Archive for the ‘Saints of 1000-1049’ Category

Feast of St. Arialdus of Milan (June 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  Italy Circa 1050

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ARIALDUS OF MILAN (DIED IN 1066)

Italian Roman Catholic Deacon and Martyr, 1066

St. Arialdus became a martyr during a controversy over simony and lay investiture.  Our saint, a well-educated deacon in Milan, taught in the cathedral school.  He was a leader of Pataria, the ecclesiastical reform movement that started in 1057 and that continued after this death.  St. Arialdus sided with Pope Alexander II (reigned 1061-1073) against Guido da Valate, the Archbishop of Milan from 1045 to 1071.  Alexander II’s reform agenda included opposing simony, married priests, and lay ordination of priests without the permission of the local bishop ordinary.  Da Valate not only opposed the papal agenda but stirred up violence, too.  St. Arialdus left Milan and went into hiding.  After Alexander II excommunicated the archbishop, da Valate ordered the arrest, incarceration, and execution of St. Arialdus.

Pope Alexander II canonized St. Arialdus in 1067.

After da Valate died in 1071, the dispute over succession resulted in a schism.  Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (reigned 1056-1106) favored Godfrey.  The Pataria and the pope favored Atto.  Functionally, Godfrey had the job through 1075.  His immediate successor in the archbishopric and in Henry IV’s favor was Tedald (1075-1085).

Pope St. Gregory VII (reigned 1073-1085) continued the struggle with Henry IV.  The Supreme Pontiff excommunicated the emperor in 1076 then absolved him a year later.  Then, in 1080, Henry IV defied St. Gregory VII and facilitated the election of antipope Clement III (1080, 1084-1100).  The emperor seized Rome and forced the Supreme Pontiff into exile.  St. Gregory VII died in Salerno the following year.

Frosty relations between the Holy Roman Emperors and the Bishops of Rome continued, off-and-on, for years.  The Concordat of Worms (September 23, 1122) resolved the dispute.  Emperors retained a role in the selection and consecration of bishops.  Both sides won something, but the pope-emperor struggle continued.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JACQUES ELLUL, FRENCH REFORMED THEOLOGIAN AND SOCIOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT CELESTINE V, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF KERMARTIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ATTORNEY, PRIEST, AND ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR

THE FEAST OF GEORG GOTTFRIED MULLER, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

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Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church.

Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace.

Where it is corrupt, purify it;

where it is in error, direct it;

where in anything it is amiss, reform it.

Where it is right, strengthen it;

where it is in want, provide for it;

where it is divided, reunite it;

for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:1-6, 20-22

Psalm 12:1-7

Acts 22:30-23:10

Matthew 21:12-16

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 735

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Feast of St. Walter of Pontoise (March 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Walter of Pontoise

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT WALTER OF PONTOISE (CIRCA 1030-APRIL 8, 1099)

French Roman Catholic Abbot and Ecclesiastical Reformer

Alternative feast days = February 17, April 8, and May 4

Recognition of the will of God does not necessarily translate into immediate acceptance of it.  This is a spiritual struggle many people know well.

St. Walter of Pontoise knew it well.

Our saint, born in Andainville, Picardy, France, circa 1030, really wanted to be a simple Benedictine monk.  He, after having been a professor of philosophy and rhetoric, had fled success-related temptations by becoming a Benedictine monk at Rebais-en-Brie.  He did not aspire to leadership.

Nevertheless, St. Walter became the first Abbot of Pontoise, via appointment by King Philip I (reigned 1060-1108).  From time to time our saint fled the abbey and his responsibilities.  Once he fled to Cluny.  Every time St. Walter fled, he had to return.  Pope Gregory VII (in office 1073-1085) refused our saint’s resignation and sent him back to Pontoise.  St. Walter never ran away gain.

He did suffer, however.  St. Walter opposed corruption (mainly simony), lax monastic discipline, and the morally dissolute lives of many Benedictine monks.  Our saint’s activism made powerful enemies, some of whom had him arrested, beaten, and incarcerated.  Yet St. Walter, released, continued his ecclesiastical reform efforts.

