Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1990s’ Category

Feast of W. Sibley Towner (January 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Image Source = Google Earth

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W. SIBLEY TOWNER (JANUARY 10, 1933-MAY 23, 2018)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

W. Sibley Towner comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Ecclesiastes in Volume V (2000).

Towner was a gentleman and a scholar.  He, born to Wayne A. and Frances S. Towner, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on January 10, 1933, studied at Yale University.  Our saint earned his B.A., B.D., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.  He was also a Fulbright Scholar at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.  Our saint became a Presbyterian (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., not the Presbyterian Church in the United States) missionary in Lebanon.  For three years he taught secondary school at the Gerard Institute, in 1954-1957.  While in Lebanon, Towner met Jane Ann Miller.  They married in Beirut in 1956.

Towner, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1960, taught Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary through 1976.  In 1976 our saint became The Reverend Archibald McFayden Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, across the street from each other in Richmond, Virginia.  [Note:  The two institutions federated as Union-PSCE in 1997 and became Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2009.]  Towner, known as “Sib,” was a respected and admired member of the faculty.  His sense of humor, his penchant for writing limericks, and the twinkle in his eyes set people at ease.  Towner also wrote columns, articles, and Biblical commentaries.  Our saint, who retired in 2002, remained active in seminary life until Parkinson’s Disease forced him to stop.

One can acquire Towner’s book-length commentaries on Genesis and Daniel, Volume V of The New Interpreter’s Bible, and Prayers that Sing and Stir the Heart (2018).

Towner, aged 85 years, died in Kilmarnock, Virginia, on May 23, 2018.

He must have been a wonderful man to know, under whom to study, and with whom to work.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [W. Sibley Towner and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Gene M. Tucker (January 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cannon Chapel, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Image in the Public Domain

(I spent some quality time at Cannon Chapel during my youth.)

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GENE MILTON TUCKER (JANUARY 8, 1935-JANUARY 4, 2018)

United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

Gene M. Tucker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Isaiah 1-39 for Volume VI (2001) of the set.  (Tucker accepted the scholarly consensus that there were three Isaiahs.)

Tucker, from Texas, became a minister and a scholar.   Our saint, a son of Raymond H. Tucker and Lorene Tucker, debuted in Albany, Texas, on January 8, 1935.  He grew up in West Texas and became an avid outdoorsman as a youth.  Throughout his youth, Tucker remained an outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing.  Our saint, who graduated from McMurry College, Abilene, Texas, in 1957, was on course to become a minister and a Biblical scholar when he married Charlyne “Charky” Williams that year.  Tucker earned his B.D. (1960), M.A. (1961), and Ph.D. (1963) at Yale Divinity School.  He, ordained in The Methodist Church (The United Methodist Church since April 23, 1968), commenced on his academic career.  Tucker’s first position was at the Graduate School of Religion, the University of Southern California, from 1963 to 1966.  In 1966-1970 Tucker taught at Duke Divinity School.  While there, he served as the President of the Council on Human Relations, a civil rights organization, in Durham, North Carolina.

From 1970 to 1995, Tucker taught at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  He edited scholarly works, cowrote a commentary on Joshua (1974), wrote Form Criticism of the Old Testament (1971), and contributed to Preaching the New Common Lectionary (1984-1987) and Preaching Through the Christian Year (1992).  Furthermore, our saint served on the translation committee of the New Revised Standard Version (1989) of the Bible.  Tucker also taught Sunday School at Briarwood United Methodist Church, Atlanta, for a quarter of a century.

The Tuckers retired to Denver, Colorado, in 1995, to be close to their children.  Our saint taught in Australia for a time, focused on theological-ecological concerns, continued to enjoy the outdoors, and wrote a commentary on Genesis (2001).  He donated his academic library to the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Puerto Rico in 1911.

Tucker, aged 82 years, died in Denver on January 4, 2018.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Gene M. Tucker and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of D. Elton Trueblood (December 20)   2 comments

Above:  Sign, Earlham School of Religion

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID ELTON TRUEBLOOD (DECEMBER 12, 1900-DECEMBER 20, 1994)

U.S. Quaker Theologian

D. Elton Trueblood, U.S. theologian and academic, comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

The words “liberal,” “moderate,” and “conservative” are inherently relative; they have no fixed meaning for all circumstances, times, and places.  The record of Trueblood’s life reveals that all three applied to him.  Sui generis describes him well.

Trueblood came from Midwestern Quaker stock.  He, born on a farm near Indianola, Iowa, on December 12, 1900, was a son of Effie and Samuel Trueblood.  Our saint studied at William Penn College, Oskaloosa, Iowa (Class of 1922), then at Brown University and Hartford Theological Seminary before graduating from Harvard University with his Bachelor of Systematic Theology degree in 1926.  Eight years later, he graduated from The Johns Hopkins University, with his doctorate in philosophy.

