and in the counterpart which the verses give this, the avowal of God’s action in history and towards the people who are travelling onwards, the avowal of very foundation, is abandoned.

–Page 429

Thus ended that commentary.

Westermann, aged 90 years, died in Heidelberg on the Day of Pentecost, June 11, 2000.  His wife, Anna, had predeceased him in 1991.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 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

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

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Claus Westermann and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Herbert G. May (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copy of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version, October 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HERBERT GORDON MAY (NOVEMBER 26, 1904-OCTOBER 7, 1977)

U.S. Biblical Scholar and Translator

Herbert G. May comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction to and the exegesis of Ezekiel in Volume VI (1956).

May was an influential scholar and translator of the Bible.  He, born in Fair Haven, Vermont, on November 26, 1904, graduated from Wesleyan University (1927).  After earning his B.D. degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1930, he went to work on his Ph.D. (The University of Chicago, 1934).  May was Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Oberlin College (1934-1970) and Vanderbilt University (1966-1970).  In retirement he taught at Yale Divinity School and continued to teach at Oberlin College.  Our saint, one of the translators of the Revised Standard Version (New Testament, 1946; Old Testament, 1952; Apocrypha, 1957; RSV II, 1971), chaired the translation committee (1966-1974) and its Old Testament section (1960-1977).  He also helped to edit the Oxford Bible Atlas (1962), The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (1962), and The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (1973, 1977).

Our saint, aged 72 years, died in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 7, 1977.  His wife, Helen (February 8, 1902-November 3, 1977), died shortly thereafter.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 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

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

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Herbert G. May and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Edith Cavell (October 12)   2 comments

Above:  A Stamp Depicting the Death of Edith Cavell

Image in the Public Domain

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EDITH LOUISA CAVELL (DECEMBER 4, 1865-OCTOBER 12, 1915)

English Nurse and Martyr, 1915

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I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved.

–Edith Cavell

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Edith Cavell comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Church of England, where her feast day is October 12.

Cavell, born in Swardeston, Norfolk, England, on December 4, 1865, grew up to become a pioneering nurse and a martyr.  Her father was a priest in The Church of England.  Our saint grew up in a loving home and shared a pleasant childhood with her siblings.  Cavell, a governess in Belgium (1890-1895), returned home and took care of her ailing father.  Next she studied nursing in London (1896-1898) and became a nurse.  After working in various hospitals, Cavell became the matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium, in 1907.  She revolutionized the nursing profession in Belgium and trained other nurses.

Cavell might have led a longer life had she not returned to Belgium in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I.  In the summer of 1914, when the Great War started, our saint was visiting relatives in Norfolk.  She knew she had to return to Belgium and work as a nurse, given the need for her abilities there.  Our saint, committed to saving lives, regardless of wartime politics, provided medical care to both Allied and Central Powers soldiers.  Saving the lives of military personnel of the Central Powers scandalized many on the Allied side.  On the other hand, when Cavell helped to smuggle more than 200 Allied soldiers out of German-occupied Belgium, she became a target for German military “justice.”  Our saint, arrested for treason on August 3, 1915, and later convicted, died via firing squad on the morning of October 12, 1915.  She was 49 years old.

On October 11, 1915, Cavell had told a visiting Anglican priest:

Standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough.  I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.

Yet the British Government counted on bitterness and hatred toward the German Empire for executing her.  The British Government used her death as part of a military recruitment strategy.

Cavell’s story has become the basis of movies:

  1. Nurse and Martyr (1915),
  2. The Martyrdom of Nurse Cavell (1916),
  3. Nurse Cavell (1916),
  4. The Woman the Germans Shot (1918),
  5. Dawn (1928),
  6. Nurse Edith Cavell (1939), and
  7. Nurse Cavell (1948).