In 1094 St. Walter founded a convent at Bertaucourt-les-Dames.

St. Walter died of natural causes on Good Friday, April 8, 1099, at Pontoise Abbey.  He was about 69 years old.

St. Walter became the last Western saint canonized by someone other than the Bishop of Rome.  Hugh, Archbishop of Rouen, canonized our saint in 1153.

St. Walter is the patron saint of Pontoise, vintners, prisoners of war, and prisoners.  Some invoke him against job-related stress, not surprisingly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI-TIM-OI, FIRST FEMALE PRIEST IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION

THE FEAST OF GEORGE A. BUTTRICK, ANGLO-AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; AND HIS SON, DAVID G. BUTTRICK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEN UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIE POUSSEPIN, FOUNDRESS OF THE DOMINICAN SISTERS OF CHARITY OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE VIRGIN

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF PODLASIE, 1874

THE FEAST OF SAINT SURANUS OF SORA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR, 580

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O God, by whose grace your servant Saint Walter of Pontoise,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Amos 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 723

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Feast of Blessed Herman of Reichenau (September 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Herman of Reichenau

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED HERMAN OF REICHENAU (FEBRUARY 18, 1013-SEPTEMBER 21, 1054)

Roman Catholic Monk, Liturgist, Poet, and Scholar

Also known as Blessed Hermianus Contractus, Blessed Herman the Lame, and Blessed Herman the Cripple

Living in 2018 is, in many ways, a great blessing.  For example, many surgeries and medical therapies that did not exist in much of the past have become available.

Blessed Herman of Reichenau, who lacked access to such surgeries and therapies, accomplished much, despite his circumstances, temporal and otherwise.  He, born in Altshausen, Swabia, on February 18, 1013, had spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and a cleft palate.  His parents, farmers, provided care for him until he was seven years old, when they left their son in the care of the Benedictine monks at Reichenau Abbey, Lake Constance.  There our saint spent the rest of his life.

Blessed Herman had a brilliant intellect and a brilliant, creative capacity.  He, a monk from the age of 20 years, wrote about astronomy, mathematics, theology, and several languages.  Our saint composed a chronicle of events, starting with the birth of Jesus and ending in 1054, the year of Blessed Herman’s death.  He also had the status of being the most famous living poet of his time.  Two of Blessed Herman’s compositions, incorporated into Roman Catholic liturgies, were the Alma Redemptoris Mater and the Salve Regina.  If that were not enough, Blessed Herman also built astronomical and musical instruments.

Blessed Herman, blind late in life, died at Reichenau Abbey, on September 21, 1054.  He was 41 years old.  His cultus existed without formal recognition until 1863, when Pope Pius IX confirmed the cultus.

Blessed Herman was fortunate to live in that monastery, where he had opportunities to contribute to society.  Many generations of Christians, especially those with a Roman Catholic piety, have benefited from at least two of the compositions of our saint.

This story also reminds us of the moral imperative never to warehouse those among us with physical disabilities.  Such disabilities are frequently difficult barriers, but they need not impair one’s ability to benefit society.  The extent to which that becomes reality depends largely on the decisions and actions of others, of course.

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Holy and loving God, you became incarnate in the form of Jesus of Nazareth,

thereby identifying with we mere mortals, with all our frailties.

We thank you for your faithful servant, Blessed Herman of Reichenau,

who, despite having to cope with physical conditions and disabilities

for which there were no treatments at the time,

made his great and lasting contributions to his society and to the Church.

May we act on our responsibilities to and for each other,

helping each other accomplish our potential, for your everlasting and eternal glory.

