Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1890s’ Category

Feast of Timothy Rees (April 29)   1 comment

Above:  Timothy Rees

Image in the Public Domain

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TIMOTHY REES (AUGUST 15, 1874-APRIL 29, 1939)

Welsh Anglican Hymn Writer and Bishop of Llandaff

Bishop Timothy Rees comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via hymnals.  One of my occasional projects is reading about the lives of authors and translators of hymns, for hymnody matters that much to me.  I know of seven hymns Rees wrote, for those are the ones hymnary.org lists.  Unfortunately, the dreaded notation “alt.” follows our saint’s credit on his hymns in most hymnals that contain any of his texts, and I cannot find the original versions of four of those seven hymns.  I want to know what Rees wrote, not what hymnal editors and committees wish he had written.

Consider, this text, O reader:

God is Love:  let heav’n adore him;

God is Love:  let earth rejoice;

Let creation sing before him,

And exalt him with one voice.

He who laid the earth’s foundation,

He who spread the heav’ns above,

He who breathes through all creation,

He is Love, eternal Love.

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God is Love:  and he enfoldeth

All the world in one embrace;

With unfailing grasp he holdeth

Every child of every race.

And when human hearts are breaking

Under sorrow’s iron rod,

Then they find that selfsame aching

Deep withing the heart of God.

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God is Love:  and though with blindness

Sin afflicts the souls of men,

God’s eternal loving-kindness

Holds and guides them even then.

Sin and death and hell shall never

O’er us final triumph gain;

God is Love, so Love for ever

O’er the universe must reign.

–Quoted in The New English Hymnal (1986)

Typical of the alteration of this text in other contemporary hymnals is this portion of the second stanza, from The Hymnal 1982 (1985), of The Episcopal Church:

God is Love:  and love enfolds us,

all the world in one embrace;

with unfailing grasp God holds us,

every child child of every race.

Really, is -eth really so incomprehensible?  And is masculine language so bad?  In the final stanza, in that altered version of the hymn, sin afficts

all human life,

not

the souls of men,

as in the original text.  Lest one imagine inaccurately that I am picking on one theological orientation, I offer another example.  The Lutheran Service Book (2006), of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, offers an altered version of “Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling.”  The end of the first stanza, in the original version, reads,

Holy Spirit, ever raising

Sons of earth to thrones on high;

Living, life-imparting Spirit,

Thee we praise and magnify.

That text, as the Lutheran Service Book presents it, however, is different:

Holy Spirit, ever raising

Those of earth to thrones on high;

Living, life-imparting Spirit,

You we praise and magnify.

In the English language the masculine gender remains the default gender, inclusive of more than boys and men.  This does not bother me.  It is certainly better than the singular they, which leads one to use “are” when one should use “is.”

Timothy Rees, son of David and Catherine Rees, entered the world in Llain, Llanon, Wales, on August 15, 1874, and went on to become a prominent Anglican clergyman.  He studied at Ardwyn School, Aberystwyth, before matriculating at St. David’s College, Lampeter (B.A., 1896), then attending seminary at St. Michael’s College, Abendare.  Our saint, ordained to the diaconate in 1897 and to the priesthood the following year, served as the Curate of Ash Mountain, Glamorganshire, from 1897 to 1901.  Then, from 1901 to 1906, Rees was a lecturer and the chaplain at St. Michael’s College.  He joined the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield, Yorkshire.  For the Community he went on missions to New Zealand (1910 and 1913), Canada (1914), and Ceylon (1929).  From 1915 to 1919 Rees served as a military chaplain; he received the Military Cross for his wartime service.  In 1922 our saint became the Principal of the College of the Resurrection.  Our saint doubled as the Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Bangor from 1925 to 1928.  In 1931 he left he College of the Resurrection to become the Bishop of Llandaff.  Rees died at Llandaff on April 29, 1939.  He was 64 years old.

