Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1650s’ Category

Feast of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson (April 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Rhode Island

Image in the Public Domain

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ROGER WILLIAMS (1603?-BETWEEN JANUARY 27 AND MARCH 15, 1683)

Founder of Rhode Island

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ANNE MARBURY HUTCHINSON (1591-AUGUST OR SEPTEMBER 1643)

Rebellious Puritan

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PROPHETIC WITNESSES

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Well-behaved women seldom make history.

–Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.

–Roger Williams

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The feast day of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson in The Episcopal Church is February 5.  On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, the feast day is April 18.  The irony of Williams and Hutchinson, who left The Church of England, which they considered too Catholic, being saints on the Episcopal calendar, does not escape me.  I interpret the irony as an indication of the broad mindedness of The Episcopal Church.

Anne Marbury, born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, in 1591, was a daughter of the Reverend Francis Marbury (1555-1611) and his second wife, Bridget Dryden, a cousin of playwright John Dryden (1631-1700).  Anne, baptized on July 17, 1591, grew up in a home with strong Puritan influences.  Her mother had strong nonconformist roots.  Francis, an Anglican priest, insisted publicly that has not a Puritan, but he made occasional public denunciations of The Church of England for being too Catholic.  Such statements belied his public denials of not being a Puritan and led to two trials (in 1578 and 1591) and years (as in 1591-1594) of house arrest, followed by public silence regarding certain opinions.  His life and double life ended, due to natural causes, in 1611.

Francis Marbury supervised the education of his children who survived infancy.  He and his first wife (Elizabeth Moore, who died in 1585) had three daughters from 1581 to 1585.  Marbury and his second wife had fifteen children from 1588 to 1610.  Anne was his sixth child and his third child with Bridget Dryden.  He and Bridget raised Anne as a well-educated, Biblically literate, confident, and assertive young woman.

In 1612 Anne married William Hutchinson, with whom she had grown up in London and who had attended her father’s church.  They were devoted to each other for the rest of their lives.  The couple also had fifteen children from 1613 to 1636.  (Her final pregnancy terminated via miscarriage in 1636.)  Anne, William, ten of their children, Katherine Marbury Scott (Anne’s sister), Katherine’s husband, and Anne and Frances Freiston (William’s unmarried cousins) sailed for Boston, Massachusetts Bay colony, in 1634.

Above:  The Coat of Arms of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Image in the Public Domain

Notice the arrogant reference to the Macedonian Call in the Indian’s words.

Puritans came in two varieties–the Separatists and the Non-Separatists.  The Separatist Puritans considered The Church of England to be too Catholic and beyond the possibility of redemption.  The Non-Separatist Puritans agreed that The Church of England was too Catholic yet not that it was beyond the possibility of redemption.  Despite their de jure status as Anglicans, the Non-Separatist Puritans of New England had separated de facto, for they did not worship according to The Book of Common Prayer.

Roger Williams was a Separatist Puritan.  He, born in London (perhaps in 1603), was a son of merchant James Williams and his wife, Alice Pemberton Williams, who hailed from a family of merchants.  Young Roger worked as a legal clerk for Sir Edward Coke.  Williams also studied at the Charterhouse (1621-1624) then at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge (1624-1627).  After Cambridge our saint became the chaplain to Sir William Marsham in Otes, Essex County.  In that assignment Williams completed his transformation from an Anglican into a Puritan.

Williams sailed for the new Massachusetts Bay colony (Non-Separatist) in late 1630 and arrived the following year.  He declined the opportunity to become the minister at Salem.  Not only did he insist that a royal land grant was illegitimate because colonists should purchase land from indigenous people, but he also refused to be a pastor to Non-Separatists.  So, in 1632, Williams relocated to the Plymouth colony (Separatist).  There he remained for about a year; his opinion regarding royal land grants also proved unpopular in the Plymouth colony.