Cavell’s legacy stands for the propositions that human life is sacred, and that a state of war does not alter, minimize, or negate this reality.  Nationalism and patriotism have their places, but when they dehumanize the “other,” they become morally destructive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 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

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

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Edith Cavell:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

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

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Cecil Frances Alexander (October 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cecil Frances Alexander

Image in the Public Domain

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CECIL FRANCES HUMPHREYS ALEXANDER (1818/1823-OCTOBER 12, 1895)

Irish Anglican Hymn Writer

Cecil Frances Alexander comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody, to which she contributed greatly.  She wrote more than 400 hymns and poems (mostly for children), including “There is a Green Hill Far Away,” “Jesus Calls Us,” “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” “Once in Royal David’s City,” and “I Bind Unto Myself Today,” my favorite hymn.

Cecil Frances Humphreys, born in Miltown House, County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1818 or 1823, depending on the source one believes, was daughter of Major John Humphreys, of the Royal Marines.  She demonstrated her literary abilities at a young age, and, in 1848, published her first volume of poetry.  Two years later our saint married William Alexander (1824-1911), then the Anglican Rector of Termonamongan.  He became the Bishop of Derby and Raphoe in 1867 then the Archbishop of Armagh (the primate of The Church of Ireland) in 1896, as a widower.

Our saint was a woman of her Victorian times.  She pursued a literary career, for which she won acclaim.  Her finest poem, according to reputation, was “The Burial of Moses,” which Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), said he wished he had written.  Our saint’s hymns and other poems, volumes of which she published, graced various Anglican hymnals of her time.  She also devoted herself to the tasks of a parson’s wife.  Furthermore, she was a philanthropist, caring actively for the poor and for “fallen women,” as well as supporting a school for deaf children in Londonderry financially.

Alexander died in Londonderry on October 12, 1895.  Her legacy of hymnody has survived her, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 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

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

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Cecil Frances Alexander 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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Sts. Callixtus I, Anterus, Pontian, and Hippolytus (October 14)   1 comment

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land by George Adam Smith and J. G. Bartholomew

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land by George Adam Smith and J. G. Bartholomew

Above:  Map of the Roman Empire in the Third Century

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CALLIXTUS I (DIED IN 222)

Bishop of Rome

Also known as St. Callistus I

His feast day = October 14

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SAINT ANTERUS (DIED JANUARY 3, 236)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from January 3

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SAINT PONTIAN (DIED CIRCA 236)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from August 13

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SAINT HIPPOLYTUS (DIED CIRCA 236)

Antipope

Feast transferred from August 13

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INTRODUCTION

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This is a story of theft, self-righteousness, schism, false witness, forgiveness, repentance, and martyrdom.  Repentance, as I tire of having to explain, is far more than saying that one is sorry.  No, repentance is turning around or changing one’s mind.  To repent is literally to turn one’s back on sin.  That definition applies well to Sts. Callixtus I and Hippolytus.

Roman Catholic writer Thomas J. Craughwell notes the value of being honest about the dark episodes in the lives of the saints.  He states:

The point of reading these stories is not to experience some tabloid thrill, but to understand how grace works in the world.  Every day, all day long, God pours out his grace upon us, coaxing us, to turn away from everything that is base and cheap and unsatisfying, and turn toward the only thing that is eternal, perfect, and true–that is, himself.

Saints Behaving Badly:  The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil Worshippers Who Became Saints (New York, NY:  Doubleday, 2006), page xii

Some of the most forgiving people have been those who have known of their need of much mercy and received it.  They, having received forgiveness in abundance, have become practitioners of forgiveness–sometimes to the consternation of others, many of whom have thought of themselves as pious and orthodox, as pure.  That summary applied well to St. Hippolytus for much of his life.

Roman Catholic tradition tells the stories of two of these men–Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus–together, for they share the same feast day, August 13.  I have found that I cannot tell their stores properly without recounting that of St. Callixtus I and, in passing, what little we know of St. Anterus.  Each of these two saints has his own feast day on the Roman Catholic calendar.  I, for the sake of convenience, have moved three of the four saints to the date for the feast of St. Callixtus I.  After all, the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is my project; I answer to nobody else with regard to it.