Our saint’s hymns live on fortunately, if if primarily in altered forms.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 25, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Timothy Rees and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of George Washington Doane and William Croswell Doane (April 27)   4 comments

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE (MAY 27, 1799-APRIL 27, 1859)

Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey

father of

WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE (MARCH 2, 1832-MAY 17, 1913)

Episcopal Bishop of Albany

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Above:  George Washington Doane 

Image in the Public Domain

George Washington Doane was a bishop.  He entered the world on May 27, 1799, at Trenton, New Jersey.  Bishop John Henry Hobart of New York ordained him deacon then priest in 1823.  Father Doane founded St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, New York, New York.  He also taught at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, from 1824 to 1828, and served Christ Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts from 1828 to 1832, as Assistant Rector then Rector.  In 1832 Doane became Bishop of New Jersey, a position he held for the remainder of his life.  Much of his episcopal legacy rests on the founding of parochial schools.  Also, Doane was a High Churchman at a time when chanting, bowing to altars, and lighting candles could lead to major theological altercations.

Doane’s son, William Croswell Doane, became the Bishop of Albany, in the state of New York.

Bishop George Washington Doane wrote the hymns, “Thou Art the Way” and “Softly Now the Light of Day.

He died on April 27, 1859.

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Above:  William Croswell Doane

Image in the Public Domain

William Croswell Doane was also a bishop.  He entered the world on March 2, 1832, in Boston, Massachusetts.  His father, George Washington Doane, ordained Doane, Jr., to the diaconate in 1853 and the priesthood three years later.  In the 1850s and 1860s Doane, Jr., served churches in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut; Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, was a parishioner in Hartford, Connecticut.  Doane Jr., like his father, was a High Churchman when that was controversial.  These ritualistic tendencies prompted evangelical (low church) opposition to his 1868 election as Bishop of the newly created Diocese of Albany, in the state of New York.  Bishop Doane of Albany oversaw the construction of the Cathedral of All Saints, Albany.  (J. P. Morgan contributed to the financing of the cathedral.)  Cathedrals were not commonplace in Episcopal dioceses at the time, unlike today.

William Croswell Doane died in office on May 17,  1913.

His main legacy for church members today is the hymn, “Ancient of Days.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 18, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOME DE LAS CASAS, “APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, ANGLICAN DEAN OF WESTMINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERARD, FIRST DEACONESS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church, including your servants

George Washington Doane and William Croswell Doane.

May the memory of their lives be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

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

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3;14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

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

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Feast of Walter Russell Bowie (April 23)   1 comment

Above:  The Bowies’ Gravestone

Image Source = Find a Grave

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WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE (OCTOBER 8, 1882-APRIL 23, 1969)

Episcopal Priest, Seminary Professor, and Hymn Writer

Walter Russell Bowie was a Virginian.  He, born in Richmond, Virginia, on October 8, 1882, studied at The Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, before matriculating at Harvard University.  At Harvard he and Franklin Delano Roosevelt edited The Crimson.  Our saint graduated with his B.A. in 1904 and his M.A. the following year.   Next Bowie attended Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia (B.D., 1908).  He, ordained to the diaconate in 1908 and to the priesthood the following year, married Jean Laverack (1881-1963) in 1909.  The couple went on to raise four children.

Bowie, a proponent of the Social Gospel, served on the parish level and beyond.  He was Rector of Emmanuel Church, Greenwood, Connecticut (1908-1911); St. Paul’s Church, Richmond, Virginia (1911-1923); and Grace Church, New York, New York (1923-1939), doubling as a hospital chaplain in France during World War I.  His social conscience compelled him to join the anti-xenophobic American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born in the 1920s.  Bowie lectured at Yale Divinity School (1935) and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (1939).  In 1939 our saint became Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of Students at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York.  Then, in 1950, he departed for Alexandria, Virginia, to become Professor of Homiletics at Virginia Theological Seminary.  While at Alexandria, our saint edited The Southern Churchman.  He retired from the seminary in 1955.  During Bowie’s years as an academic he also served on the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches and helped to translate the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.  He was also the Associate Editor of Exposition for The Interpreter’s Bible (12 volumes, 1951-1957).

Bowie was a prolific author.  He published many sermons as well as books.  Audiences ranged from children to adults and genres included biographies, current events, church dramas, and the Bible.  (One can find many of these works at archive.org and Worldcat.)  Bowie also wrote hymn texts, which manifested his social conscience.  Those hymns included the following:

  1. Lord Christ, When First Thou Cam’st to Men;”
  2. Lord, Through Changing Days, Unchanging;”
  3. O Holy City Seen of John;”
  4. God of the Nations, Who, from Dawn of Days;” and
  5. Lovely to the Outward Eye.”

