Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1600s’ Category

Feast of Francesco Antonio Bonporti (December 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Francesco Antonio Bonporti

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANCESCO ANTONIO BONPORTI (JUNE 11, 1672-DECEMBER 19, 1749)

Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Composer

One of the delights of being a Western classicist is learning about composers who have fallen into obscurity.  Then another delight–listening to their music–ensues.

Francesco Antonio Bonporti, born in Trento, on the Italian peninsula, on June 11, 1672, was one of these composers.  He studied theology, composition, and violin at the Collegium Germanicum, Rome.  His composition teacher was Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni (1657-1743).  Bonporti, ordained a priest in 1695, moved to Padua in 1740.  There he died on December 19, 1749.

Bonporti composed instrumental music as a hobby.  One of the composers he influenced was Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

I encourage you, O reader, to seek, find, and listen to music Bonporti composed.  Much of it is available at YouTube.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of your creation in the work of your servant Francesco Antonio Bonporti.

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), 61

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Feast of Blessed Liborius Wagner (December 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Liborius Wagner

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED LIBORIUS WAGNER (DECEMBER 5, 1593-DECEMBER 9, 1631)

German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1631

Religious persecution is always wrong.  Frequently it occurs when atheists or antitheists (to use Reza Aslan’s term) persecute religion in general.  On other occasions, religious persecution is of members of one religion by adherents of another one.  Another variety of religious persecution is intrafaith, such as Christians persecuting other Christians.  Consider the martyrdom of Blessed Liborius Wagner, O reader.

Wagner, born in Mühlhausen, Unstrut-Hainich, Thuringia, on December 5, 1593, grew up a Lutheran.  At that time of polarized religion and the Religious Wars, our saint’s conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1613 led to a break with his parents.  Four years later, Wagner became a teacher.  The date of his ordination to the priesthood was March 29, 1625.

Religious conflict during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) forced Wagner to move from town to town.  In 1631 he was a priest in Altenmünster.  The approach of Swedish forces compelled Wagner to flee.  He hid with and ministered to his parishioners in nearby Reichmannhausen.  Swedes captured our saint on December 4, 1631, after someone betrayed him.  The Swedish Army dragged Wagner behind a horse for a few miles to Mainberg.  There they tortured the priest, who refused to renounce his faith.  The immediate cause of his death was beating with firearms and swords, on December 9, 1631.

Pope Paul VI declared Wagner a Venerable in 1973 then beatified him the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDRA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Liborius Wagner

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant to 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), 714

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Feast of Isaac Watts (November 25)   6 comments

Above:  Isaac Watts

Image in the Public Domain

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ISAAC WATTS (JULY 17, 1675-NOVEMBER 25, 1748)

English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Church of England, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada feast day = November 25

Episcopal Church feast day = November 26

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His dying crimson, like a Robe,

Spreads o’er His Body on the Tree;

Then I am dead to all the Globe,

And all the Globe is dead to me.

–Isaac Watts (1707); the usually omitted verse of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross;” quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (St. Louis, MO:  Eden Publishing House, 1952), 213

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Isaac Watts was one of the greatest hymn writers in the English-speaking world.

Watts, born in Southampton, England, on July 17, 1675, came from a family of religious dissenters.  His father, Isaac (Sr.), spent time in prison due to religious opinions.  Our saint, well-educated from an early age, mastered Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  His religious affiliation prevented him from attending Cambridge or Oxford, however.  Watts, therefore, attended and graduated from the academy at Stoke Newington (now in London).  Starting in 1702, he spent a decade as minister at Mark Lane Chapel, London.

Watts suffered from bad health most of his life.  Failing health forced him to leave active ministry in 1712.  Our saint lived in the household of the Abney family for 36 years.  He could do little more than write, which he did.  Watts wrote books about language, theology, and logic.  He also composed more than 600 hymns and helped to facilitate the transition from metrical psalms to hymns.

Hymns by Watts include:

  1. “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross;”
  2. “Joy to the World;”
  3. “Jesus Shall Reign;” and
  4. “O God, Our Hope in Ages Past.”

Watts died at Stoke Newington, England, on November 25, 1748.  She was 73 years old.

