Archive for the ‘October 21-31’ Category

Devotion for the Feast of the Reformation (October 31)   2 comments

Above:  Wittenberg in 1540

Image in the Public Domain

Schism and Reconciliation

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The Feast of the Reformation, celebrated first in the Brunswick church order (1528), composed by Johannes Bugenhagen (1485-1558), died out in the 1500s.  Initially the dates of the commemoration varied according to various church orders, and not all Lutherans observed the festival.  Original dates included November 10 (the eve of Martin Luther‘s birthday), February 18 (the anniversary of Luther’s death), and the Sunday after June 25, the date of the delivery of the Augsburg Confession.  In 1667, after the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), Elector of Saxony John George II ordered the revival of the commemoration, with the date of October 31.  Over time the commemoration spread, and commemorations frequently occurred on the Sunday closest to that date.

The feast used to function primarily as an occasion to express gratitude that one was not Roman Catholic.  However, since 1980, the 450th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute (of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement) and the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau have favored observing the feast as a time of reconciliation and of acknowledging the necessity of the Reformation while not celebrating the schism.

This perspective is consistent with the position of Professor Phillip Cary in his Great Courses series of The History of Christian Theology (2008), in which he argues that Protestantism and Roman Catholicism need each other.

I, as an Episcopalian, stand within the Middle Way–Anglicanism.  I am convinced, in fact, that I am on this planet for, among other reasons, to be an Episcopalian; the affiliation fits me naturally.  I even hang an Episcopal Church flag in my home.  I, as an Episcopalian, am neither quite Protestant nor Roman Catholic; I borrow with reckless abandon from both sides–especially from Lutheranism in recent years.  I affirm Single Predestination (Anglican and Lutheran theology), Transubstantiation, a 73-book canon of scripture, and the Assumption of Mary (Roman Catholic theology), and reject both the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the Virgin Birth of Jesus.  My ever-shifting variety of Anglicanism is sui generis.

The scandal of schism, extant prior to 1517, but exasperated by the Protestant and English Reformations, grieves me.  Most of the differences among denominations similar to each other are minor, so overcoming denominational inertia with mutual forbearance would increase the rate of ecclesiastical unity.  Meanwhile, I, from my perch in The Episcopal Church, ponder whether organic union with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is feasible and wise.  It is a question worth exploring.  At least we are natural ecumenical partners.  We already have joint congregations, after all.  If there will be organic union, it will require mutual giving and taking on many issues, but we agree on most matters already.

Time will tell.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PETER OF CHELCIC, BOHEMIAN HUSSITE REFORMER; AND GREGORY THE PATRIARCH, FOUNDER OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF GODFREY THRING, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JANE CREWDSON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF NARAYAN SESHADRI OF JALNI, INDIAN PRESBYTERIAN EVANGELIST AND “APOSTLE TO THE MANGS”

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Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people.

Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial,

defend them against all enemies of the gospel,

and bestow on the church your saving peace,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 46

Romans 3:19-28

John 8:31-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 58

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Revelation 14:6-7

Romans 3:19-28

John 8:31-36 or Matthew 11:12-19

Lutheran Service Book (2006), xxiii

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/schism-and-reconciliation/

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Feast of James Hannington and His Companions (October 29)   Leave a comment

James Hannington

Above:  James Hannington

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES HANNINGTON (SEPTEMBER 3, 1847-OCTOBER 29, 1885)

Anglican Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Guinea, 1884-1885, and Martyr

The purpose of this post is to provide a brief summary of the life of Bishop James Hannington.  For longer and more detailed accounts of his life and parts thereof I refer you, O reader, to the following sources:

  1. James Hannington, First Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa:  A History of His Life and Work (1885), by Edwin Collas Dawson;
  2. Peril and Adventure in Central Africa; Being Illustrated Letters to the Youngsters at Home, by the Late Bishop Hannington (1886);
  3. The Last Journals of Bishop Hannington; Being Narratives of a Journey Through Palestine in 1884 and a Journey Through Masai-Land and U-Soga in 1885 (1888), edited by Edwin Collas Dawson;
  4. Bishop Hannington and the Story of the Uganda Mission (1908), by William Grinton Berry;
  5. Bishop Hannington:  The Life and Adventures of a Missionary Hero (1910), by William Grinton Berry;
  6. James Hannington, Bishop and Martyr:  The Story of a Noble Life (1910), by Charles D. Michael; and
  7. James Hannington, the Merchant’s Son Who Was Martyred for Africa (1920), by Charles D. Michael.