So it came to pass that Williams returned to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1633.  He finally accepted the offer to become the minister at Salem, but civil magistrates opposed him.  Williams called upon the leaders of the colony do do officially what they had done in practice–separate from The Church of England.  He also argued that the civil magistrate should have no role in religion.  The state should never compel anyone to pray, Williams stated.

The call for the separation of church and state contradicted Puritan and Anglican norms.  Contrary to popular misconception, the founders of the Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay colonies were champions of religious freedom.  No, they left England proper to find religious liberty for themselves and those who agreed with them, but persecuted dissidents.  The founders of those colonies failed the basic test of religious freedom–a general policy of toleration.  Williams was more fortunate that some other dissidents; his fate was merely banishment.  (Authorities hanged some Quakers decades later.)  He and his traveling companions walked out of the Massachusetts Bay colony in January 1636.  In April they arrived that the future site of the settlement of Providence.  He purchased the land from the Narragansett tribe, befriended them, and learned their language.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Anne was being herself and getting into trouble.  The fact that she got into trouble reflected negatively on her persecutors, not on her.  At home meetings during which she, other pious women, and certain others discussed the most recent sermon, she criticized the theology of the Reverend John Wilson.  Anne, a devout Calvinist, accused Wilson of having preached the Covenant of Works, not the Covenant of Grace.  Ministers were pillars of the theocracy in Puritan New England.  They were also, according to Puritan orthodoxy, closer to God than mere laypeople–certainly a woman.  Furthermore, Hutchinson taught that the Holy Spirit dwells in everyone and that salvation comes via divine grace.  Her teaching regarding the Holy Spirit (literally, God speaks to everyone) threatened the exalted status of ministers in the Puritan hierarchy.  Hutchinson, brought up on charges in 1637 and sentenced to banishment late in the year, spent the beginning of the year and the beginning of the next one as a prisoner, due to the cold weather.  She and her companions settled on Aquidneck Island in the Spring of 1638.  During this difficult time of her life she was pregnant.  After she left the Massachusetts Bay colony, she suffered a miscarriage.  Certain Puritan divines understood this as evidence of God’s judgment on her.

William Hutchinson became a civic leader in Portsmouth, on Aquidneck Island.  In 1639 he became the treasurer.  Later that year he became he the chief magistrate.  In 1640, when Aquidneck Island joined the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, he became an assistant governor.  He died the following year.

In 1642-1644 Rhode Island was in peril, for orthodox Puritan forces were threatening to conquer it.  Williams secured the future of the colony by obtaining charter from the royal government in 1644.  During the time of uncertainty, however, Anne and six of her children relocated to Long Island, then part of New Netherland, in 1642.  There, in August or September 1643, some Native Americans killed her and five of her children.  This, certain Puritan divines in Massachusetts claimed, was more evidence of divine judgment on her.

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the minority of the thirteen colonies to have no official religion.  Religious toleration was the policy there.  Williams had definite and changing religious opinions, none of which he imposed on anyone.  His house church became the First Baptist Church, Providence, in 1637.  He resigned as pastor the following year.  He went on to identify as a seeker and to reject organized religion.  The colony became a haven for a variety of people, including Quakers (founded in England in 1652), aspects of whose theology Anne Hutchinson had presaged.  Williams argued publicly against Quaker theology, but he welcomed Friends into his colony.

Williams, who supported himself financially as a farmer and a merchant, died broke; his commerce never recovered from the great regional disruption that was King Philip’s War (1675-1676).  Williams between January 27 and March 15, 1683, aged about 80 years.

Alan Heimert concluded his article of Williams in The Encyclopedia Americana (1962) with these words:

Roger Williams, who even as a shaker of nations had never been wholly of this world, was perhaps the purest of American Puritans.