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

2 Esdras 2:20-24

Psalm 84

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Luke 1:46-55

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAPHNUTIUS THE GREAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF UPPER THEBAID

THE FEAST OF ANNE HOULDITCH SHEPHERD, ANGLICAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PATIENS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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Feast of St. William of Roskilde (September 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Realm of King Canute the Great

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT WILLIAM OF ROSKILDE (DIED 1067/1074)

English-Danish Roman Catholic Bishop

Danish kings used to rule Norway.  For a time a few of them also governed England.  In 1013 Sweyn I Forkbeard (reigned 985-1014) conquered England.  He died six weeks later. In the political chaos that ensued, Canute the Great (reigned 1014-1035) returned to Denmark, the Anglo-Saxon king Aethelred the Unready ( really poorly advised, not unready; reigned 978-1013, 1014-1016), and returned from exile to rule again, and Edmund II Ironside (reigned 1016) rebelled against his father Aethelred.  Meanwhile, Canute returned in force in 1015, and reconquered England the following year.  He gave England stability.  After Canute the Great died two sons claimed the English throne and caused chaos for seven years.  The legal heir, was Harthacanute, and Harold Harefoot was the son conceived out-of-wedlock.  Anglo-Saxon rule in England resumed with the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), whose death preceded the Norman Conquest (1066), after the brief usurpation of the throne by Harold II Godwineson.  Normans–Vikings by another name–took over England.

The rest is history.

St. William, an Anglo-Saxon, was a priest, and chaplain to Canute the Great.  Our saint, while visiting Denmark, recognized the need for Christian missionaries in that part of the kingdom, so he volunteered.  Starting in 1044 he served as the Bishop of Roskilde.

King Sweyn II Estridsson (reigned 1047-1076) was a troublesome and contradictory man.  He, one of St. William’s friends, was also a generous patron of the Church.  Unfortunately, he was also a violent man and the father children via his wife and a host of mistresses.  St. William issued an order forbidding all who had shed blood unjustly from receiving sacraments prior to performing public penance.  One New Year’s Eve Sweyn II noticed that some guests and hired men were mocking him behind his back or had done so.  He had them killed in church the following day.  That day, when the monarch and his guards attempted to enter Roskilde Cathedral, St. William, standing alone, risked his life to keep them out.  He confronted Sweyn II, whom he excommunicated on the spot.  The guards drew their weapons to strike down the bishop, but the monarch prevented them from harming him.  St. William proceeded with the liturgy.  Later he noticed that Sweyn II was performing public penance.  The bishop rescinded the excommunication immediately.  Sweyn II was a different man after that.

Pope Honorius III canonized St. William of Roskilde in 1224.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS, “APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, ANGLICAN DEAN OF WESTMINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERARD, FIRST DEACONESS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Saint William of Roskilde,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Denmark.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of St. Altman of Passau (August 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Bavaria, 919-1125

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ALTMAN OF PASSAU (CIRCA 1020-1091)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Passau

Also known as Saint Altmann of Passau and Saint Altmanno of Passau

St. Altman, born circa 1020 in Paderborn, Wesphalia, faced strong opposition for advocating for honesty in ecclesiastical matters.  He studied in Paris, became a priest, led the Paderborn cathedral school, and was chaplain to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III (reigned 1039-1056), as well as a friend of Empress Agnes.  In 1064 our saint was part of a group of pilgrims to the Holy Land.  Sarencens captured the pilgrims, only about half of whom returned to their homes.

In 1065 St. Altman became the Bishop of Passau.  He advocated for aid to and education of the poor, and mentored St. Leopold the Good (1073-1136; feast day = November 15), grandson of Henry III.  St. Altman got into trouble in 1074 by trying to enforce the policies of Pope Gregory VII regarding celibacy and simony; many priests refused to obey.  Three years later our saint’s opposition to lay investiture led to his expulsion by supporters of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (reigned 1056-1106).  Subsequently the Pope appointed our saint the apostolic delegate to Germany.  St. Altman was briefly back in Passau in 1081 before a second exile started.  Henry IV deposed our saint as Bishop of Passau in 1085, although St. Altman remained the bishop of that diocese, according to the Church.