James Hannington seemed at first unlikely to become an Anglican missionary bishop.  He grew up an Independent, not a member of The Church of England.  Our saint, born in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, on September 3, 1847, was a son of Charles Smith Harrington, who operated a warehouse.  The young saint, who attended the Temple School at Brighton, was a bad student.  He dropped out of school at age 15 to help his father at the warehouse.

Hannington’s life turned toward his destiny in 1867, when the family joined The Church of England.  He decided to pursue Holy Orders and studied at St. Mary Hall, Oxford (B.A., 1874, then M.A.)  At first our saint continued to be a bad student, but the death of his mother changed him and altered his academic habits.  Hannington, ordained to the diaconate in 1874, served as the Curate of St. Peter’s, Treentishoe, Devon, in 1874 and 1875.  Then he, as a priest, was the Curate of St. George’s, Hurstpierpoint, from 1875 to 1882.

Hannington’s life turned toward his destiny again in 1882, when he learned of the murders of missionaries in the vicinity of Lake Victoria.  He volunteered to join the Church Missionary Society’s mission to the area.  Our saint went to Africa, but bad health forced his return to England in 1883.  Upon recovering he became the first Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa in June 1884.  By the end of the year he left for Africa again.  Hannington reached Lake Victoria in 1885.

Our saint did have a family.  On February 10, 1877, at St. George’s Church, he had married Blanche Hankin-Turvin.  The couple had three children.  Hannington was a loving husband and father, but his call from God took into the path of danger.

Hannington had a brief episcopate.  Shortly after he and his party of about 50 people arrived in the vicinity of Lake Victoria King Mwanga II of Buganda (reigned 1884-1888 and 1890-1897) had them arrested and incarcerated.  During the course of about a week most of them suffered violence, humiliation, and martyrdom.  Mwanga feared not only the increasing rate of conversions to Christianity among this subjects but foreign encroachments upon his realm.  He also linked those two issues.  The monarch failed in his attempts to stop both, despite the executions he ordered.  Our saint died on October 29, 1885.  He was 38 years old.  Hannington’s last words were:

Go, tell Mwanga I have purchased the road to Uganda with my blood.

Four members of Hannington’s party escaped to safety.

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,

And hear their death-knell ringing;

When friends rejoice both far and near,

How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile,

Our thoughts to them are winging;

When friends by shame are undefiled,

How can I keep from singing?

–Doris Plemm, circa 1950, in reference to victims of McCarthyism

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MARY AND MARTHA OF BETHANY, FRIENDS OF JESUS

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Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your saints,

whose faithful witness, by your providence, has its great reward:

We give you thanks for your martyrs James Hannington and his companions,

who purchased with their blood a road into Uganda for the proclamation of the Gospel;

and we pray that with them we may obtain the crown of righteousness

which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Job 23:10-17

Psalm 124

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 657

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Feast of Alfred the Great (October 26)   Leave a comment

England 878

Above:  Map of England in 878

Image in the Public Domain

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ALFRED THE GREAT (849-OCTOBER 26, 899)

King of the West Saxons

An old saying tells that power wears down those who do not have it.  That is certainly true in the Turkish Republic.  Even before the recent failed coup President (previously Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the judiciary to imprison journalists whose reporting was critical of him.  He thereby proved that he lacked respect for the freedom of the press.  Now, after the coup, he is targeting not only soldiers but journalists, judges, academics, and civil servants en masse.  It is a witch hunt.  The republic is really a dictatorship.  Erdogan’s power wears down those who do not have it.  Patriotism and law and order are the last refuges of a scoundrel, to paraphrase Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).

Power need not wear down those who lack it, however.  If the right person uses power for proper purposes it builds up the nation–or, in the case, of King Alfred the Great, the only monarch in English history to be “the Great,” the kingdom as a whole.