–Volume 28, page 792

Williams was certainly a man committed to certain principles.  He was, for all his faults and inconsistencies, a champion of religious toleration.  He and Anne Hutchinson, with whom he might have had some fascinating arguments, challenged authority figures who deserved the challenges.  These two saints were pioneers of American religious liberty.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 10, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SCHEFFLER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORG NEUMARK, GERMAN LUTHERAN POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HINES, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

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O God, our light and salvation, who makes all free to worship you:

May we ever strive to be faithful to your call,

following the example of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson,

that we may faithfully set our hands to the Gospel plow,

confident in the truth proclaimed by your Son Jesus Christ; 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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O God, our light and salvation, we thank you for Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson,

whose visions of the liberty of the soul illumined by the light of Christ

made them brave prophets of religious tolerance in the American colonies;

and we pray that we also may follow paths of holiness and good conscience,

guided by the radiance of Jesus Christ; who with you and the

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

1 Kings 17:1-16

Psalm 133

1 Peter 1:13-16

Luke 9:51-62

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 211

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Feast of Johann Cruger (April 8)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  Johann Cruger

Image in the Public Domain

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As a writer and editor of tunes this distinguished musician occupies a special niche in the hymnic hall of fame.

–Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952)

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Johann Cruger ranks among the greatest composers in the Lutheran Church.  He, born at Gross-Breesen, Brandenburg, on April 9, 1598, studied at Guben, Sorau, and Breslau before studying at the Jesuit school at Olmutz then the Poets’ School at Regensburg.  At Regensburg Cruer studied music under Paul Homberber, who had been a student of Giovanni Gabrieli.  Next our saint traveled in Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia before settling in Berlin in 1615.  Then he worked as a private tutor until 1620, when he began to study music and theology at the University of Wittenberg.

Cruger settled at Berlin again in 1622, when he became the cantor (organist and choirmaster) at St. Nicholas Church and a teacher at the Gray Cloister.  Our saint held both posts for the rest of his life–about 40 years.  Cruger composed at least 122 chorale tunes, 18 of which remained in widespread use at the times of the publication of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Lutheran Worship (1982).  In 1657 Paul Gerhardt became the deacon at St. Nicholas Church.  They became friends and Cruger set 21 texts by Gerhardt to music.

Cruger edited and published five important volumes:

  1. Neues vollkommliches Gesangbuch (1640), with 161 hymns;
  2. Praxis Pietatis Melica (first edition, 1644; forty-fourth edition, 1736); the twenty-third edition (1688) included 1114 hymns; the forty-third edition had 1316 hymns;
  3. Geistliche Kirchenmelodien (1649), with 161 hymns;
  4. Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (1653), with 92 tunes and no texts; and
  5. Psalmodia Sacra (1657), with 319 texts; intended for Huguenot immigrants.

Cruger died at Berlin on February 23, 1662.  He was 63 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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

thank you for those (especially Johann Cruger)

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 Roberto de Nobili (January 16)   Leave a comment

roberto-de-nobili

Above:  Roberto de Nobili

Image in the Public Domain

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ROBERTO DE NOBILI (1577-JANUARY 16, 1656)

Roman Catholic Missionary in India

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Roberto de Nobili comes to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days from The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995).

De Nobili, born to Italian nobility in Montepulciano, Tuscany, in 1577, devoted his adult life to God.  He joined the Society of Jesus at Naples in 1597.  The order sent him to southern India.  Our saint sailed for India in October 1604 and arrived in Goa in May 1605.  De Nobili moved to Madurai, Tamil Nadu, in November 1606.  Within a year he mastered the Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit languages.  He met Goncalo Fernandez, a fellow Jesuit who had labored as a missionary for a decade without converting one person.  De Nobili concluded that proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner agreeable to Hindu Brahmin culture might succeed.

So our saint pursued that strategy for half a century.  De Nobili dressed like a Hindu holy man and preached to people from all castes, converting many of them.  He pioneered a controversial method of evangelism, on of which Pope Gregory XV approved in 1623.  The perception of Christianity among many Hindus was that it was the religion of the invaders, and therefore undesirable.  De Nobili sought to overcome this problem.  He worked at Madura, Mysore, and Karotic.  Our saint wrote catechisms and apologetic works, translated prayers into indigenous languages, and pioneered a missionary strategy other Jesuits followed.  He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ constantly, even during times of incarceration, such as at Madura from 1639 to 1641.  Eventually blindness and bad health forced de Nobili to retire.  He died at Mylapore on January 16, 1656.