St. Altman, who founded monasteries, spent his final years in one of the abbeys he had started.  He died at Gottweig Abbey in 1091.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Saint Altman of Passau

to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ

and stewards of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 719

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Feast of St. Bernard of Menthon (May 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Part of Europe, 962 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BERNARD OF MENTHON (CIRCA 923-1008)

Roman Catholic Priest and Archdeacon of Aosta

Apostle of the Alps

Alternative feast day = June 15

St. Bernard, patron saint of skiers, mountaineers, mountain climbers, travelers in the mountains, dwellers in the Alps, and Campiglia Cerva (in Italy), came from nobility.  He, born in a castle in Menthon, Savoy (now France), circa 923, received a fine education.  Then he rejected the marriage his father had arranged for him.  St. Bernard prepared for the priesthood instead.  Our saint proved to be an effective evangelist in the region of Aosta for 42 years.

The mountain pass from the Valley of Aosta into Valois canton, Switzerland, was perilous.  That pass, now named for St. Bernard, was prone to avalanches and a haunt for robbers.  Our saint founded two monasteries (the first one in 962) along the pass and staffed them with Augustinian monks.  They provided shelter for religious pilgrims and religious pilgrims.  The monks, assisted by dogs, also searched for people lost in the snow.  St. Bernard also founded a patrol to rid the pass of robbers.

St. Bernard served on the diocesan level also.  He, the Archdeacon of Aosta (starting in 996), also held the position of Vicar-General of the diocese.

St. Bernard died in Novara, Italy, in 1008.  He was about 85 years old.  Starting in the 1300s he was informally a saint, until Pope Innocent XI canonized him in 1681.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF KARL BARTH, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; FATHER OF MARKUS BARTH, SWISS LUTHERAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF GEORG FRIEDRICH HELLSTROM, DUTCH-GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN, COMPOWER, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER FOURIER, “THE GOOD PRIEST OF MATTAINCOURT;” AND SAINT ALIX LE CLERC, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF NOTRE DAME OF CANONESSES REGULAR OF SAINT AUGUSTINE

THE FEAST OF SAINT WALTER CISZEK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND POLITICAL PRISONER

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Saint Bernard of Menthon,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with him attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of St. Emma of Lesum (April 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saxony, 919-1125 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT EMMA OF LESUM (CIRCA 977-DECEMBER 3, 1038)

Benefactor

Also known as St. Imma, St. Hemma, and St. Emma of Stiepel and of Bremen

Alternative feast days = April 17 and December 3

St. Emma of Lesum came from nobility.  Her mother was Countess Adela of Hamaland (952-1021), sovereign of Hamaland (now in The Netherlands) from 973 to 1021.  Our saint’s father was Imad IV of Renkum (died in 973).  St. Emma’s brother, St. Meinwark (circa 975-June 5, 1036; feast day = June 5) was the Bishop of Paderborn (now in Germany) from 1009 to 1036.  Her husband, Luidger (died in 1011), was also of Saxon noble origin; his father was Duke Hermann Billung.  St. Emma and Luidger had one child, Imad, who became the Bishop of Paderborn in 1051.

St. Emma, as a widow, retired to her estate (Lesum) near Bremen.  She had already begun to be a benefactor.  Holy Roman Emperor Otto III (reigned 996-1002) had given her land at Stiepel (now in Germany).  St. Emma had arranged for the construction of a church dedicated to St. Mary of Nazareth on the site in 1008.  St. Emma, as a widow, donated generously to the poor of Bremen and to St. Peter’s Cathedral in the city.

St. Emma died on December 3, 1038.  Her canonization seems to have been an informal process, consisting of public acclaim.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 11, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, SWEDISH ECUMENIST AND ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Saint Emma of Lesum,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with her attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of St. Alphege (April 19)   1 comment

Above:  St. Alphege

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ALPHEGE (953-1012)

Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1012

The Feast of St. Alphege comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints and Holy Days via Roman Catholic and Anglican calendars.