Alfred the Great was the last King of the West Saxons (alternatively, the King of Wessex) and the first King of the Anglo-Saxons (from 878).  His mother was Osburh/Osburga (died in 854), a noblewoman.  Our saint’s father was King Aethelwulf (reigned 839-858).  Alfred, born in 849, was the youngest of five children who survived to adulthood.  Aethelwulf sent his four-year-old son to visit Rome, where Pope St. Leo IV (reigned April 10, 847-July 17, 855) sponsored the prince at his confirmation.  Two years later Alfred accompanied Aethelwulf on a pilgrimage to Rome.  The prince learned to read English prior to his twelfth birthday.  He did not learn to read Latin until 887, when he had been king for some time.  Aethelwulf’s three elder sons succeeded him, in order, prior to Alfred’s accession:

  1. Aethelbald (reigned 858-860),
  2. Aethelberht (reigned 860-865), and
  3. Aethelred I (reigned 865-871).

Alfred’s public life spanned 866-899.  That public life began with Alfred assisting his elder brother, Aethelred I, resist Danish invaders, a persistent threat for generations.  In 868 the prince married Ealhswith/Ealswitha (died 902), from the Mercian royal family.  Alfred succeeded Aethelred I in 871, becoming the King of the West Saxons (alternatively, the King of Wessex).  The fight against Danish invaders continued throughout his reign.  One phase of that struggle ended in 878, when Alfred took the title “King of the Anglo-Saxons.”  In that year Alfred did not kill Guthrum, the leader of the Danish invaders; no the monarch forced Guthrum to convert to Christianity and stood as his godfather.  Another stage of that struggle ended in 896.  Alfred left behind a military legacy, including a naval fleet and reorganized militias.  He was, in fact, the “Father of the English Navy.”

Alfred did more than maintain the independence of his realm and became one of the greatest early English monarchs.  He also built up his realm and improved the lives of his subjects.  The monarch, for example, issued a law code, joining the ranks of Hammurabi (reigned 1792-1750 B.C.E.) and Justinian I (reigned 527-565 C.E.).  He also encouraged art, architecture, education, and monasticism.  Alfred recruited experts from the continent of Europe to revitalize learning.  He also ordered that children in his court learn both English and Latin.  Furthermore, the king, in 892, began to translate major Latin texts in theology and philosophy.  Other also translated major Latin texts.  Over time confusion regarding which of these Alfred translated has developed.  The monarch also founded a convent and a monastery.  His attempt to revive monasticism failed, however, due to a lack of public interest.  Alfred was ahead of his time in that regard.

Alfred died on October 26, 899.  He was about 50 years old.  His son, Edward the Elder (reigned 899-924), succeeded him.

George P. Knapp, late Professor of English at Columbia University, wrote:

It should be borne in mind, however, that it is not the magnitude of Alfred’s military achievements, nor the extent of the country which he governed, that lift him into the ranks of the world’s great men, but the beauty and moral grandeur of his character.  In him were combined the virtues of the scholar and the patriot, the efficiency of the man of affairs with the wisdom of the philosopher and the piety of the true Christian.  His character, public and private, is without a stain, and his whole life was one of enlightened and magnanimous service to his country.

–Quoted in The Encyclopedia Americana (1962), Volume 1, page 380

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FLORA MACDONALD, CANADIAN STATESWOMAN AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF NANCY BYRD TURNER, POET, EDITOR, AND HYMN EDITOR

THE FEAST OF THE PIONEERING FEMALE EPISCOPAL PRIESTS, 1974 AND 1975

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O Sovereign Lord, you brought your servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might

establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people:

Awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world,

and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Wisdom 6:1-3, 9-12, 24-25

Psalm 21

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

Luke 6:43-49

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 653

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Feast of Harry Webb Farrington (October 27)   1 comment

farrington_signature

Above:  The Signature of Harry Webb Farrington

Image Source = Ghpierson

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HARRY WEBB FARRINGTON (JULY 14, 1879-OCTOBER 27, 1930)

U.S. Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer

Before I write about Farrington’s life and legacy I choose to focus on a technical matter germane to the preparation of this post.  I have a collection of hymnals and their companion volumes.  I also consult certain hymn websites as well as government records (available online) and newspapers.com, the only website I pay to use.  Some of these sources contradict each other regarding the dates (even the year) and locations of both Farrington’s fateful accident as well as his death.  As a matter of principle I am tolerant of a range of opinions yet insist that objective reality is fixed.  In other words, Farrington died at a place on a given date; this is not a subjective matter.  Information regarding that question is either accurate or inaccurate.  Some say he died on October 25; others on October 27.  Certain sources indicate that Farrington died in 1930, but others place his death in 1931.  I tell you, O reader, that I have researched this matter, weighed sources against each other, and endeavored to write accurately of our saint’s life and legacy.  If I have not succeeded fully, that fact has not resulted from a lack of effort.