De Nobili’s mission, successful in the short term, failed in the long term.  By 1740 the number of Indian Christians exceeded 100,000.  In 1744, however, Pope Benedict XIV suppressed the methods de Nobili favored.  This did not help, but it did not change the fact that de Nobili and his successors, despite their best efforts, never changed the widespread perception among Hindus that Christianity was the religion of the invaders.

De Nobili has remained a subject of criticism, much of it vitriolic.  Certain websites (especially weblogs) I have found via a Google search have perpetuated accusations that he was a bad person–either a heretic or an imperialist–but still a proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Southern Baptist missionary Cody C. Lorance offered a nuanced critique in 2005.  He was generally sympathetic toward de Nobili while arguing that the Jesuit contributed to the longterm failure of that missionary venture.  De Nobili, Lorance argued, should have translated the Bible or parts thereof, as Lutheran Bartholomeaus Ziegenbalg did subsequently.  The reason for that failure was the politics of the Counter-Reformation.  Lorance also criticized de Nobili for failing to encourage the education of Indians as priests and attributed that failure to cultural biases.

Certainly de Nobili, being a human being, was imperfect.  Yes, he could and should have done some things differently than he did.

Despite the validity of some criticisms of de Nobili and his tactics, I choose to focus on the positive.

De Nobili could have lived in relative comfort in Europe, but he chose to serve God in a foreign land.  He subjected himself to decades of hardship, including years of incarceration.  Through it all he proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ consistently.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 19, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY, PRINCESS OF HUNGARY AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF ALICE NEVIN, U.S. GERMAN REFORMED LITURGIST AND COMPOSER OF HYMN TEXTS

THE FEAST OF F. BLAND TUCKER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOHANN HERMANN SCHEIN, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER

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Almighty God, who called your Church to witness that you were in

Christ reconciling men to yourself:  Help us so to proclaim the good news of your love,

that all who hear it may be reconciled to you; through him who died for us and rose again

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 97 or 100

Ephesians 2:13-22

Matthew 28:16-20

Alternative Prayer Book 1984, page 750

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Feast of George Fox (January 11)   Leave a comment

fox

Above:  Memorial of George Fox

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE FOX (JULY 1624-JANUARY 13, 1691)

Founder of the Religious Society of Friends

I refer you, O reader to this biography of George Fox.

I am an Episcopalian, not a Quaker; my spiritual type is somewhere between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism–increasingly closer to the former than the latter.  Nevertheless, I have great respect for the Religious Society of Friends.  The world needs more people like them, I am convinced.  This respect extends to George Fox, of course.

The Quakers have been subject to persecution in various lands over time.  In New England, for example, Puritan authorities persecuted Quakers, hanging some of them in the late 1600s.  Religious persecution has always been wrong.  Furthermore, the violent treatment of pacifists has been especially inexcusable.  I, for one, have always thought ill of those who have engaged in such activities.

Although my conscience will not permit me to become a pacifist, I thank God for the witness of people such as the Quakers, especially of their founder, George Fox.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF THE CONSECRATION OF SAMUEL SEABURY, FIRST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ROMANIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ, who is our peace:

Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity.

Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided, that forgiven and forgiving,

we may ever be one in Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever,

one holy and undivided Trinity.  Amen.

Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22

Psalm 51:1-17

Hebrews 4:12-16

Luke 23:32-43

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016), page A68

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Feast of Arcangelo Corelli (January 8)   Leave a comment

corelli

Above:  Arcangelo Corelli

Image in the Public Domain

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ARCANGELO CORELLI (FEBRUARY 17, 1653-JANUARY 8, 1713)

Roman Catholic Musician and Composer

Arcangelo Corelli glorified God with his God-given talents.