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SAINT CALLIXTUS I

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St. Callixtus I was a slave, a bad investor, an embezzler, and an inciter of needless violence before be became a deacon, a pope, and a martyr.  As a young man he was the slave of one Carpophorus, a Christian of Rome.  Circa 190 Carpophorus founded a bank for the Christians of Rome and made St. Callixtus, who had experience managing money, the administrator thereof.  Many of the depositors were of modest means and there was no ancient equivalent of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (F.D.I.C.).  St. Callixtus proved to be a bad investor and an eager embezzler, so the bank failed, much to the financial detriment of many of the depositors.  The perfidious slave fled Rome and got as far as Portus, where his master captured him.  Back in Rome, Carpophorus sentenced St. Callixtus to the hard labor of turning a large stone wheel at a grist mill daily.  Nevertheless, some of the defrauded depositors were merciful.  They convinced Carpophorus to liberate St. Callixtus, on the condition that the slave try to recover some of the lost funds.

St. Callixtus remained a troublesome character.  He attempted to recover some of the lost funds by interrupting a Jewish worship service, demanding money from investors present, and thereby starting a brawl.  Legal charges of disturbing the peace and desecrating a holy place ensued.  Carpophorus lied in court when he denied that St. Callixtus, a baptized person, was a Christian.  (Christianity was not yet legal in the Roman Empire.)  The prefect sentenced St. Callixtus to scourging then to hard labor in the salt mines of Sardinia.  That was effectively a death sentence.

Marcia, a Christian and the mistress of the Emperor Commodus (reigned 180-192), used her influence to aid her coreligionists.  She asked Pope St. Victor I (reigned 189-198; feast day = July 28) for a list of Christians sent to Sardinia.  He gave her that list, minus St. Callixtus, whose name he omitted on purpose.  Marcia interceded with the governor of Sardinia, who freed all the listed prisoners plus St. Callixtus, who begged his way into freedom.  St. Victor, not convinced that St. Callixtus had ceased to be a scoundrel, sent him to live outside the walls of Rome and gave him an allowance.  Eventually the pontiff concluded that St. Callixtus, who had remained out of trouble for some time, had indeed repented.  St. Victor permitted him to assist St. Zephyrinus, the priest who managed the assignments of priests and deacons in Rome.

St. Zephyrinus became the mentor to St. Callixtus.  St. Victor died in 198; St. Zephyrinus succeeded him as pontiff.  The new pope ordained St. Callixtus to the diaconate and placed him in charge of the Christian cemetery (now the Catacomb of St. Callixtus) on the Appian Way.  St. Callixtus became a powerful figure in the Roman Catholic Church during the papacy of his mentor.  Predictably, he succeeded St. Zephyrinus as the Pope upon the death of the latter in 217.

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SAINTS CALLIXTUS I AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS

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The election of St. Callixtus displeased St. Hippolytus, a priest, theologian, and author of treatises and Biblical commentaries.  St. Hippolytus, born before 170, practiced a rigorous form of Roman Catholicism.  Pope St. Zephyrinus, he was convinced, held heretical views regarding the Holy Trinity.  (Ironically, in the context of the Council of Nicaea, 325 C.E., St. Hippolytus was heretic avant le lettre regarding the Holy Trinity, for he held to a subordinationist position.)  St. Hippolytus not only spoke out but did something; he became the antipope first to St. Callixtus I (reigned 217-222) then to St. Urban I (reigned 222-230) then to St. Pontian (reigned 230-235) then to St. Anterus (reigned 235-236) and possibly then briefly to St. Fabian (reigned 236-250).  St. Hippolytus led a schismatic group as he condemned St. Callixtus for everything from his past crimes to this eagerness to forgive sinners.  The latter indicated doctrinal laxity, the antipope argued.  St. Hippolytus fumed whenever St. Callixtus forgave an errant and penitent bishop who had committed fornication, for example.  The antipope complained whenever St. Callixtus welcomed former members of schismatic sects back into the fold of Holy Mother Church enthusiastically and without requiring any sign of penance.  Furthermore, St. Hippolytus falsely accused St. Callixtus of being a modalist.