Harry Webb Farrington devoted his life to the glory of God and the benefit of others, especially children.  He, born at Nassau, the Bahamas, to William Farrington and Emma Russell Farrington on July 14, 1879, became an orphan while an infant.  Our saint grew up a Methodist in Maryland (starting in Baltimore).  He studied at Darlington Academy, Darlington, and had a conversion experience at the Darlington Methodist Episcopal Church.  Our saint became a Methodist minister, serving in New England starting in 1903.  He continued his studies at Dickinson Seminary, Syracuse University (B.A., 1907).  While there he played basketball and football.  Farrington went on to study at the Boston University School of Theology (S.T.B., 1910) before entering a M.A. program in philosophy and education at Harvard University in 1910.

In 1910, at Harvard, Farrington entered a poem into a Christmas hymn contest at the university.  His submission, “I Know Not How that Bethlehem’s Babe,” was the prize-winning text.  It became a staple of many denominational hymnals in the early and middle twentieth century and was, by 1966, the only one of his 29 hymns still in common use.  The Methodist Hymnal (1935) contained two of Farrington’s hymns, including the text from 1910.  That number decreased to one in The Methodist Hymnal (1966) and none in The United Methodist Hymnal (1989).

I know not how that Bethlehem’s Babe

Could in the Godhead be;

I only know the manger Child

Has brought God’s life to me.

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I know not how that Calvary’s cross

A world from sin could free;

I only know its matchless love

Has brought God’s love to me.

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I know not that Joseph’s tomb

Could solve death’s mystery;

I only know a living Christ,

Our immortality.

Farrington’s other prize-winning hymn was “Dear Lord, Who Sought at Dawn of Day” (1925), for which the Homilietical Review honored him in 1927.

After our saint received his degree from Harvard he taught there for a year then, in 1914, went to work for the Methodist Episcopal Church as a field secretary for the Board of Sunday Schools.  He pioneered weekday religious education for young people in Gary, Indiana, in 1914 and in the City of New York two years later.

Farrington participated in World War I.  He was, in fact, the first American citizen to receive a commission in the French army, in 1918.  For his work, which was directing athletics for the French army, he received a lifelong commission in the 7th and 10th Cuirassiers and the title Marechal des Logis Adjutant au Colonel, equivalent to the rank of major in the U.S. Army.  At the time the only non-Frenchman to hold that rank was the King of Italy.

Farrington, back in the United States in 1919, began the next phase of his life.  He became assistant minister of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, New York City.  On June 24, 1920, he married Dora Wilhemina Davis, daughter of Methodist missionaries to India.  Both the husband and the wife were 39 years old.  From 1920 to 1923 our saint served as the Director of Education of the Methodist Church Welfare League.  Farrington lectured in New York City schools through 1928 and traveled to lecture in other places about religious education and social ethics also.  Over the years he spoke to more than 2,500,000 young people.

Farrington also published books, including seven volumes of poetry, an autobiography, and profiles of great Americans.  His published works included the following;

  1. Poems from France (1920);
  2. Rough and Brown (1921);
  3. Walls of America; or, The House of Uncle Sam (1925);
  4. Cher Ami (1926); and
  5. Kilts to Togs (1930).

Farrington died in 1930.  On July 2, at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, he fell from a second-story porch and fell 15 feet to a concrete sidewalk when a railing gave way.  This accident paralyzed the 49-year-old minister.  He did, aged 50 years, at the Methodist Episcopal Hospital in Brooklyn on October 27.  His widow published two posthumous volumes (Valleys and Visions and Land of Only If) of his poetry in 1932.

I have found titles of seven of Farrington’s hymns.  Of those I have located the texts of four.  Of those four I have incorporated the text of one into this post and added the texts of three to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I have yet to find the texts of twenty-five of Farrington’s hymns, including the following:

  1. “Our Father Made the Lovely Earth,”
  2. “The Storm God of Stern Sinai’s Hill,” and
  3. “The World Came to My Home Today.”