I also found the following text from 1914 and set to the tune ELLACOMBE (“The Day of Resurrection!  Earth Tell It Out Abroad”):

O ye who dare go forth with God,

Behold the flag unfurled

And hear His trumpet’s challenge ring

Across the answering world:

For His great war with sin and shame,

Though coward hearts refuse–

Go draw the sword that in His name

You shall find strength to use.

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The citadels He bids you storm

Are walled with ancient wrong;

The foes He bids you shock against

Are insolent and strong;

Where fleshly lusts and greed for gain

Make dens for souls to die–

For rescue from that poisoned pain

The bitter voices cry:

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The bitter voice goes up to God

From the dark house of shame;

‘Mid iron wheels of driving toil

And from the men they maim;

From ev’ry stricken child who lies

In some foul room and drear;

From those who walk with sodden eyes,

To whom no hopes walk with sodden eyes,

To whom no hopes come near.

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Where sordidness and pain and sin

Cry for th’avenging sword,

Where selfish ease and indolence

Call for the blazing sword,

There God’s clear trumpet summons those

Who dare to face the wrong

And launch against His Spirit’s foes

The strength which He makes strong.

Bowie died in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 23, 1969.  He was 86 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 17, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENNETT J. SIMS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF COMPEIGNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT NERSES LAMPRONATS, ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF TARSUS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WHITE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Walter Russell Bowie,

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 Kathe Kollwitz (April 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Kathe Kollwitz

Image in the Public Domain

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KATHE SCHMIDT KOLLWITZ (JULY 8, 1867-APRIL 22, 1945)

German Lutheran Artist and Pacifist

Kathe Schmidt always had leftist politics and an active concern for the poor and the downtrodden; socialism and nonconformity were her inheritance.  Our saint, born in Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), on July 8, 1867, was a daughter of house builder Karl Schmidt and socialist Katerina Schmidt, daughter of an outcast, independent Lutheran minister.  Our saint, who began to study at the age of 12 years, went to work in etching, sculpture, lithography, and woodcutting.  She channeled her social concerns via her art.

Above:  Working Woman (1910), by Kathe Kollwitz

Image in the Public Domain

From 1891 to 1940 our saint was the wife of Dr. Karl Kollwitz (died in 1940), a physician who treated poor and working-class patients in clinics.  Some of those patients became models for her artwork depicting the struggles of the underclass.  Our saint especially liked to create art depicting mothers and children; the maternal bond interested her.  Kathe, who lived in Berlin most of her life, had two sons–Hans (born in 1892) and Peter (born in 1896).  Peter’s death during World War I was one factor in her conversion to pacifism, which she defined as the brotherhood of man, not merely opposition to war.  Peter’s death was on Kathe’s mind as she sculpted The Grieving Parents (1932), a war memorial commissioned for the Soldiers Cemetery near Dixmuiden, Belgium.  She and her husband were the models for the grieving parents.

Above:  The Grieving Parents (1932), by Kathe Kollwitz

Image in the Public Domain

Life was difficult for the Kollwitzes during the Third Reich.  Officials banned exhibition of her work and the Gestapo threatened the couple.  The Kollwitzes’ prominent international profile seems to have protected them, however.  Nevertheless, Kathe was not exempt from the grief of war; grandson Peter died in combat.

Kathe died, aged 77 years, in Moritzburg, Germany, on April 22, 1945, shortly before V-E Day.

The power of her art that survived the ravages of World War II remains, however.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

PROPER 10:  THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR A

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

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

THE FEAST OF JOHN MOORE WALKER, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

THE FEAST OF THE RIGHTEOUS GENTILES

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Kathe Kollwitz.

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

Psalm 96

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

Matthew 13:44-52

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

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Feast of St. Roman Adame Rosales (April 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Roman Adame Rosales

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ROMAN ADAME ROSALES (FEBRUARY 27, 1859-APRIL 21, 1927)

Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927

Alternative feast day = May 21

St. Roman Adame Rosales witnessed for Christ in the face of persecution.  He, born at Teocaltiche, Jalisco, Mexico, on February 27, 1859, became a priest on November 30, 1890.  Our saint, who served as the parish priest at Nochistlan, Zacatecas, from 1913 to 1927, cared for the sick, built chapels, and founded the Daughters of the Mary of Nocturnal Adoration.  He went underground when persecution of the Roman Catholic Church began.  Our saint said his final Mass on April 18, 1927, at Rancho Veladones.  One person in attendance betrayed the priest, who authorities arrested the following day.  The man chiefly responsible for the martyrdom of our saint was one Colonel Quinones, who had taken over the rectory at Yahualican, Jalisco, as headquarters, and kept him a prisoner there.  Quinones, who did not give Rosales food and water, kept him tied to a post during daytime and locked up in a cell at nighttime.  The Colonel accepted a ransom of $6000 from locals, pocketed the funds, and had the priest executed.  Antonio Carillo, a soldier, refused to fire on Rosales, so he (Carillo) also died via firing squad on April 21, 1927.

Pope John Paul II declared Rosales a Venerable then a Blessed in 1992 and a full saint in 2000.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES RENATUS VERBEEK, MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF PETER RICKSECKER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; STUDENT OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN BECHLER, MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; FATHER OF JULIUS THEODORE BECHLER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Saint Roman Adame Rosales boldness

to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ;

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

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713

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Feast of St. Conrad of Parzham (April 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Conrad of Parzham

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CONRAD OF PARZHAM (DECEMBER 22, 1818-APRIL 21, 1894)

Capuchin Friar

Born Johann Birndorfer

Johann Birdorfer was a holy man.  He, born in Parzham, Bavaria, on December 22, 1818, came from a farming family.  As a young man he devoted himself to solitary prayer and to peacemaking.  He also frequented churches and shrines in his native region.  Our saint became a Capuchin tertiary at the age of 31 years and a novice (as Conrad) two years later.  For more than forty years Friar Conrad, a porter at the Shrine of Our Lady at Alotting, Bavaria, distributed alms, assisted pilgrims, counseled people spiritually, and taught the faith to children.  He performed these duties until three days before he died.  During those final days, as St. Conrad lay on his death-bed, children to whom he had taught the rosary recited it outside his window.  He died on April 21, 1894.

Pope Pius XI declared St. Conrad a Venerable in 1928, a Blessed in 1930, and a full saint in 1934.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES RENATUS VERBEEK, MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF PETER RICKSECKER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; STUDENT OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN BECHLER, MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; FATHER OF JULIUS THEODORE BECHLER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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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 Saint Conrad of Parzham, 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 22

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Feast of Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway (April 20)   1 comment

Above:  The Coat of Arms of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg

Image in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN X OF DENMARK (SEPTEMBER 26, 1870-APRIL 20, 1947)

King of Denmark and Iceland

Born Christian Carl Frederik Albert Alexander Vilhelm Glucksburg

brother of

HAAKON VII OF NORWAY (AUGUST 3, 1872-SEPTEMBER 21, 1957)

King of Norway

Born Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel Glucksburg

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RESISTERS OF NAZISM

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Christian X and Haakon VII led their populations in opposing Nazi occupation.

In 1863 the Danish throne passed to the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.  The new monarch, Christian IX (reigned 1863-1906), eventually became the “Father-in-Law of Europe,” rivaling Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901) for the number of royal relatives.  Christian IX’s adolescent son, Frederick, became the Crown Prince of Denmark and, as an elderly man, King Frederick VIII (reigned 1906-1912).

The future Frederick VIII and his wife, Louise of Sweden (1851-1926), daughter of King Carl XV (reigned 1859-1872) and Queen Louise of Sweden, raised eight children, including two kings.  Frederick was a loving father, but his wife was, according to her nieces and nephews, the “Despot.”  Louise was a humorless and Pietistic Lutheran (a “Sad Dane”) obsessed with sin.  Her definition of sin included sleeping on a soft mattress and eating food that was not plain.  On the other hand, Louise taught her children a Bible verse every day and instructed them in memorizing hymns.  The children suffered under the “Despot,” who transformed the future Christian X into a distant, tyrannical father.

Both future kings received military training and served as officers.  According to their father’s insistence, they did not receive any special treatment.  Christian joined the army and rose to the rank of Major General before succeeding his father in 1912.  Carl became a navy man, starting as a cadet at the age of 14 years.