Many of his hymns continue to nourish faith, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 19, 2019 COMMON ERA

GOOD FRIDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MURIN OF FAHAN, LASERIAN OF LEIGHLIN, GOBAN OF PICARDIE, FOILLAN OF FOSSES, AND ULTAN OF PERONNE, ABBOTS; AND FURSEY OF PERONNE AND BLITHARIUS OF SEGANNE, MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALPHEGE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT EMMA OF LESUM, BENEFACTOR

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS PETRI SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, HISTORIAN, LITURGIST, MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH LITERATURE;” AND HIS BROTHER, LAURENTIUS PETRI, SWEDISH LUTHERAN ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH HYMNODY”

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God of truth and grace, you gave Isaac Watts singular gifts to present your praise in verse,

that he might write psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your Church:

Give us grace joyfully to sing your praises now and in the life to come;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with

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

1 Chronicles 16:1-6

Psalm 108:1-6

Colossians 3:12-17

Luke 18:35-43

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 705

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Feast of Henry and Daniel Purcell (November 21)   4 comments

Above:  The Choir of Westminster Abbey (1893), by Henry Crickmore

Image Source = Library of Congress

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HENRY PURCELL (JR.) (SEPTEMBER 10, 1659-NOVEMER 21, 1695)

brother of

DANIEL PURCELL (CIRCA 1664-NOVEMBER 1717)

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ENGLISH COMPOSERS

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Henry Purcell (Jr.) comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church, in which he shares a feast with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel on July 28.  Each of the other composers has a separate feast day on this, my Ecumenical CalendarDaniel Purcell joins his esteemed brother as part of my effort to emphasize relationships and influences.

Much information about the Purcell brothers is lacking.  We know enough, I suppose.

Henry Purcell (Sr.) had three sons –Edward, Henry (Jr.), and Daniel.  The family lived within the shadow of Westminster Abbey.  After Henry (Sr.) died in 1664, his brother Timothy, an attentive uncle, raised the sons.  Uncle Timothy was a musician and a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.  He supervised the educations of his three nephews dutifully and well.  Henry (Jr.) and Daniel began their musical paths as choristers at Westminster Abbey.  In 1673, Henry, already studying privately under composers, as well as at the Westminster School, became the assistant to organ-builder and composer John Hingston (1612-1683).  Henry was a copyist at Westminster Abbey in 1676.  Meanwhile, he had begun composing by 1670.  Perhaps his earliest work was in honor of King Charles II, on the monarch’s birthday, in 1670.

Henry composed many sacred and secular works.  He also wrote instrumental works and compositions for the human voice.  He, married to Frances in 1682, had six children, two of whom survived him.  Our saint supported his family via composing and by working as the organist at both Westminster Abbey (1679f) and the Chapel Royal (1682f).

I refer you, O reader, to the following links for musical samples:

  1. Sonatas
  2. Ten Sonatas in Four Parts
  3. Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts
  4. Anthems and Hymns
  5. Abdelazer Suite
  6. King Arthur
  7. Dido and Aeneas
  8. Evening Prayer
  9. Funeral of Queen Mary
  10. Harpsichord Works
  11. Chaconne in G Minor
  12. Come, Come, Ye Sons of Art
  13. Sacred Music

Henry, aged 36 years, died at home in London on November 21, 1695.  He left one incomplete work, The Indian Queen, which Daniel completed.  “Sound, Sound the Trumpet,” from Act V of The Indian Queen, was one of Daniel’s earliest works.

Daniel, having begun to compose while working as the organist of Magdalen College, Oxford, moved to London in 1695.  He composed much incidental music, as well as sonatas and works for violin.  Some of his sacred music–a setting of the Magnificat and one of the Nunc Dimittis–have remained in use in The Church of England.  Circa 1713 Daniel became the organist at St. Andrew’s, Holbern; he remained in that post until he died in November 1717.  The date of the funeral was November 26, 1717.

The Purcell brothers’ legacy continues to enrich the lives of many people, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF DANIEL SYLVESTER TUTTLE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF EMILY COOPER, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF MAX JOSEF METZGER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF WILBUR KENNETH HOWARD, MODERATOR OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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Almighty God, beautiful and majesty and majestic in holiness,

who teaches us in Holy Scripture to sing your praises

and who gave your musicians Henry and Daniel Purcell

grace to show forth your glory in their 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 2:206

Luke 2:8-14

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

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Feast of Johannes Kepler (November 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Stamp Depicting Johannes Kepler

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHANNES KEPLER (DECEMBER 27, 1571-NOVEMBER 15, 1630)

German Lutheran Astronomer and Mathematician

My greatest desire is that I may perceive the God whom I find everywhere in the external world, in like manner also within and inside myself.

