Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1600s’ Category

Feast of Blessed Philip Powel (June 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED PHILIP POWEL (FEBRUARY 2, 1594-JUNE 30, 1646)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

The call of God on the life of Blessed Philip Powel led to martyrdom.  Powel, born in Tralon, Brecknockshire, England, on February 2, 1594, was a son of Roger and Catherine Powel.  Our saint studied law in London before pursuing theological studies in Douai, France.  He, having joined the Benedictines at Douai, became a priest there in 1618.  Four years later Powel returned to his homeland as an underground priest.  From 1624 to 1645 our saint worked in Leighland, Somersetshire.  Then civil war forced him to relocate to Devonshire.  For half a year Powel served as a chaplain to Roman Catholic soldiers in Cornwall.  En route to southern Wales via ship, Powel became a prisoner on February 22, 1646.  The harsh conditions of his incarceration in the Tower of London led to him developing pleurisy, or the inflammation of the lining of the lungs and the chest wall.  Powel, tried, convicted, and condemned on June 9, 1646, died on June 30.  He was 52 years old.

Pope Pius XI recognized Powel as a Venerable then a Blessed in 1929.

The English government should have pursued a policy of religious toleration.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HELDER CAMARA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF OLINDA AND RECIFE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBERT NIERYCHLEWSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MITCHELL J. DAHOOD, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Philip Powel

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 714

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Feast of John Gerard and Mary Ward (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN GERARD (OCTOBER 4, 1564-JULY 27, 1637)

English Jesuit Priest

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MARY WARD (JANUARY 23, 1586-JUNE 23, 1645)

Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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John Gerard and Mary Ward come to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), where they have separate feast days.

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JOHN GERARD, S.J.

John Gerard was a Jesuit priest.  He, born in Derbyshire, England, on October 4, 1564, joined the Society of Jesus in August 1588, at the at the age of 23 years.  The young priest returned to his homeland later that year.  For years, due to his knowledge of hunting and falconry, Gerard passed as a country gentleman.  Meanwhile he worked as an underground priest, saying Masses for Roman Catholic members of the gentry and those who worshiped in their homes.  Our saint did this while evading priest hunters until 1594, when authorities arrested him.  Our saint, treated harshly–even tortured–then became a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1597.  Later that year he escaped from that prison and went on the lam until 1606.

The Gunpowder Plot (1605) backfired on a few guilty and a host of innocent Roman Catholics.  It was a failed conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Gerard was a friend and a priest to some of the conspirators, but none of them told him of the plot.  Nevertheless, there was an arrest warrant with his name on it.  Also, authorities doubled down on the persecution of Roman Catholics.  On orders of his superiors Gerard escaped in 1606.  On May 3 of that year our saint left England when he posed as a retainer of the Spanish Ambassador.

Gerard landed in Flanders, where he became the Jesuit superior.  By 1620 he had become the novice-master at Liege.  He lost that position that year due to his advocacy for Mary Ward.

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MARY WARD

Mary Ward was a woman who suffered for her faith at the hands of both the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of England.  She, born on January 23, 1586, came from Roman Catholic gentry.  Her family hosted underground priests and illegal Masses.  Ward, discerning a vocation to become a nun, rejected all opportunities to marry.  She, smuggled out of England, made her way to Belgium.  There, in 1606, she reluctantly obey a bishop’s order to become a lay sister (servant) to a Poor Clares community instead.

Conventional methods were not for Ward, however.  She discerned a vocation to found a new order of nuns–the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Before Ward could do that, however, she visited England clandestinely.  Our saint assisted priests saying illegal Masses in homes.  She also visited incarcerated priests.  Eventually authorities captured, imprisoned, and sentenced Ward to death, before exiling her instead.

Ward, back in Europe, founded her new order, with papal permission.  The free schools for girls were not controversial, but the lack of episcopal supervision was.  Were women not supposed to be under male supervision?  In 1631 the Church suppressed the order, which had yet to receive papal recognition.  Ward spent a brief term as a prisoner of Holy Mother Church; she was allegedly a heretic and a schismatic.

Ward, her health broken and her vocation destroyed, returned to England, despite the great risks (such as incarceration, torture, and death) of doing so.  She died, aged 59 years, at York on June 23, 1645.

Pope Clement XI confirmed the rule of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1703.

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JOHN GERARD, S.J.

Gerard, a confessor at the Jesuit college in Rome, died in the Eternal City on July 27, 1637.  He was 72 years old.

