Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1560s’ Category

Feast of Johann Walter (April 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Luther Rose

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHANN WALTER (1496-MARCH 25, 1570)

“First Cantor of the Lutheran Church”

Also known as Johann Walther and Johannes Walter

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod celebrates the life and legacy of Johann Walter on April 24.  On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, his feast day is April 23.

Walter was a native of Kahla, Thuringia.  He, born in 1496, studied in Kahla and Rochlitz before matriculating at the University of Leipzig in 1521.  He, who had experience as a chorister, sang bass in the court of Frederick III “the Wise,” Elector of Saxony (reigned 1486-1525).  In 1524 and 1525 Walter collaborated with Martin Luther.  He edited the Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn (1524), a collection of polyphonic motets.  Our saint also adapted music for use in the reformer’s German Mass.  In 1526 Walter started a new job–cantor at Torgau, with duties to teach music to boys and to direct music in the parish church.  He did that until 1548, when he became the kappelmeister to Maurice, Elector of Saxony (reigned 1547-1553).  Walter’s last job ended in 1554, when he, aged 60 years, became a pensioner.  Then he returned to Torgau, where he died on March 25, 1570.

Walter’s main contribution to Lutheran hymnody was musical.  He did, however, compose some texts, such as the one translated into English as “The Bridegroom Soon Will Call Us,” originally 33 stanzas in German.  English translations, however, have been much briefer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

PROPER 10:  THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALEN POSTEL, FOUNDER OF THE POOR DAUGHTERS OF MERCY

THE FEAST OF GEORGE ALFRED TAYLOR RYGH, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN MOORE WALKER, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

THE FEAST OF THE RIGHTEOUS GENTILES

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Johann Walter)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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

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Feast of St. Margaret Clitherow (March 26)   Leave a comment

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Above:  St. Margaret Clitherow

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARGARET MIDDLETON CLITHEROW (1556- MARCH 25, 1586)

Roman Catholic Martyr in England

Her feast transferred from March 25

The Feast of St. Margaret Clitherow is March 25 in the Roman Catholic Church.  March 25, however, is also the Feast of the Annunciation.  My rule regarding biblical feasts on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is, with few exceptions, to reserve a date with a biblical feast for that biblical feast and to transfer other commemorations that might fall on that date to other dates.  I have decided during the ongoing renovation of the Ecumenical Calendar to follow Roman Catholic custom and retain March 25 as the Feast of St. Dismas also; he was a biblical saint, after all.  Clitherow, however, lived in the 1500s.  Therefore I have transferred Clitherow’s feast to March 26.

Margaret Middleton, born at York, England, in 1556, was a daughter of Thomas Middleton (a candle maker and, for two years, the Sheriff of York) and Jane Middleton.  Our saint grew up an Anglican and married John Clitherow.  She converted to Roman Catholicism circa 1574.  Our saint endured more than one term of imprisonment for being a Roman Catholic, for allowing clandestine Masses on her property, and for sheltering Roman Catholic priests (including her husband’s brother).  Her final trial (on March 14, 1586) resulted in a death sentence.  Clitherow refused to answer any charges and to incriminate family members and servants.  Her last words, during the fatal pressing on Good Friday, were

Jesus, Jesu, Jesu, have mercy on me.

Both of her sons became priests and her daughter became a nun.

Pope Pius XI declared Clitherow a Venerable then a Blessed in 1929.  Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1970.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 4, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIUS THE CENTURION, WITNESS TO THE CRUCIFIXION

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of St. Margaret Clitherow,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

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

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Sebastian Castellio (March 20)   1 comment

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Above:  Sebastian Castellio 

Image in the Public Domain

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SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO (1515-DECEMBER 29, 1563)

Prophet of Religious Liberty

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To kill a man is not to defend a doctrine, but to kill a man.