–Johannes Kepler

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Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God.

–Kepler

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Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe.

–Galileo Gailiei

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Johannes Kepler comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.  His Episcopal feast day (since 2009), shared with Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), is May 23.  On my Ecumenical Calendar, however, Copernicus shares a feast day with Gailieo Galilei (1564-1642).

The following two assertions are true:

  1. Our societies shape us.  We are products of our times.
  2. We shape our societies.  We help to make our times.

Kepler was both a product of his times and a shaper of the future.  He was, in many ways, ahead of his time, especially as he matured.

Kepler became a founder of modern astronomy.  He, a subject of the Holy Roman Empire, began his journey into revolutionizing science began at Weil der Stadt, where, on December 27, 1571, Catherine (Guldenmann) Kepler, from a formerly noble family, gave birth to our saint.  The Kepler family’s fortunes had been declining for some time; the father worked as a soldier.  When Johannes was four years old, he nearly went blind due to smallpox.  The condition damaged his eyesight permanently.

Kepler, who once aspired to the Lutheran ministry, became a mathematician and a scientist instead.  After graduating from Maulbronn with his Bachelor’s degree in 1588, he matriculated at Tübingen, from which he graduated with a Master’s degree in 1591.  At Tübingen Kepler studied the Copernican theory (heliocentrism), then a controversial idea, especially in ecclesiastical circles.  Kepler accepted heliocentrism and helped to shape modern astronomy.

Doing this entailed contradicting contemporary Christian orthodoxy, according to which the other planets, as well as the Moon and Sun, revolved around the Earth.  To accept the heliocentric model was allegedly to minimize sin, given the assumption that, the closer one moved toward the center (supposedly the Earth), the farther one moved away from God and the angels.  To place the Earth in orbit of the Sun was allegedly to place sinful humans amid God and the angels.

Kepler, professor of mathematics at Graz, starting in 1594, made his contribution.  Aside from mathematics, he also taught rhetoric and Virgil.  Our saint, who lived when the distinction between astronomy and astrology did not exist, prepared astrological almanacs.  Kepler, in the realm of faith and hard science, sought order in the relationships of planetary orbits to each other.  He initially had difficulty divorcing himself from all the assumptions of the old, accepted Ptolemaic model, with its spheres, et cetera.  Our saint married Barbara von Mühlbeck (d. 1611), of Graz, in April 1597.  A purge of Protestant theologians from that city in September of that year forced the Keplers to move.  Barbara’s wealth and influence enabled the couple to return after just one month, though.  They did have to leave in 1600, however.

The Keplers moved to Prague, for our saint’s new position, in 1600.  Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) helped to facilitate this transition.  Kepler became the court mathematician to Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (reigned 1576-1612).  Our saint, as an astrologer, created horoscopes for the Emperor and courtiers.  Kepler also studied and wrote about light reflection, supernovae, planetary orbits, and other topics in the realm of hard science.  Our saint, as the recipient of Tycho Brahe’s decades’ worth of astronomical observational notes, analyzed that data and in 1609, published his conclusion that planetary orbits were elliptical. Kepler contradicted the Ptolemaic model, according to which heavenly bodies moved in circular orbits.

Kepler, who remarried (to Susanna Reutlinger) in 1613, served loyally under Emperor Matthias (reigned 1612-1619), who appointed him the mathematician to the states of upper Austria in 1612.  The following year, Kepler and Matthias argued unsuccessfully for the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, in lieu of the old Julian Calendar.  Science did not yet yield to Protestant anti-Roman Catholicism.

Kepler, who taught mathematics in Silesia from 1628 until his death at Regensberg on November 15, 1630, got much right and other theories wrong.  He practiced astrology, a pseudo-science.  Our saint also thought that comets did not return.  For that matter, Gaileo Gailiei, Kepler’s contemporary, did not accept the gravitational pull of the Moon on tides on the Earth.  Great men were not always correct.

We see farther than they did because we stand on their shoulders.