Those three hymns were available in hymnals for children, appropriately.

Armin Haeussler described Farrington as

a man of keen intellect, brave heart, high purpose, and profound faith in Christ.

The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), page 651

That was an accurate assessment.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONAVENTURE, THEOLOGIAN

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Harry Webb Farrington 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 Hugh O’Flaherty (October 30)   2 comments

Vatican Flag

Above:  The Flag of Vatican City

Image in the Public Domain

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HUGH O’FLAHERTY (FEBRUARY 28, 1898-OCTOBER 30, 1963)

The “Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican”

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed  an entire world.  And whoever saves one life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

–Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9

Sometimes acting in a merely decent manner proves to be dangerous, even potentially deadly for one.  Doing the right thing remains important and becomes courageous in such circumstances.  From the lives of heroes who acted merely decently we who look back upon their times can derive invaluable lessons about loving our neighbors as ourselves.

The saint and hero du jour is Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.  He, born at Cahersiveen, Ireland, on February 28, 1898, grew up toward the end of the struggle to establish the Republic of Ireland (founded in 1922).  Political realities, including the killing of friends by pro-British partisans, caused our saint to have a negative opinion of the British for a long time.  His mother was Margaret O’Flaherty, a homemaker.  Our saint’s father was James O’Flaherty, steward at a golf club.  Young Hugh, who grew up at Killarney, became a skilled golfer, but his vocation was with the Church.  Thus he entered Mungret College, a Jesuit school, in 1918, to train and study to become a missionary priest.

O’Flaherty became a priest in 1925 and a monsignor nine years later, but never a missionary.  No, diplomacy beckoned, given his doctorates and his fluency in languages.  This change of direction proved vital to the great work he performed in the 1940s.  Our saint served in diplomatic roles for the Roman Catholic Church in Egypt, Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Czechoslovakia before transferring to the Vatican in 1938.  Thus it came to pass that, with the start of the European Theater of World War II in 1939 (the Second Sino-Japanese War, which became the Pacific Theater of World War II, had been in progress for years), the Vatican assigned him to serve as the translator for the Papal Nuncio to Italy.  This work brought O’Flaherty into contact with Allied prisoners of war, including British ones.  He had no difficulty siding with the Allies (even the British) against the Axis Powers, for, as he liked to say,

God has no country.

Our saint ensured that Allied prisoners of war received blankets, Red Cross packages, and proper clothing.  He used Vatican Radio to send messages from these prisoners to their families back home.  And O’Flaherty protested conditions in some POW facilities, prompting the Italian government to ask the Church to reassign him.

Thus O’Flaherty found himself in a position to lead a network of volunteers, safe houses, and church buildings for the purpose of saving thousands of lives.  He was responsible for saving the lives of an estimated 6,500 people–prisoners of war, anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi dissidents, and Jews (about 1,700 of them), of course.  Our saint risked his life to conduct this work.  He had to travel in disguise, for Pietro Koch, the leader of the Italian Fascist police, and Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler, the head of the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied Rome (September 1943-June 1944), sought to kill him or to have him killed on sight outside the safety of Vatican City, a sovereign state.

O’Flaherty, a humble man who disliked attention showered upon him, received postwar honors from foreign governments.  The Italian government gave him a pension, which he declined.  Canada and France honored him.  O’Flaherty became a Commander of the British Empire and received the United States Medal of Freedom.

Kappler’s fate and the postwar relationship he and O’Flaherty spoke of the possibility of repentance and redemption.  Allied forces arrested the former Gestapo leader in 1945.  In 1947 a court sentenced him to life imprisonment.  O’Flaherty visited him in prison and befriended him.  The two men discussed topics such as literature and religion.  And, in 1959, our saint converted Kappler to Roman Catholicism.