–Sebastian Castellio, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 126

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Certain officially recognized saints of the Reformation era trouble me.  For example, I consult Anglican calendars and read about prominent churchmen who denied the existence of the right to dissent theologically.  Some of these churchmen went so far as to order the execution of dissenters or at least to consent to these judicial killings.  (It is not technically murder if it is legal.)  And that is what I find within my faith tradition, now one so tolerant that some accuse it of having become too liberal.  Better too liberal than likely to persecute dissenters, I say!  I also ponder the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and find the names of similarly troubling people there.  Overall, I have generally negative opinions of Thomas Cranmer, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and the Popes at the time–all of whom cover much theological ground collectively.  I have generally low opinions of them because they proceeded from the ubiquitous assumption that

error has no rights,

so they persecuted those who disagreed with them or consented to the persecution of those who held other beliefs.  This did not glorify God.

I can, however, respect Sebastian Castellio without any reservations.

Castellio, born at Saint-Martin-du-Frene, France, in 1515, was a scholar and a man ahead of his time.  He, educated at the University of Lyons, was a master of six languages:  French, Italian, German, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.  In January 1540 our saint, then in his mid-twenties, witnesses the execution of three Lutherans as heretics at Lyons.  This “act of faith” had such an effect on him that he left France for Switzerland and the Roman Catholic Church for the Reformed Church.  In 1542 John Calvin, the theocrat of Geneva, appointed Castellio the Rector of the College of Geneva.  The following year, during an outbreak of plague, our saint did what many clergymen refused to do–minister to the sick and the dying.  Despite his lived piety, Castellio’s request for ordination met with rejection.  Perhaps jealousy among clergymen he had embarrassed by ministering to victims of plague was among the reasons for this result.  Officially Castellio was heterodox and too liberal.  In layman’s terms, he rejected the doctrine of Double Predestination, which he considered abhorrent.  Our saint had to leave Geneva.  He moved to Basel, Switzerland.  After years of grinding poverty Castellio finally became a professor of Greek in that city, where he spent the rest of his life.

In 1553, at Geneva, John Calvin ordered theologian Michael Servetus, who had denied the Holy Trinity, burned at the stake on the charge of heresy.  The reformer and theocrat reasoned that one function of the magistrate was to defend true doctrine and therefore to glorify God.  This execution troubled many, including Castellio.  He expressed his objections in On Heretics:  Whether They Should Be Punished by the Magistrate, which he published under a pseudonym.  He argued that to kill a person in the name of God is a blasphemous act.  A Christian’s first duty is to love his neighbor as he loves himself, our saint wrote; to execute heretics (alleged or actual) violates this principle.  Furthermore, Castellio wrote, the competing sects of Christianity not only disagreed with each other, but each of them operated from the assumption that it was obeying the Word of God.  Everyone was a heretic, according to others:

I can discover no more than this, that we regard those as heretics with whom we disagree.

–Quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), page 127

The pseudonym did not hide Castellio’s identity for long.  When he died on December 29, 1563, legal proceedings against him were underway.  The Religious Wars had begun.  Many people would have lived longer had religious toleration been the rule.  Furthermore, slaughtering people in the name of Jesus did not glorify God.

In this post I describe Castellio as a “Prophet of Religious Liberty.”  In so doing I quote Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints (1997).  I understand that there is no such thing as absolute religious liberty, even in a pluralistic society with a (properly) secular state; we all must, for the common good, sacrifice some rights without trampling individual rights either.  As long as one does not endanger public health and safety or the most basic civil rights and liberties in the name of religious liberty, I have no objection.  Certainly the statement that one should not execute or incarcerate heretics (alleged or actual) should receive widespread support.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MIROCLES OF MILAN AND EPIPHANIUS OF PAVIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBAN ROE AND THOMAS REYNOLDS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GASPAR DEL BUFALO, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARIES OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN YI YON-ON, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN KOREA

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Sebastian Castellio,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Blessed Ion Costist (March 5)   Leave a comment

northern-romania

Above:  Northern Romania, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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BLESSED ION COSTIST (JUNE 29, 1556-MARCH 5, 1625)