Kepler was not only a giant of science; he was also a devout Christian.  He was, in both regards, in the same league as Copernicus, Galilei, and Michael Faraday (1791-1867).

The conflict between religion and faith on one side and science on the other is unnecessary.  Truth is truth.  Bad theology is bad theology.  Good theology is good theology.  We can arrive at much truth via observation, experimentation, data analysis, documentation, et cetera–in other words, the Scientific Method and Enlightenment Modernism.  Other truth, however, resides in a different purview.  One can have access to truth via more than one channel.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 29, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD, COMPOSER, ORGANIST, AND CONDUCTOR

THE FEAST OF DORA GREENWELL, POET AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN KEBLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JONAS AND BARACHISIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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As the heavens declare your glory, O God, and the firmament shows your handiwork,

we bless your Name for the gifts of knowledge and insight you bestowed upon Johannes Kepler,

and we pray that you would continue to advance our understanding of your cosmos,

for our good and for your glory;  through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation,

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

Genesis 1:14-19

Psalm 8

1 Corinthians 2:6-12

Matthew 2:1-11a

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 383

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Feast of Richard Hooker (November 3)   1 comment

Above:  Richard Hooker

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD HOOKER (MARCH 25, 1554-NOVEMBER 2, 1600)

Anglican Priest and Theologian

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…sorrow conceived for sins committed, with hope and trust to obtain remission by Christ, with a firm and effectual promise of amendment, and to alter the things that have been done amiss.

–Richard Hooker’s definition of repentance, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V (1597)

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Richard Hooker was one of the most important Anglican theologians and a great intellectual.

Hooker, born in Heavitree, near Exeter, on March 25, 1554, manifested his brilliance at an early age.  He, a fine student at Exeter, benefited from the patronage of the schoolmaster, John Jewel (1552-1571), the Bishop of Salisbury from 1559 to 1571.  In 1568 our saint matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.  One of his tutors was John Rainoldes, who became a life-long friend.  Hooker, still a student, became a tutor.  He tutored George Cranmer (1563-1600) and (Sir) Edwin Sandys (1561-1629).  Cranmer’s uncle was Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555.  Sandys (Jr.) was a son of Edwin Sandys (Sr.) (1519-1588), the Bishop of Worcester (1559-1570), the Bishop of London (1570-1576), and the Archbishop of York (1576-1588).  Sandys (Jr.) went on to serve in the House of Commons, help to found the Virginia Company, and become a critic of King James VI of Scotland/I of Great Britain (reigned 1567-1625 in Scotland and 1603-1625 in England, Wales, and Ireland).  Hooker graduated with his B.A. in 1574 and his M.A. in 1577.  He, a fellow since 1579, taught Hebrew and logic at Corpus Christi College.

Hooker joined the clerks of the clergy.  He, ordained a deacon in 1579 and a priest in 1581, was the absentee Vicar of Drayton-Beauchamp, Buckingham.  Our saint left for London in 1584.  There he was, off-and-on, a member of the household of merchant John Churchman from 1584 to 1595.  Hooker married Joan Churchman in 1588.  His literary assistants were George Cranmer, (Sir) Edwin Sandys, and Benjamin Pullen, a Churchman family servant.

The Travers Controversy prompted Hooker to begin to write his influential treatise, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.  In 1585 Queen Elizabeth I appointed our saint to the Temple Church, London.  His new position made him the chief pastor of the Inns of Court, a prominent legal center in the city.  Hooker preached in the morning, but Walter Travers regularly preached to overflow crowds in the afternoon, despite his silencing by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift in 1584.  Travers, a Puritan, condemned priestly vestments, the sign of the cross, the practice of kneeling for communion, the episcopacy, and the status of the Sovereign as the Head of the Church.  Hooker, needing more time to write his treatise, left the Temple Church in 1591.  From 1591 to 1595, he, residing in London, was the absentee Vicar of Boscombe, Whitshire, near Salisbury.  During this time our saint visited Salisbury.  In 1595 Hooker and his family became resident in his new cure; he became the Vicar of Bishopsbourne, Kent, near Canterbury.

In an age of religious extremism and rampant intolerance, Hooker was relatively tolerant and irenic.  He, critical of both Puritanism and Roman Catholicism, considered the Roman Catholic Church to be Christian.  Our saint reserved his most pointed barbs for the margins of pages.  In his copy of A Christian Letter to Certaine English Protestants (1599), a Puritan text, Hooker wrote,

How this arse runneth kicking up his heels as if a summerfly had stung him.

Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (Books I-IV published in 1593, Book V published in 1597, Books VI and VIII published in 1648, and Book VII published in 1662) was the first important work of philosophy, theology, and political theory in the English language.

  1. Hooker defended the Elizabethan Settlement.
  2. Hooker argued against the Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship.
  3. Hooker argued against the Papacy and for national churches, with the Sovereigns as heads of national churches.
  4. Hooker accepted the Lutheran doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the idea that nothing outside scripture is necessary for salvation.
  5. Hooker defended the episcopacy.
  6. Hooker rejected the Divine Right of Kings.  He did, however, accept that God may give some kings commissions to govern, and that monarchs are accountable both to God and the consent of the governed.
  7. Hooker gave the world the Three-Legged Stool:  scripture, tradition, and reason.

Hooker, aged 46 years, died on November 2, 1600.  He, hardly obscure in life, became more renowned posthumously.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C:  THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS, “ATHANASIUS OF THE WEST” AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS PROTÉGÉ, SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

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O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy

to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion:

Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace,

but as a comprehension for the sake of truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 44:10-15

Psalm 19:1-11

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 667

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Feast of Philipp Nicolai (October 25)   1 comment

Above:  Philipp Nicolai

Image in the Public Domain

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PHILIPP NICOLAI (AUGUST 10, 1556-OCTOBER 26, 1608)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Born Philipp Rafflenboel

His feast transferred from October 26

Philipp Nicolai was one of the greatest German Lutheran hymn writers.  One hymn, translated as “How Bright Appears the Morning Star,” has become known as “the Queen of Chorales.”  Another, “Wake, O Wake!  With Tidings Thrilling,” has become known as “the King of Chorales.”

Philipp Rafflenboel, who changed his surname to “Nicolai,” or “son of Nicoalus,” was a son of Lutheran minister Nicolaus Dietrich Rafflenboel.  Our saint seemed destined for a devout life.  As a child, he presided at funerals for pets and preached at funerals for pets and preached to children in the neighborhood.  He studied at the Universities of Erfurt and Wittenberg before, at the age of 20 years, became a Lutheran minister.  Our saint’s first parish was in his hometown, Mengeringhausen, Waldeck, Hesse.

Nicolai was a man of strong opinions.  He, pastor at Herbecke (in the Ruhr area) from 1583 to 1586, had to leave.  During the age of the Religious Wars in Europe, when the separation of church and state was not the rule, (Roman Catholic) Spanish and Bavarian forces neared Herdecke.  In that context Lutheran pastor Johann Tacke, a former priest, dressed in priestly vestments and presided over a mass.  Nicolai criticized Tacke in strong terms.  This led to a politically difficult situation for our saint.

Political difficulties continued for Nicolai.  In 1586-1587 he was a pastor in Cologne, a stronghold of Roman Catholicism.  At Niederwildungen, Waldeck, as pastor (1587-1596), our saint also tutored the young Count Wilhelm Ernst, son of the dowager Countess Margarethe.  There were, however, prominent Calvinists in the court; Nicolai clashed with them.

From 1596 to 1601 Nicolai was pastor in Unna, Westphalia.  A plague struck the town in 1597-1598; more than 1,300 people died in less than a year.  Our saint ministered faithfully to his flock during that difficult time.  On a happier note, he published Mirror of Joy of Eternal Life, including his hymns and hymn tunes, in 1599.  Nicolai also married Catherine von der Recke, a widow with two children, in 1600.

Nicolai was pastor of St. Catherine’s Church, Hamburg, in 1601-1608.  He, renowned for his eloquent preaching, wrote and published his systematic theology, On God’s Mystical Temple.  Our saint died in Hamburg on October 26, 1608.  He was 56 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C:  THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FILIP SIPHONG ONPHITHAKT, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN THAILAND

THE FEAST OF MAUDE DOMINICA PETRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNIST THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF RALPH ADAMS CRAM AND RICHARD UPJOHN, ARCHITECTS; AND JOHN LAFARGE, SR., PAINTER AND STAINED GLASS WINDOW MAKER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Philipp Nicolai 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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