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John Gerard and Mary Ward deserve recognition on multiple calendars of saints.  Robert Ellsberg has done a fine job by adding them to his calendar in All Saints.  I follow his example (except by merging the feasts) gladly here.  Hopefully ecclesiastical organizations will formally recognize Gerard and Ward in years to come.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MATEO CORREA-MAGALLANES AND MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT VEDAST (VAAST), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ARRAS AND CAMBRAI

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BOYCE AND JOHN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN COMPOSERS

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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 servants

John Gerard and Mary Ward,

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

until at last we may with them 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 William and John Mundy (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM MUNDY (CIRCA 1529-CIRCA 1591)

father of

JOHN MUNDY (BETWEEN 1550 AND 1554-JUNE 29, 1630)

English Composers and Musicians

William Mundy, born in London, England, circa 1529, was the father of John Mundy, born between 1550 and 1554.  In 1543 William was the head chorister at Westminster Abbey.  Later William became a vicar-general of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Then, in 1564, he became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.  He died no later than 1591, when another man took his place.  William, recognized as a composer during his lifetime, has eclipsed his son, John.  The son was the organist at Eton College and an organist at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, in 1585. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Oxford University in 1586 and his doctorate from the same institution in 1624.  He died at Windsor on June 29, 1630.

The surviving vocal compositions of the Mundys have generally supported the interpretation that they had Roman Catholic sympathies at a time when that was potentially dangerous for them.  William’s Masses and motets were settings of Latin texts.  Furthermore, partial Latin works by John have survived.

One can listen to some of these men’s compositions at YouTube:

  1. Vox Patris Caelestis, by William Mundy;
  2. Fantasia, by William Mundy;
  3. O Lord, the Maker of All Things, by William Mundy;
  4. O Lord, the World’s Savior, by William Mundy;
  5. O Mater Mundi, by William Mundy;
  6. Lightly She Whipped O’er the Dales, by John Mundy; and
  7. Sing Joyfully Unto God Our Strength, by John Mundy.

There is that, at least.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MATEO CORREA-MAGALLANES AND MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT VEDAST (VAAST), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ARRAS AND CAMBRAI

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BOYCE AND JOHN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN COMPOSERS

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servants William Mundy and John Mundy.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,

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

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Feast of Joachim Neander (May 29)   1 comment

Above:  Joachim Neander

Image in the Public Domain

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JOACHIM NEANDER (1650-MAY 31, 1680)

German Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

“First Poet of the Reformed Church in Germany”

A hymnal can be a wonderful source of names for a calendar of saints.  Thus Joachim Neander finds a place on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

The Ecumenical Calendar has a few rules, including the following one:  With few exceptions, whenever a Bible-related feast falls on a day, I reserve that day for that feast, instead of following my usual custom of stacking commemorations on top of each other.  (As of the writing of this post, the maximum number of feasts per day is four.)  Thus December 25 is just the First Day (of twelve) of Christmas, January 6 is only the Feast of the Epiphany, and May 31 (on which Neander died) is exclusively the Feast of the Visitation.  However, January 1 is both the Feast of the Holy Name and the World Day of Peace and March 25 is both the Feast of the Annunciation and the Feast of St. Dismas, a Biblical figure.  Since May 31 is the Feast of the Visitation, the commemoration of Neander moves to an adjacent day.

Joachim Neander began his life in Bremen, where his father, Johann Joachim Neander, served on the faculty of the Gymnasium Illustre.  Our saint, born in 1650, converted in 1670.  He had once been a rowdy student who attended church to make fun of it.  Pastor Theodore Under-Eyck of St. Martin’s Church, Bremen, presided over Neander’s conversion, however.

Neander spent part of his life as an educator.  For several years (1671-1674) he was a tutor, first in Heidelberg then in Frankfurt.  During this stage of life our saint plunged into his newfound Pietism.  In 1674 he became the Rector of the Reformed grammar school at Duesselforf.  Our saint’s responsibilities included teaching and serving as assistant minister.  Three years later local politics led to his suspension from all those duties.  Neander had offended too many people for his own good by (1) altering the academic schedule unilaterally, (2) making other education-related decisions the same way, and (3) persistently refusing to take the Eucharist with allegedly unconverted people.  After a two weeks’ suspension he promised to change his ways and found himself restored as Rector of the school yet not as assistant minister.  The experience of suspension, followed by demotion, humiliated him.

Neander returned to Bremen in 1679.  There he became an assistant to Pastor Under-Eyck at St. Martin’s Church.  Again our saint proved controversial.  Under-Eyck had plans, however; he intended to arrange a pastorate for Neander.  That never came to pass because our saint died of tuberculosis at the age of 29 or 30 on May 31, 1680.

Regardless of any errors (such as Donatism) Neander manifested, he left a fine legacy in the realm of hymnody.  He composed many hymn tunes and 60 hymn texts, some of which exist in English-language translations.  I have added some of them to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Other texts included those translated as “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” and “All My Hope on God is Founded.”  Neander, whose love of nature was evident in many of his hymns, earned his reputation as the greatest Reformed hymn writer in Germany.