Franciscan Lay Brother

Blessed Ion Costist entered the world at Zaxo, Moldavia (now Cornu Luncii, near Suceava, Romania), on June 29, 1556.  He also grew up in a pious family.  In 1574, at the age of 18 years, Costist went to Italy because he thought that the greatest Christians resided there.  Five years later he became Jeremiah, a Franciscan lay brother.  Starting in 1585 Costist worked as a medical assistant in Naples.  He cared for the crippled, the poor, and the lame.  Our saint also begged for alms, all of which he used to finance the care of that population.  Costist, who had the spiritual gift of encouragement and a reputation for charity, defined God as merciful love and people as the gift of divine love.  He died at Naples on March 5, 1625, aged 68 years.

Pope John XXIIII declared Costist a Venerable in 1959.  Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 5, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA

THE FEAST OF ANTONIO LOTTI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENOVEVA TORRES MORALES, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE HOLY ANGELS

THE FEAST OF MARGARET MACKAY, SCOTTISH HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Ion Costist,

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 153 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 Luis de Leon (February 27)   Leave a comment

spain-and-portugal-1584

Above:  Map of Spain and Portugal, 1584

Image in the Public Domain

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LUIS DE LEON (1527-AUGUST 23, 1591)

Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian

Luis de Leon expanded his horizons, much to the disapproval of the Inquisition.  Our saint, born in 1527 at Belmonte, Cuenea, Spain, was an Augustinian priest who taught the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Salamanca.  He chose to move beyond scholastic theology and studied Platonism, Arabic philosophy, Jewish mysticism, et cetera.  De Leon also mastered the Hebrew language so he could study the Hebrew Bible better.  During our saint’s study of the Old Testament he identified certain mistranslations in the Vulgate of St. Jerome.  News of this led to de Leon’s incarceration (without sacraments as well as knowledge of the charges against him) by the Valladolid Inquisition from March 1572 to December 1576.  Eventually the Inquisition cleared de Leon of all charges and released him.  His experience with the Inquisition influenced some of de Leon’s subsequent writings, as when he contrasted the arrogance of certain authority figures with the humility of Christ:

What can we say about kings and princes who not only lower and despise some of their subjects but think that this is the only way they themselves can feel important and try their best so that the groups they have lowered and despised will be held down and despised generation after generation?

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 93

De Leon’s academic and ecclesiastical career advanced post-Inquisition.  In his masterpiece, The Names of God (1583), he meditated on the titles of Christ.  Our saint received academic promotions and, in 1591, shortly before his death, became the provincial for the Augustinian order in Castille.  He died at Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain, on August 23, 1591.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 10, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAUL EBER, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HOWELL ELVET LEWIS, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST CLERGYMAN AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN ROBERTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MURRAY, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, you have enlightened your Church by the teachings of your servant Luis de Leon;

enrich it evermore with your heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses, who by their life and teaching

may proclaim to all people the truth of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nehemiah 8:1-10

Psalm 34:11-17 or 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Matthew 5:13-19

–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), page 684

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Feast of Philipp Melanchthon (February 16)   Leave a comment

philipp-melanchthon-1537

Above:  Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon, by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Image in the Public Domain

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PHILIPP MELANCHTHON (FEBRUARY 16, 1497-APRIL 19, 1560)

German Lutheran Theologian and Scribe of the Reformation

Philipp Melanchthon was a leader of the Protestant Reformation.  Our saint, born Philipp Schwarzerd at Bretton, Baden, on February 16, 1497, was a son of Georg Schwarzerd (an armorer) and Barbara Reuter (niece of classical and humanist scholar Johann Reuchlin).  Reuchlin supervised our saint’s classical and humanist education, transforming him into a classical and humanist scholar whom other classical and humanist scholars respected.  Reuchlin gave our saint the surname “Melanchthon,” Greek for “Schwarzerd.”  Melanchthon, who earned his B.A. degree at Heiderberg (1512), M.A. degree at Tubingern (1514), and B.D. degree at Wittenberg (1519), translated certain classical Greek works into German.