The future kings entered into wedded life.  Carl married Maud, daughter of the future King Edward VII of Great Britain and Ireland (reigned 1901-1910) and Queen Alexandra (daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Louise of Hesse-Cassel) at Buckingham Palace, London, on September 22, 1896.  Maud gave birth to a son, Alexander (1903-1991).  Christian married Princess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwein at Cannes, France, on April 26, 1898.  Their sons were Frederick (1899-1972) and Knud (1900-1976).

Norway regained its independence in 1905.  The Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had become united via a series of royal unions, culminating in the formation of the Kalmar Union (1397-1523).  The last Norwegian-born King of Norway had been Olav IV (reigned 1380-1387), who had previously become the King of Denmark.  Sweden had broken away from the Scandinavian monarchical union in 1523, leaving Norway united with Denmark.  Then, after the Napoleonic Wars, Norway had become attached to Sweden.  In 1905, with the restoration of Norwegian independence, sought a monarch.  Prince Carl of Denmark accepted the invitation.  He became Haakon VII and his son, Alexander, became Crown Prince Olav.  Haakon VII was a conscientious monarch in perhaps the most democratic–even democratic socialist–society in Europe.  The King, interested in public and cultural life, never even tried to interfere with government ministers.  The royal family, true to the upbringing of the monarch, lived simply.

Crown Prince Christian became King Christian X in 1912.  He was also a constitutional monarch, although the constitution, as it existed in 1920, permitted him some powers.  In 1920, between parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Theodore Carl Zahle, in office since 1913, lost his majority in the Riksdag.  The monarch invoked his constitutional powers to ask Zahle to resign.  The Prime Minister refused, so Christian X dismissed him.  These actions, allegedly a royal coup, according to certain critics, were within constitutional bounds.  Many Radicals and Socialists threatened a general strike.  Some even spoke briefly of abolishing the monarchy and transforming Denmark into a republic.  The Easter Crisis of 1920 ended in compromise; a caretaker government took office and new elections ensued.  Never again did Christian X intervene in government.

Christian X’s attitude toward his family began to soften in the 1930s.  His daughter-in-law, Crown Prince Ingrid (originally of Sweden), did not shy away from standing up to him.  Many liked and respected her and improved his relationship with her and his sons.  Related to that mellowing was the changing nature of Christian X’s relationship to the people.  He started riding a horse without police escort through Copenhagen every morning.

Germany invaded Denmark in 1940.  Christian X continued to ride a horse through the capital city, with the public as his body guards, until a horse threw him on October 19, 1942.  He spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair and made few public appearances.

A frequently repeated story tells us that Christian X wore the Star of David, in solidarity with Danish Jews.  However, John Van der Kiste, author of Northern Crowns:  The Kings of Modern Scandinavia (1996) and other books about royalty, cites Queen Margrethe II, granddaughter of Christian X, in refuting the story.  Van der Kiste writes that the Nazi occupiers never required Danish Jews to wear the Star of David.  According to Queen Margrethe II, via Van der Kiste, the origin of that popular story was an errand boy in Copenhagen.  This errand boy seems to have remarked,

…if they try to enforce the yellow star here, the King will be first to wear it.

–Page 116

He would have, indeed.

Christian X, King of Denmark from 1912 to 1947 and King of Iceland from 1918 to 1944, died, aged 76 years, on April 20, 1947.  Crown Prince Frederick became King Frederick IX (reigned 1947-1972).

Haakon VII led the Norwegian government-in-exile from England from 1940 to 1944.  He and Crown Prince Olav fled to the homeland of the late Queen Maud (died in 1938) when Nazi forces invaded Norway in 1940.  Crown Princess Martha and her children, in Stockholm at the time, accepted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s invitation to come to the United States.  In Norway the monogram “H7” became the symbol of the resistance.  In 1945, when the royal family returned to Norway, Haakon VII was a national hero.

The aged monarch soldiered on for about a decade before a fall in his bathroom broke his thighbone and made him an invalid.  He died of heart failure at 4:35 a.m., on September 21, 1957.  Haakon VII was 85 years old.  Crown Prince Olav became King Olav V (reigned 1957-1991).

Christian X and Haakon VII were decent and honorable men who opposed tyranny.  They, as constitutional monarchs, were symbols–symbols who grasped the full power of symbolism and used it for positive purposes.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES RENATUS VERBEEK, MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF PETER RICKSECKER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; STUDENT OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN BECHLER, MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; FATHER OF JULIUS THEODORE BECHLER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior 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

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

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