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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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Joachim Neander 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 John Eliot (May 20)   Leave a comment

Above:   John Eliot

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN ELIOT (JULY OR AUGUST 1604-MAY 20, 1690)

“The Apostle to the Indians”

On the calendar of saints of The Episcopal Church the commemoration of the life of John Eliot falls on May 21.  May 20 is a better date, however, given the fact he died on May 20, 1690.  Therefore the Feast of John Eliot falls on May 20 on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Since his feast comes to my Ecumenical Calendar via The Episcopal Church, my denomination, I emphasize a particular point about the breadth of the Episcopal calendar of saints.  I note that Eliot, a Puritan (albeit a Non-Separatist one), occupies a slot on the calendar of saints of a church that is the U.S. counterpart of the denomination he rejected de facto.  The catholicity of the Episcopal calendar of saints appeals to me.

John Eliot, who became an evangelist to Native Americans, was an Anglican priest who turned into a Non-Separatist Puritan minister.  He, born in England in July or August 1604, graduated from Cambridge in 1622 then became a priest in The Church of England.  During the next few years he transformed into a Puritan, however.  He arrived in the new Massachusetts Bay colony in 1631 and became a minister at Roxbury.  Unlike many other Puritans, our saint did not consider indigenous people to be agents of Satan and a population to kill.  (If one cannot kill alleged agents of Satan, which group of people can one kill in good conscience, I ask facetiously.)  No, he studied the Algonquin language and, having mastered it, inaugurated his mission to the native speakers of that tongue in 1646.

The “Apostle to the Indians” was an effective evangelist.  Eliot received help from the government of the English commonwealth via the Corporation for Promoting and Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians of New England, which Parliament chartered in 1649.  Natives in the “praying towns,” fourteen of which Eliot founded over time, received education, homes, clothing, and food.  Eliot founded the first indigenous church in 1660, published an Algonquin translation of the New Testament the following year, and released the full Bible in Algonquin in 1663.  As of 1674 about 3,600 “Praying Indians” resided in New England.

Unfortunately, war came, and fear, intolerance, and violence destroyed what Eliot worked so hard to maintain.  During King Philip’s War (1675-1676) many panicky colonists did not distinguish between Christian Indians and non-Christian Natives while attacking and killing people.  After the war, which resulted in the decimation of the indigenous population of New England and the selling of many Indians into slavery in the Caribbean basin, the work of evangelizing Native Americans in New England became more difficult.  The mission dwindled.  The last native minister died in 1716.

Eliot was also historically important with regard to publishing in North America.  He helped to prepare the Bay Psalm Book (1640), the first book printed in New England.  Our saint also wrote The Christian Commonwealth (1659), suppressed due to its political position, republicanism.  Eliot’s The Communion of Churches (1665) was the first book published privately in North America.  Other works by our saint were Indian Grammar Begun (1666), The Indian Primer (1669), and The Harmony of the Gospels (1678).

Eliot, aged 85 years, died at Roxbury on May 20, 1690.  He had built up a mission for the glory of God and the spiritual benefit of his indigenous neighbors.  Unfortunately, others tore that down.  Nevertheless, Eliot was faithful to the end.  As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, God calls us to be faithful, not successful.

Eliot was a pioneer in the fields of Native American linguistic studies and missions to indigenous populations in North America.  Many subsequent people have stood on his proverbial soldiers.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 20, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD WATSON GILDER, U.S. POET, JOURNALIST, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF HENRY FRANCIS LYTE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PRISCILLA LYDIA SELLON, A RESTORER OF RELIGIOUS LIFE IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

THE FEAST OF THEODORE CLAUDIUS PEASE, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, by the proclamation of your Word all nations are drawn to you:

Make us desire, like John Eliot, to share your Good News with those whom we encounter,

so that all people may come to a saving knowledge of you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

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

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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Great Creator, we thank you for the imagination and conviction of your evangelist, John Eliot,

who brought both literacy and the Bible to the Algonquin people,

and reshaped their communities into fellowships of Christ to serve you and give you praise;

and we pray that we may so desire to share your Good News

with others that we labor for mutual understanding and trust;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 1:1-11

Psalm 68:33-36

Romans 15:13-21

Mark 4:1-20

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 381

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Feast of Francis Makemie (May 14)   Leave a comment

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANCIS MAKEMIE (1658-SUMMER 1708)

Father of American Presbyterianism and Advocate for Religious Toleration

Francis Makemie lived with and resisted religious persecution.  Makemie, born near Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland, in 1658, experienced Anglican persecutions of dissenters as he grew up.  On January 28, 1680, after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he joined the Laggan Presbytery as a probationer.  In December of that year Makemie heard a reading of a letter from Colonel William Stevens, of the eastern shore of Maryland, regarding the neglected spiritual state of Presbyterians in that colony and requesting a missionary.  Our saint volunteered.