Corelli, a native of Fusignano, near Imola, the Papal States, lived in Rome for most of his life.  He moved around, but, for the majority of the time from 1675 to 1713, he was a resident of the Eternal City.  The composer, who came from a prosperous family, was among the most respected violin virtuosos of his time.  He also composed sonatas and concerti grossi (one of which was the Christmas Concerto).  His compositions influenced some other great composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach.  Our saint, a collector of violins and fine art, won the favor and patronage of monarchs, dukes, Cardinals, and Pope Alexander VIII (reigned 1689-1691).

Corelli also left a musical legacy that continues to add beauty to the world and enrich the lives of people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF THE CONSECRATION OF SAMUEL SEABURY, FIRST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ROMANIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Arcangelo Corelli 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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Feast of Blessed Severin Ott (December 11)   Leave a comment

shield_of_the_premonstratensians-svg

Above:  Premonstratensian Shield

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED SEVERIN OTT (1627-DECEMBER 11, 1708)

Roman Catholic Monk

We know little about the life of Blessed Severin Ott.  We do know, however, that he was German.  At some point Ott became Premonstratensian monk at Roggenburg, Swabia, Bavaria.  Our saint had a reputation as a man of prayer, personal penances, and one devoted to St. Mary of Nazareth.  He also promoted pilgrimages to a shrine at Scheissen, nearby.  During his later years Ott became a hermit and devoted most of his time prayer.

Some people with whom I have usually agreed and others with whom I have frequently differed have characterized saints such as Blessed Severin Ott as useless.  This has long puzzled me, for these individuals who have made such statements have affirmed the efficacy of prayer.  They have therefore contradicted themselves.

The existence of people who devote their lives to prayer comforts me.  They stand in succession with great saints, such as Blessed Severin Ott.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2016 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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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Blessed Severin Ott,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

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.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of Giovanni Gabrieli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz (November 6)   5 comments

Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Above:  Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI GABRIELI (1557-AUGUST 12, 1612)

Composer and Organist

teacher of

HANS LEO HASSLER (BAPTIZED OCTOBER 26, 1564-AUGUST 19, 1612)

Composer and Organist

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CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (BAPTIZED MAY 15, 1567-NOVEMBER 29, 1643)

Composer and Musician

teacher of

HEINRICH SCHUTZ (OCTOBER 8/18, 1585-NOVEMBER 6, 1672)

Composer and Musician

Lutheran Feast Day = July 28

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With this post I add four composers of church music to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Classical music is my favorite genre of audio input.  For most of my life I have derived much spiritual benefit from classical church music, including certain works by some of these four composers.

Giovanni Gabrieli, born in Venice, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, in 1557, was a nephew of Andrea Gabrieli (circa 1520-1586), a composer and organist.  Andrea, famous for his madrigals and sacred works, served as the second organist (1566-1585) then primary composer (1585-1586) at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  Giovanni, who studied music under the direction of his uncle, succeeded him as the second organist (in 1585) and as primary composer (in 1586), holding both posts for the rest of his life.  In 1584 and 1585 Giovanni and his uncle taught Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612).  The younger Gabrieli also befriended Hassler.  Giovanni, whose major works include the Sacre Symphoniae, composed the first truly orchestral sacred music, with spatially separated choirs, intended for performance at St. Mark’s Basilica.  He also edited and preserved many of his uncle’s compositions.  Giovanni, ill for the last six years of his life, died at Venice on August 12, 1612.  He was 54 or 55 years old.

Hans Leo Hassler, baptized at Nuremberg, on October 26, 1564, became the most German composer of his time.  His father and first music teacher was Isaak Hassler (died in 1591), an organist.  Hans studied music with the Gabrielis in Venice in 1584 and 1585.  Back in Germany, Hans became the organist to the Fugger family, bankers in Augsburg.  Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (reigned 1576-1612) made the composer a nobleman in 1591.  Nine years later Hassler became the director of music for the city of Augsburg.  The following year he transferred to Nuremberg, to fill a similar position.  Finally, in 1608, Hassler became the organist to Christian II (reigned 1591-1611), the Elector of Saxony.  The composer stayed on in that capacity in the service of Elector Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  Our saint, a Lutheran, composed madrigals as well as sacred music in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.  He died of tuberculosis at Frankfurt on August 19, 1612.  He was 47 years old.

