Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1660s’ Category

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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Feast of Saints Rosa Venerini and Lucia Filippini (May 7)   2 comments

Above:  The Flag of the Vatican

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ROSA VENERINI (FEBRUARY 9, 1656-MAY 7, 1728)

Foundress of the Venerini Sisters

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SAINT LUCIA FILIPPINI (JANUARY 13, 1672-MARCH 25, 1732)

Foundress of the Religious Teachers Filippini

Her feast transferred from March 25

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I feel so nailed to the Will of God that nothing else matters, neither death nor life.  I want what He wants; I want to serve Him as much as pleases Him and no more.

–Saint Rosa Venerini

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The two saints I celebrate in this post did much to address the problems of the financial, material, cultural, and spiritual poverty of girls and women, first in parts of Italy.

Above:  Saint Rosa Venerini

Image in the Public Domain

St. Rosa Venerini (1656-1728), the third of four children of Goffredo Venerini (a physician at Viterbo) and Marzia Zampichetti Venerini, struggled with her divine vocation for years, despite strong support from her family.  At the age of seven years our saint made a vow to consecrate her life to God.  She struggled with that promise and with temptations during her youth.  In the Autumn of 1676 the 20-year-old Rosa, with the encouragement of her father, entered the Dominican Convent of St. Catherine.  An aunt, Anna Cecilia, taught her how to listen for God in meditation and silence.  After a few months, however, Rosa left St. Catherine’s, for her father had died.  Later Domenico, her 27-year-old brother, died.  Then our saint’s mother died.  Eventually a sister, Maria Maddalena, married, leaving Rosa at home with only the fourth child, her younger brother, Orazio, aged 24 years.

The turning point in Venerini’s discernment process started in May 1684.  That month she began to host a rosary prayer group for girls and women in her home.  Our saint noticed the varieties of poverty of these females.  Their spiritual poverty, Venerini decided, was especially alarming.  She therefore devoted the rest of her life to improving the Christian formation of young women.

Thus it came to pass that, on August 30, 1685, Venerini left home and founded her first school, the first public school for girls in Italy, with the assistance of two friends, Geroloma Coluzzelli and Porzia Bacci, and the approval of Urbano Cardinal Sacchetti, the Bishop of Viterbo.  There was strong opposition.  Some people, for example, took offense at our saint’s boldness.  How dare a woman do such a thing, they argued.  Also, some priests considered to be their sole province.

Nevertheless, the work of the Venerini Sisters prospered, due in part to the support of bishops.  From 1692 to 1694 alone, the Venerini Sisters founded ten schools in Monefiascone and the villages around Lake Bolsena.  They opened more schools in other parts of Italy, arriving in Rome in 1713.  Three years later, Pope Clement XI and eight cardinals visited a Venerini school in the Eternal City.  His Holiness said,

Signora Rosa, you are doing that which we cannot do.  We thank you very much because with these schools you will sanctify Rome.

Venerini died at Rome on May 7, 1728.  She was 72 years old.  Our saint had established 40 schools.

The order has expanded its work around the world.

Pope Pius XII declared Venerini a Venerable in 1949 then a Blessed three years later.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized her in 2006.

Above:  Saint Lucia Filippini

Image in the Public Domain

St. Lucia Filippini, born in Cornetto, Tuscany, on January 13, 1672, became a Venerini Sister then established her own order.  Filippini, orphaned at the age of six years, grew up in the home of an aunt and an uncle.  Our saint, devout from an early age, worked with St. Rosa Venerini, who entrusted the task of training schoolmistresses to her.  St. Lucia also directed Venerini schools.  In 1707 Pope Clement XI called Filippini to Rome, where she founded the first school of the Religious Teachers Filippini, devoted to the education of young girls.  When our saint died at the age of 60 years on March 25 (the Feast of the Annunciation), 1732, she had founded 52 schools.

Pope Pius XI declared our saint a Blessed in 1926 then canonized her four years later.