Modalism is a heresy pertaining to the Holy Trinity.  It is, actually, a form of Unitarianism whose proponents argue that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not persons but are really modes of God’s being.  God, in modalist thought, is united and indivisible.  As Praxeas argued circa 210 C.E., God the Father entered the womb of St. Mary of Nazareth, suffered, died, and rose again.  This is false doctrine, as Tertullian (circa 155-225) knew well.  He retorted that Praxeas had

put to flight the Holy Spirit and crucified the Father.

–Quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought–Revised and Expanded Edition (New York, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1995), page 58

St. Callixtus was no modalist.  In fact, he excommunicated Sabellius, a prominent modalist.  St. Hippolytus replied that the Pope had done that to cover up his own modalism, however.

The life and papacy of St. Callixtus ended in 222, when a pagan mob murdered him.  Members of that mob then threw his corpse down a well in Rome.

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SUBSEQUENT POPES AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS

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The persecution of Christianity in the Roman Empire was not continuous.  Certain emperors engaged in the practice; others did not.  Few persecutions were empire-wide; most were regional and sporadic.  For most of the tenure of Pope St. Pontian (July 21, 230-September 28, 235) imperial persecution was not a problem.  Other issues dominated the reign of the son of Calpurnius.  St. Pontian presided over the synod that ratified the decision of St. Demetrius of Alexandria (126-231) to banish Origen (185-254), to refuse to recognize his priestly ordination, and to excommunicate him.  (Nevertheless, Origen found refuge with sympathetic bishops and persuaded heretics to turn to orthodoxy.)  In March 235 Maximinus I became emperor.  He ended his predecessor’s policy of toleration of Christianity and targeted leaders of the faith first.  Authorities arrested Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus, convicted them, and sent them to die in the salt mines of Sardinia.  St. Pontian, recognizing the need of continuous leadership of the church, became the first pope to resign.  He stepped down on September 28, 235.

The next pope, St. Anterus, of whom we know little, much like his predecessor once removed, St. Urban I (reigned 222-230), took office on November 21, 235.  Contrary to the tradition that he died a martyr, St. Anterus seems to have died of natural causes.  His pontificate was brief, ending on January 3, 236.

Pope St. Fabian (reigned January 10, 236-January 20, 250) had a longer pontificate.  He became one of the first victims of the Decian persecution, one of those empire-wide persecutions of Christianity.

Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus died on Sardinia circa 236–the latter of the hard labor and the former by means of a beating by guards.  The antipope renounced schism, reconciled with the Church, and urged his followers to do the same while in prison in Rome or on Sardinia.  (The available sources disagree on that point.)  In 236 or 237 Pope St. Fabian interred the remains of these two men in Rome.  Holy Mother Church forgave him and recognized him as a saint.  To paraphrase Thomas J. Craughwell, writing in Saints Behaving Badly, the Church was more like St. Callixtus I than St. Hippolytus.

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CONCLUSION

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St. Hippolytus, prior to his repentance, thought of the Church as the assembly of saints, not as the hospital for sinners.  He was not the last person to hold that opinion and to start a schismatic movement based on that premise.  For example, just a few decades later, in the wake of the Decian persecution, Donatism (in its narrow definition) arose and persisted for centuries, dividing the Church in northern Africa.  Donatism, in its broad definition, has never ceased.  It has, in fact, led to many ecclesiastical schisms.  My studies of church history have revealed that most ecclesiastical schisms have occurred to the right and most ecclesiastical mergers (unions and reunions) have occurred to the left.  The self-identified pure of theology have long argued not only with those in the institutions from which they departed but also among themselves.  Thus schisms have frequently begat schisms.  (I can recall examples of this generalization easily.  I think for example, of the formation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1936, of the subsequent split in that body almost immediately, and of the rending asunder the group that broke away from it.)  In that process of bickering and breaking away one casualty has frequently been forgiveness.