Makemie became the Father of American Presbyterianism.  He, ordained and licensed in 1681, arrived in Maryland in 1683.  That year he founded four churches–at Reheboth, Snow Hill, Princess Anne, and Salisbury.  Later our saint started two more congregations–at Pitts Creek and Buckingham.  For years Makemie traveled widely, from Charleston, South Carolina, to Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and as far as England (1691) and Barbados (1696-1698).  Our saint also published a catechism based on the Westminster Confession.  Makemie, business partner of his father-in-law, wealthy merchant William Anderson, was a jack of all trades.  The missionary could not support his family via missionary work alone, for most Presbyterians in Maryland were poor.  He purchased land in Accomack County, Maryland, in 1687 and married Naomi Anderson in the 1680s or 1690s (definitely prior to 1697).  Makemie settled in Accomack County permanently after his father-in-law died.  The Makemies had two daughters–Anne (born circa 1697) and Elizabeth (born circa 1700).

Makemie advocated for religious freedom and established the first presbytery in America.  He, licensed to preach by civil authorities in Maryland and Virginia in October 1699, became the second dissenting minister licensed in the Old Dominion.  Our saint, concerned that the dearth of towns in the Chesapeake colonies inhibited population growth and the progress of the church in those colonies, traveled to England in 1704, remaining into the following year.  There he persuaded the managers of the Common Fund (Presbyterian and Congregationalist) to support missionaries in America for two years.  Makemie, back in America with two missionaries, had to contend with charges filed by two Anglican rectors in Maryland.  The rectors sought control of Presbyterian church buildings, but the court ruled in our saint’s favor on June 10, 1708.  Makemie, the organizer and first moderator of the Presbytery of Philadelphia (founded in 1706), sought formal relations with the Puritans of New England.  With that goal in mind he undertook a journey to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1707.  John Hampton, a fellow missionary, accompanied him.

En route, in the colony of New York, Makemie established a precedent for religious freedom.  He preached without a license valid in that colony.  Authorities arrested Hampton and our saint then released Hampton quickly.  Makemie spent six weeks in jail, however.  He, released on bail, went on trial.  The verdict was an acquittal, fortunately.  However, the court forced him to pay the prosecutor’s costs anyway.

Makemie, back in Maryland, died before the end of the summer of 1708.  He was about 50 years old.

His legacy has survived, however.  The Presbytery of Philadelphia, having grown, reorganized as the Synod of Philadelphia in 1716.  That institution, consisting of presbyteries, was a forebear of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which held its first General Assembly in 1789.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Francis Makemie,

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 Dietrich Buxtehude (May 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Mary’s Church, Lübeck, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-00659

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DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (CIRCA 1637-MAY 9, 1707)

Lutheran Organist and Composer

Dietrich Buxtehude came from a musical background.  He, born in Hälsingborg, Sweden, circa 1637, was son of Johann Buxtehude, organist at that city from 1638 to 1641 then at Helsingör, Denmark, from 1642 to 1671.  Johann presumably taught his son.  Our saint worked as an organist at St. Mary’s Church, Hälsingborg, in 1657-1658, at St. Mary’s Church, Helsingör, from 1660 to 1668, and at St. Mary’s Church, Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein (now in Germany), from 1668 until his death.

Buxtehude, upon assuming his duties at Lübeck in 1668, married Anna Tunder, daughter of Franz Tunder, the previous organist.  The couple had five daughters.  Those duties were to perform service music, to compose music for weddings and funerals of members of prominent merchant families, and to compose music for public festivals.  As our saint aged, candidates for his job visited him.  In 1703, for example, George Frederick Handel sought the position yet balked at the condition that he marry one of Buxtehude’s daughters.  Two years later Johann Sebastian Bach, who walked 50 miles to hear Buxtehude play, likewise withdrew his application for the same reason.

Buxtehude died, aged 69 or 70 years, at Lübeck on May 9, 1707.  He had written many compositions, both sacred and secular.  Many of these works remained lost until the twentieth century.  Others have remained lost, unfortunately.  Our saint’s compositions, which influenced J. S. Bach, ranged from the liturgical to the civic.  There were works for voices and for various instruments, such as the organ and the harpsichord.  More than 100 cantatas, some of them sacred, have survived.

Hopefully more compositions by Buxtehude will surface.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN DOBER, MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMN WRITER; JOHANN LEONHARD DOBER, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND ANNA SCHINDLER DOBER, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDITH CAVELL, NURSE AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENNETH OF SCOTLAND, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT NECTARIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, ARCHBISHOP

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness,

who teaches us in Holy Scriptures to sing your praises and who gave your

musician Dietrich Buxtehude grace to show forth your glory in his music:

Be with all those who write or make music for your people,

that we on earth may glimpse your beauty and know the

inexhaustible riches of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior;

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

2 Chronicles 7:1-6

Psalm 150

Colossians 2:2-6

Luke 2:8-14

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 491

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