O’Flaherty, about to become the Papal Nuncio to Tanzania, suffered a stroke in 1960.  Thus he left the Vatican for his native Ireland, moving into the home of one of his sisters at Cahersiveen.  There our saint died on October 30, 1963.  Fifty years later, at Killarney, the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial opened, complete with one of his quotes,

God has no country.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 24, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PENTECOST

THE FEAST OF IDA SCUDDER, REFORMED CHURCH IN AMERICA MEDICAL MISSIONARY IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF JACKSON KEMPER, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF WISCONSIN

THE FEAST OF MOTHER EDITH, FOUNDER OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE SACRED NAME

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight,

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer,

who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 736

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Feast of Bartholomaus Helder (October 29)   1 comment

Flag of the Holy Roman Empire

Above:  The Flag of the Holy Roman Empire

Image in the Public Domain

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BARTHOLOMAUS HELDER (CIRCA 1585-OCTOBER 28, 1635)

German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer

The series of short posts about German Lutheran hymn writers continues with this entry about Bartholomaus Helder.

Helder was a distinguished composer and hymn writer.  The native of Gotha, in Thuringia, was a son of Johann Helder, the Lutheran superintendent there circa 1585.  By 1607 our saint had completed his formal education.  That year he became a schoolmaster at Friemar, near Gotha.  Nine years later, in 1616, he became pastor at Remstadt, also near Gotha.  There he remained for the rest of his life, dying of the plague, on October 28, 1635.  He left behind hymns and hymn tunes.  Helder had published two collections of hymns, Cymbalum Genethliacum (1615) and Cymbalum Davidicum (1620).  Cantionale Sacrum (1646) included fifty of his texts, a hymn for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24).  Helder also composed at least three hymn tunes.  Sources I consulted indicate that little of his work has entered English-language hymnals.  That is unfortunate, based on the quality of Helder’s work that I have encountered.

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

Bartholomaus Helder 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 David Moritz Michael (October 21)   2 comments

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1832

Above:  View of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1832

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID MORITZ MICHAEL (OCTOBER 21, 1751-FEBRUARY 26, 1827)

German-American Moravian Musician and Composer

David Moritz Michael (1751-1827), a native of Kuhnhausen, in Germany, received his musical training in Europe.  He became a virtuoso on instruments including the violin, the clarinet, and the French horn.  He brought his musical talents to the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum), which he joined when he was thirty years old.  Our saint taught music at the Moravian school at Niesky prior to transferring to the Bethlehem-Nazareth area of Pennsylvania in 1795 to work with young men there.  He lived in Nazareth from 1795 to 1808 and at Bethlehem from 1808 to 1815.  He led the collegium musicum of Nazareth from 1795 to  1804.  Michael assumed leadership of the collegium musicum of Bethlehem in 1808, revitalizing the ensemble musically and financially.  In 1811, at Bethlehem, he conducted an early (if not the first) American performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Creation.

Our saint seems to have composed only during his two decades in the United States of America.  A major work was Psalm 103, which he debuted at Nazareth on November 8, 1805.  He scored the composition, which he intended as a concert piece, for SATB choir, two flutes, two clarinets, bassoon, clarini, string, and organ.  Karl Kroeger wrote in 1976 that Psalm 103 was

the first extended, cantata-like work written by an American Moravian composer, and quite possibly the earliest work for these performing forces written in America.

Kroeger wrote of our saint that Psalm 103 

shows Michael to have been a capable composer of considerable craftsmanship, and perhaps the only Moravian composer in America during his time who could have successfully handled a large-scale, lyrico-dramatic choral form.  On the basis of Psalm 103 alone one must rank Michael as a major figure in American Moravian music.

Michael also composed fourteen Parthien for woodwind ensembles, many solos for vocalists, many motets for church choirs, and two suites for Whitmonday (the Monday after Pentecost).  The structure of each of the Parthien was three to five movements, with forms similar to early classical symphonies.  His motets, all of whom musicologists might not have identified, included “Hearken! Stay Close to Jesus Christ,” “Hearken, For I Bring You Great Joy,” and “Hail, Newborn Infant.”  Whitmonday was an occasion for a music festival along the banks of the Lehigh River at Bethlehem.  Michael’s two suites for Whitmonday were Water Journey (1809) and Suites to Play by a Spring (probably 1810).  The ensemble performed the fifteen movements and two unnumbered sections of Water Journey on a piloted boat on the river.  Each movement was consistent with the condition of the river (from quiet to the whirlpool in the middle to quiet again) when the musicians performed it.  This work, according to many, was Michael’s masterpiece.  Suites to Play by a Spring had fourteen movements–an introduction and three sections.

Our saint returned to Germany in 1815.  He died at Neuweid on February 26, 1827.  His music has survived him, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

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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 David Michael Moritz

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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