St. Alphege, or Aelfheah, was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to wear the crown of martyrdom.  He, from a noble family, entered Deerfield Abbey, Gloucestershire.  During ensuing years our saint was a monk, an anchorite, and the abbot at Bath Abbey.  In 984 St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury from 960 t0 988, secured St. Alphege’s appointment as Bishop of Winchester.  Our saint, an effective bishop, supervised an effective system of caring for the poor.  He also negotiated a peace treaty with the recently baptized Norse King Olaf Tryggvason in 994.  Eleven years later St. Alphege succeeded to the See of Canterbury.  In 1011 Danish forces captured him.  Our saint refused to permit the collection of a large ransom from the over-burdened population.  So it came to pass that, after several months, his captors executed him in 1012.

Archbishop of Canterbury St. Anselm, whom St. Alphege had mentored, argued for the definition of our saint’s death as a form of martyrdom.  To die for the sake of justice, St. Anselm contended, is to die as a martyr.

Pope Gregory VII canonized St. Alphege in 1078.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 11, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, SWEDISH ECUMENIST AND ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA

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O loving God, your martyr bishop Alphege of Canterbury suffered violent death

when he refused to permit a ransom to be extorted from his people:

Grant that all pastors of your flock may pattern themselves on the Good Shepherd,

who laid down this life for the sheep; and who with you and the

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

1 Samuel 24:7b-19

Psalm 49:1-9

Philemon 1-9a

Luke 23:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 333

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Feast of St. Odilo of Cluny (January 2)   Leave a comment

st-odilo-of-cluny

Above:  St. Odilo of Cluny

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ODILO OF CLUNY (CIRCA 962-JANUARY 1, 1049)

Roman Catholic Abbot

Alternative feast days = January 1, January 3, January 19, February 6, April 29, and May 11

St. Odilo of Cluny, a native of Auvergne, came from French nobility.  His father was Berald de Mercoeur.  His mother was Gerberga, who entered a convent after Berald died.  At the age of 29 years St. Odilo became a monk at the great monastery of Cluny.  Three years later, in 994, he became the abbot.  Our saint held that post for 54 years.

St. Odilo was an influential figure.  In 998 he pioneered the observance of All Souls’ Day (November 2), set aside to remember and pray for the dead.  He also sold church treasures and property to raise funds to feed the poor during famine.  Furthermore, our saint promoted the Truce of God, or the suspension of military hostilities at certain Church-defined times, for the purpose of permitting essential commerce to resume.  Another aspect of the Truce of God was respecting churches as places of refuge.  The penalty for violating the Truce of God was excommunication.  St. Odilo also increased the number of Cluniac priories from 37 to 65 and declined the opportunity to become the Archbishop of Lyon.

Part of our saint’s job entailed traveling from Cluniac priory to Cluniac priory.  He was inspecting the priory at Souvigny when he died on January 1, 1049.

If you, O reader, have attended an All Saints’ Day (or, as we call it in The Episcopal Church, Commemoration of All Faithful Departed) service, you have experienced the influence of St. Odilo of Cluny.

As for the Truce of God, it sounds like a fine idea to me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF ANNE STEELE, FIRST IMPORTANT ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant St. Odilo of Cluny, kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 113 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Sylvester II (May 12)   3 comments

Vatican Flag

Above:  Vatican Flag

SYLVESTER II (CIRCA 945-MAY 12, 1003)

Also Known as Gerbert of Aurillac

Bishop of Rome

Today I add Pope Sylvester II (reigned April 2, 999-May 12, 1003) to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  The Roman Catholic Church has not seen fit to canonize him; that constitutes an oversight.

I have been pondering adding Pope Sylvester II to my Ecumenical Calendar since the St. Abbo of Fleury post.  Part of the discipline inherent in working of these saints posts is staying on track and not chasing rabbits; one must return to some people later.  I have concluded that Sylvester II deserves a place on a place on my Ecumenical Calendar with one caveat:  My political theories are post-Enlightenment; he were pre-Enlightenment.  Thus I favor the separation of church and state for the benefit of the church, but Sylvester II supported theocracy.  That fact about him troubles me, but the rest of his life offsets that matter.  And he was a product of his times, just as I am a product of mine.