I spent the most recent Good Friday in Americus, Georgia, away from home.  While in that town I attended the Noontime service at Calvary Episcopal Church.  The Rector said in the homily that we Christians stand in the need of forgiveness, at the foot of the cross of Christ.  Nevertheless, many non-Christians perceive us as standing in the place of judgment, much like Pontius Pilate.  That statement was sadly accurate.  I have concluded that the main cause of the perception that we are judgmental is the fact that many of us are indeed judgmental, that many of us seem not to know that we really stand in the need of forgiveness, at the foot of the cross of Christ.

St. Callixtus I knew where he stood.  St. Hippolytus eventually learned where he stood.  St. Pontian knew where he stood and extended mercy to the antipope.  All three men died as martyrs.

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Holy God, in whom judgment and mercy exist in balance,

thank you for the lived example of Jesus of Nazareth, our Savior and Lord.

May we know that we stand not in the place of judgment

but in need of forgiveness, at the foot of the cross of Christ,

and, by grace, nurture the habit of forgiveness of others and ourselves.

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

Isaiah 30:15-26

Psalm 130

Romans 12:1-21

Luke 17:1-4

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 27, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, ANGLICAN SCHOLAR, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND BISHOP OF DURHAM; AND FENTON JOHN ANTHONY HORT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN HENRY BATEMAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHAN NORDAHL BRUN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN BISHOP, AUTHOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM REED HUNTINGTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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Feast of Friedrich Funcke (October 20)   1 comment

Holy Roman Empire 1648

Above:  Holy Roman Empire, 1648

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1967)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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FRIEDRICH FUNCKE (MARCH 27, 1642-OCTOBER 20, 1699)

German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer

According to the sources I consulted, Friedrich Funcke wrote at least forty-one hymn tunes and seven hymn texts.  However, only one of those texts and at least three of those tunes occur in English-language hymnals today.  Such facts confirm that many German contributions to hymnody from the past remain buried treasures for those of us in the English-speaking world.

Funcke entered the world at Nossen, in Saxony, on March 27, 1642.  He, educated at Freiberg and Dresden, became the cantor at Perleberg, in Brandenburg.  From 1664 to 1594 our saint served as the cantor at Luneburg, especially at St. John’s Church.  In 1686 Funcke and Lutheran superintendent Kaspar Herman Sandhagen (1639-1697) published the Luneburg Stadt Gesangbuch, a hymnal containing almost 2000 texts.  At least forty-one (if not forty-three; my sources disagree) of its tunes and seven of its texts came from our saint.  One of those hymns was an Ascension hymn which August Crull (1845-1923) translated as “Draw Us to Thee,” the only Funcke hymn to pass into English.  In 1687 August Herman Franke (1663-1727), a leader of the Pietist movement, was a newly appointed lecturer at Leipzig University.  He came to Luneburg that year to study privately with Sandhagen.  Neither Funcke nor Sandhagen avoided Pietistic influences.  Both of them became preoccupied with the Book of Revelation.  Sandhagen developed Chiliastic, that is, premillennial, tendencies.  As Fred L. Precht wrote in the Lutheran Worship Hymnal Companion (1992),

 Fortunately, Funcke did not suffer that fate.

–Page 614

Funcke, pastor of Romstedt, in Saxony, from 1694 to 1699, died there on October 20, 1699.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE FIRST U.S. PRESBYTERIAN BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP, 1906

THE FEAST OF JOHN ARMSTRONG, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF GRAHAMSTOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Friedrich Funcke 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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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