The influence of an educator is great and mostly indirect.  He or she has direct influence on pupils, obviously, and they influence others, who influence more people, et cetera.  People pass down lessons from generation to generation.

Sts. Rosa Venerini and Lucia Filippini therefore influenced a countless host.

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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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

and rest to the weary,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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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 was 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 to 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 not 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 on 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 William Derham (April 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  William Derham

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM DERHAM (NOVEMBER 26, 1657-APRIL 5, 1735)

Anglican Priest and Scientist

Despite the negative opinions of some, whether in the church or outside it, there has long been a good relationship between science and elements of the church.  In fact, certain scientists have been clergymen, members of religious orders, or prominent laymen.  William Derham was a scientist and an Anglican priest.

Derham, born at Stoulton, Worcestershire, England, on November 26, 1657, became a priest of The Church of England.  He studied at Blockley, Gloucestershire, then at Trinity College, Oxford (1675-1679).  Out saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1681, became the Vicar of Wargrave, Berskshire, that year.  Starting in 1689 Derham served as the Rector of Upminster, Essex.  He doubled as Canon of Windsor in 1716-1735.

Derham recognized no conflict between religion and good science.  He wrote four books:

  1. Artificial Clockmaker (1696),
  2. Physico-Theology (1713),
  3. Astro-Theology (1714), and
  4. Christo-Theology (1730).

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1703, contributed to papers thereof, and edited scientific works by other people.  Derham’s scientific interests included zoology and astronomy.  He wrote about sunspots, marsupials, Jupiter’s moons, and the aurora borealis, among other topics.  In 1709 he published an estimate of the speed of sound.

Oxford granted Derham a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1730.

Derham died at Upminster (near London), England, on April 5, 1735.  He was 77 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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God of grace and glory, you create and sustain the universe in majesty and beauty:

We thank you for William Derham and all in whom you have planted the desire

to know your creation and to explore your work and wisdom.

Lead us, like them, to understand better the wonder and mystery of creation;

through Christ your eternal Word, through whom all things were made.  Amen.

Genesis 2:9-20

Psalm 34:8-14

2 Corinthians 13:1-6

John 20:24-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 738

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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 Thomas Bray (February 15)   Leave a comment

bray

Above:  Thomas Bray

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS BRAY (1656-FEBRUARY 15, 1730)

Anglican Priest and Missionary

Thomas Bray did much to help The Church of England in North America.  The native of Marton, Shropshire, England, graduated from Oxford University then became a priest in Warwickshire.  In 1696 the Bishop of London selected Bray to supervise church work in Maryland.  Our saint sailed for the colony three years later.  During two and a half months in 1700 Bray became concerned about the neglect of the Anglican Church in the North American colonies, as well as about the realities of life for Native Americans and for African-American slaves.  Back in England he spent the rest of his life working for the welfare of slaves, founding schools and libraries, raising funds for missionary work, and recruiting priests to serve in North America.  Bray also lobbied for the appointment of a bishop for North America.  He was not alone in this cause.  Unfortunately, the Church of England did not consecrate a bishop for North America until 1787, when Charles Inglis (1734-1816) became the first Bishop of Nova Scotia, with a sprawling diocese.  (Scottish non-juring bishops consecrated Samuel Seabury in 1784.)

Bray’s final charge was St. Botolph Without, Aldgate, London, from 1706 until his death, in 1730.  Aside from the North America-related efforts I have listed, our saint, deeply involved in domestic prison reform, suggested that General James Edward Oglethorpe found a colony and include debtors as settlers in it.  In 1732 Oglethorpe secured the charter for Georgia.  The boats arrived the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 2, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS, EPISCOPAL MISSIONARY BISHOP IN CHINA AND JAPAN

THE FEAST OF ALICE FREEMAN PALMER, U.S. EDUCATOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BRIOC, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT TUDWAL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT OSMUND OF SALISBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant

Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World,

and led him to found societies to meet those needs:

Make the Church in this land diligent at all times

to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it,

and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 102:15-22

Philippians 2:1-5

Luke 10:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 225

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