Gerbert of Aurillac was a great intellectual who accepted accurate knowledge wherever he found it.  For this reason many opponents within the Church accused him of being in league with Satan.  These anti-intellectuals shunned the classics of Greek and Roman philosophy and literature, calling them “vermin.”  But the works of Virgil, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Horace, etc. were not “vermin.”  No, for Gerbert, born into humble origins and educated at Aurillac monastery, they were essential works.  One needed to master the classics and to hone one’s abilities to be an excellent orator, he claimed.

Gerbert was a Renaissance man who lived before the Renaissance.  He studied the night sky with a telescope regularly and mastered mathematics.  He knew how to use an abacus well.  He built clocks and pipe organs.  And, 972 forward, as head of the Rheims Cathedral School, he built up that institution’s reputation as a center of intellectual inquiry.  For Gerbert astronomy, mathematics, Greek classics, good morals, and excellent oratory went hand-in-hand:

With my efforts to lead a good life, I have always tried to speak well, as philosophy does not separate these two things.  While to live a good life is more important than to be a good speaker, still to those of us in public affairs, both powers are necessary.  For it is of the highest advantage to be able to persuade by well-fashioned speech, and by sweet words to restrain angry souls from violence.

–quoted in James Reston, The Last Apocalypse:  Europe at the Year 1000 A.D. (New York:  Doubleday, 1998), page 211

Gerbert’s intellectual reputation in 980 threatened that of Otric, head of the Magdeburg Cathedral School and tutor of German Emperor Otto II (reigned 973-983).  Otric had heard that Gerbert had promoted physics as a branch of mathematics, not as a separate discipline.  Otto II and a rapt audience observed as the intellectuals debated.  Gerbert won the debate and Otto II’s favor.

It was good to have a royal patron, Gerbert learned.  Otto II appointed Gerbert to lead the monastery at Bobbio, which had a vast library, in 983.  Yet mutual misunderstandings led to opposition to Gerbert as abbot.  Otto II died later that year, leaving a three-year-old Otto III (reigned 983-1002), whose throne Gerbert saved from a usurper.  Then, in 984, Gerbert returned to Rheims, where he helped make Hugh Capet (reigned 987-996) then King of France.

Royal and papal politics played major roles in Gerbert’s life in the 990s.  He succeeded to the Archbishopric of Rheims in 991 yet had to vacate that post four years later in favor of one Arnoul.  This was the same Arnoul whom Gerbert had succeeded.  There had been no papal approval for Gerbert’s appointment in 991.  Gerbert argued against such a necessity yet Arnoul favored it.  In 996 Gerbert became the tutor and advisor to his friend, Otto III, who appointed him Archbishop of Ravenna in 998 and pulled strings the next year to make him the Pope.

Gerbert, now Sylvester II, took his regnal name from St. Sylvester I (reigned 314-335), an ally of Roman Emperor Constantine I “the Great.”  From this pontiff Sylvester II drew inspiration for papal-imperial cooperation.  The new Pope dreamed of uniting Europe with the full cooperation of Otto III.

Sylvester II used the powers of the office.  He opposed simony, punished priests who lapsed in their vows of chastity, called for the election of abbots by their monks, and expanded the reach of the Church into Poland, Norway, and Hungary.  He also reversed a previous position, supporting Arnoul’s claim to be Archbishop of Rheims and affirming the papal right to appoint bishops.

Sylvester II’s brief tenure and his shared dream with Otto III faced a great challenge in 1001, when a rebellion forced both of them to flee Rome.  Otto III died in 1002 and Henry II (reigned 1002-1024), son of the usurper from 983, succeeded to the throne.  Sylvester II returned to Rome that year as a purely spiritual leader.

Sylvester II, Bishop of Rome, was a fearless intellectual who challenged the anti-intellectual prejudices of his day.  For that fact I honor him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 28, 2013 COMMON ERA

MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINT TUTILO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF KAROL SZYMANOWSKI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUNTRAM OF BURGUNDY, KING

THE FEAST OF HANS NIELSEN HAUGE, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN LAY PREACHER

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of Pope Sylvester II 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