Melanchthon’s move to Wittengerg in 1518 was crucial.  In August of that year our saint arrived to teach Greek at the university there.  On August 29, 1518, he delivered an influential address, The Improvement of Studies, in which he proposed to renew society and education by bypassing certain secondary sources and returning to primary sources.  The scholarship of Melanchthon influenced the work of Martin Luther, whose ally he became the following year.  In 1520 Melanchthon married Katharine Krapp of Wittenberg.  The couple had four children:  Anna (1522), Philipp (1525), Georg (1527), and Magdalen (1533).  Melanchthon influenced education in Germany.  His educational theories led to the founding of Protestant public schools and the reorganization of universities in much of Germany.  Thus he became the “Preceptor of Germany.”

Melanchthon, the scribe of the Reformation, wrote Biblical commentaries and composed the Augsburg Confession (1530) and a defense of it.  Despite these facts, some Lutherans considered our saint to be insufficiently Lutheran.  Melanchthon was a Lutheran diplomat and spokesman in discussions with representatives of the Reformed and the Roman Catholic Churches.  For him justification by faith was essential; any point not contradicting it was nonessential.  Melanchthon was even willing, for the sake of Christian unity, to accept papal government yet not supremacy.

Our saint, anguished by ecclesiastical schisms, maintained his ecumenical dialogues until he died, aged 63 years, on April 19, 1560.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN OF DAMASCUS AND COSMAS OF MAIUMA, THEOLOGIANS AND HYMNODISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CALABRIA, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE POOR SERVANTS AND THE POOR WOMEN SERVANTS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH MOHR, AUSTRIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS COTTERILL, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND LITURGIST

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Philipp Melanchthon,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) page 60

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Feast of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (February 1)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA (1525-FEBRUARY 2, 1594)

Roman Catholic Composer and Musician

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (Latinized name = Ioanes Petraloysius Praenestinus), was a native of Palestrina, near Rome.  His musical training started at a young age; he was a choir boy at St. Maria Maggiore, Palestrina, by the age of 12 years.  By 1544 he was both an organist and a singer at the church.  Giammaria Ciocchi del Monte, Bishop of Palestrina (1543-1550), the future Pope Julius III (reigned 1550-1555), noticed the musician’s talents.  Our saint married Lucrezia Gori in 1547; the couple had three sons:  Rodolfo, Angelo, and Iginio.  The family was in Rome as the maestro di cappella of the Julian Chapel.  In the Eternal City the composer published his first book of Masses and dedicated it to Pope Julius III.  Our saint also sang in the pontifical choir (until Pope Paul IV forbade married men to do so), became the composer to the papal chapel, and, in 1555, became the choir director at St. John Lateran.  That choir, unfortunately, was small in both number an ability.

The composer left Rome in 1560.  He returned to St. Maria Maggiore.  However, our saint returned to the Eternal City six years later.  From 1567 to 1571 he was in charge of the music at the Villa d’Este, Tivoli, under Cardinal Ippolito d’Este.  Then, from 1571 to 1594, our saint held his old job, maestro di cappella of the Julian Chapel.  From 1572 to 1581 he buried his first wife and his first two sons.  Eventually the composer remarried; his second wife was Virginia Dormiti, widow of a wealthy merchant.

The composer died at Rome on February 2, 1594.  He was about 69 years old.

Our saint composed many madrigals, motets, and Masses.  His masterpieces included the following:

  1. O Magnum Mysterium,
  2. Pope Marcellus Mass,
  3. Missarum Liber Primus,
  4. Canticum Canticorum,
  5. Exsultate Deo,
  6. Lamentationes Ieremiae Prophetae,
  7. Missa Brevis,
  8. Missa Assumpta est Marie in Caelum, and
  9. Missa Nigra Sum.

The compositions of our saint have enriched the lives of many people (including me) during the centuries since the 1500s.  He praised and glorified God with his God-given abilities and added much beauty to the world in the process.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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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 Giovanni Palestrina da Palestrina

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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