Claudio Monteverdi, baptized on May 15, 1567, at Cremona, Duchy of Milan (now Cremona, Lombardy, Italy), became an influential composer.  He studied music under Mark Antonio Ingegneri (circa 1545-1592), choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In 1590 Monteverdi became a string player in the service of Vincenzo I (reigned 1587-1612), Duke of Mantua.  The composer and the duke traveled to Hungary in 1595 and the Low Countries in 1599.  Also in 1599, Monteverdi married Claudia Cattaneo (died in 1607), a singer.  They had two sons and a daughter.  One son became a Carmelite friar and a chorister at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  The other son, a doctor, became a target of the Inquisition in 1627.  Fortunately, the Inquisition acquitted him of charges of heresy the following year.  Duke Vincenzo I promoted Monteverdi to the post of director of music at the ducal court.  In 1612, however, Duke Francesco IV (reigned in 1612), citing the necessity of budget cuts, terminated Monteverdi’s employment.  The composer served as choir master at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, from 1613 to 1643 (his death), becoming a priest in 1632.

Monteverdi was an influential composer during his lifetime and afterward.  He composed madrigals, motets, operas, and sacred music.  L’Orfeo (1607) has become the oldest opera still performed.  The music to some of his operas has not survived, unfortunately.  Monteverdi also wrote settings of the Mass and of vespers.  Especially notable was Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610), dedicated to Pope Paul V (reigned 1605-1621).

Monteverdi led a frequently unhappy life yet he composed much fairly light music.  That life, the last few years of which he spent in illness, ended at Venice on November 29, 1643.  He was 76 years old.

The birth date of Heinrich Schutz was October 8, 1585 on the Julian Calendar and October 18, 1585, on the Gregorian Calendar.  The site of that debut was Kostritz, Thuringia.  He became the greatest German composer prior to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  The son of Euphrosyne Bieger and Christoph Schutz (the manager of an inn) became a chorister at Kassel, under the patronage of Maurice the Learned (reigned 1592-1627), the Landgrave of Hesse-Kessel.  Schutz studied law at the University of Marburg in 1608 and 1609.  Then, in 1609-1612, he, financed by Maurice the Learned, studied music at Venice, where Giovanni Gabrieli was his teacher.  Schutz studied law at Leipzig, starting in 1613, but accepted Maurice’s offer to become the second organist at the court at Hesse.

Starting in 1614, Schutz began to work primarily for the Electors of Saxony, starting with Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  The composer began by supervising the music of the baptism of Johann Georg’s son.  Next Schutz went to work in the electoral chapel at Dresden.  In 1619 he married Magdalene Wildeck.  The couple had two daughters.  In 1628 Schutz visited Venice, where he studied under Claudio Monteverdi.  Then he returned to Dresden and the electoral court, but left after three years, due to the combination of plague and the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).  In 1633-1635 Schutz served as the kappelmeister at the Danish royal court when Christian IV (reigned 1588-1648) was the sovereign.  Then the composer returned to the electoral court at Dresden, where he remained for the rest of his life, despite his expressed wishes to leave.  Schutz died after a stroke, on November 6, 1672.  He was 87 years old.

Schutz left and impressive musical legacy, including madrigals, sacred works, and operas.  Daphne (1627) was the first German opera.  The score has become lost to history, unfortunately.  He also composed a German requiem mass, Musikalische Exequien (1636).  Other sacred works included a Christmas oratorio (1664) and settings of the Passion narratives from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John.

These composers left a living legacy, one which a person can access via technology easily and legally.  Doing so will prove spiritually beneficial to he or she who really listens to those works and inwardly digests them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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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

Giovanni Gabrielli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz.

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 our 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 18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

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

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