Trueblood spent most of his life on college and university campuses, mainly Quaker ones.  He taught at Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, before joining the faculty of Haverford College, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During the summer of 1935, Trueblood served as the acting chaplain at Harvard University.  This experience led him to become chaplain at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, in 1936.  Trueblood was chaplain there for nine years.  While living in Palo Alto, he worshiped with former President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) and former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover (1874-1944).  His friendship with them deepened, and he presided at their funerals.

Trueblood, preferring smaller professor-to-student ratios, moved to Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, in 1945.  There he remained for most of the rest of his life.  Our saint helped to open the seminary, the Earlham School of Religion, in 1960.  After he retired in 1966, Trueblood became Professor-at-Large.  He remained active in college life.

Trueblood married twice.  He married Pauline Goodenow in 1924.  The couple had four children–three sons and one daughter–from 1925 5o 1941.  Pauline died of a brain tumor in 1955.  Our saint married Virginia Hodgin, a widow with two children, in September 1956.  She became his partner in life and in publishing.  (He wrote 33 books.)  Virginia died in 1984.

Trueblood, who emphatically never identified with the Religious Right, made his objections to that variety of Christianity plain.  He was also critical of much of the Religious Left.  Trueblood opposed both “churchianity” and “vague religiosity.”  He, who helped to form the World Council of Churches in 1948, was an internationalist.  He was not, however, a strict pacifist; he concluded that some wars were necessary, especially in the context of the Cold War.  The sole foundation of a humane social order, Trueblood argued, was a reinvigorated faith.  He also supported civil rights for African Americans and members of other minorities.  Our saint, who drafted Thanksgiving Day proclamations for several presidents of both major parties, served as the Chief of Religious Policy at the United States Information Agency during the Eisenhower Administration and advised the Eisenhower Administration regarding religious matters.  Trueblood also founded the Yokefellow movement, which engaged in prison ministry and established halfway houses.

In 1988 Trueblood moved to Meadowood, a retirement community in Norristown, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to be closer to his family.  He died in Worcester Township, Pennsylvania, on December 20, 1994.  He was 94 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONIO MARY ZACCARIA, FOUNDER OF THE BARNABITES AND THE ANGELIC SISTERS OF SAINT PAUL

THE FEAST OF GEORGES BERNANOS, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF HULDA NIEBUHR, CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR; HER BROTHERS, H. RICHARD NIEBUHR AND REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIANS; AND URSULA NIEBUHR, EPISCOPAL THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH BOISSEL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND MARTYR IN LAOS, 1969

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O God, you 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 those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Pierson Parker (December 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of The Episcopal Church

Image in the Public Domain

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PIERSON PARKER (MARCH 27, 1905-DECEMBER 13, 1995)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Episcopal Priest, and Biblical Scholar

Pierson Parker comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume II (1953), for which he co-wrote the exposition on Deuteronomy.

Parker, born to Alvin Pierson and Susie Estelle Williams (Pierson) in Shanghai, China, on March 27, 1905, became a Congregationalist minister then an Episcopal priest.  He, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (1921), and the Pacific School of Religion, Berkley (M.A., 1933; Th.D., 1934), served as the pastor of North Berkeley Congregational Church (now Grace North Church, United Church of Christ and National Association of Congregational Christian Churches), from 1936 to 1944.  He doubled as the President of the Northern California Congregational Conference in 1938 and 1939, and as a member of the faculty of the Pacific School of Religion, starting in 1940.  Pierson taught Biblical literature.

Pierson’s spiritual home was The Episcopal Church, though.  He, ordained a priest in 1944, served as the Rector of St. Andrew’s Church, Oakland (1944-1947), while working as an assistant professor at the Pacific School of Religion.  He was an associate professor from 1947 to 1949.  Then Pierson was Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the General Theological Seminary, New York, New York, from 1949 to 1974.  During this period he taught occasionally at the School of Theology of The University of the South (1951-1974, on and off), was a visiting professor at various universities and seminaries, and was briefly a parish priest in Nice, France (1962), and Istanbul, Turkey (1969).  Pierson also served at Trinity Cathedral, Newark, New Jersey (1953-1954).

Pierson married Mildred Ruth Sorg on June 12, 1933.  The couple had one son, Peter.

Pierson, author of books and scholarly articles, as well as a translator of Today’s English Version of the Bible (1976), offered the following conclusions, among others, regarding the New Testament:

  1. St. Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark.
  2. St. John the Apostle did not and could not have written the Gospel of John.
  3. Q (Quelle) was real.  It was one source for the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
  4. A proto-Matthew was another source for the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

Pierson was a priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles from 1974 to 1995.  He served as the chaplain to seminarians (1974-1983), the Canon of the Cathedral of St. Paul (1977-1981), and a priest at St. Ambrose’s Church in Claremont (1990-1995).

Pierson, aged 90 years, died on December 13, 1995.  He served God until the end.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN AND ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCHS; AND SAINTS AGATHO, LEO II, AND BENEDICT II, BISHOPS OF ROME; DEFENDERS OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ORTHODOXY

THE FEAST OF CHARLES ALBERT DICKINSON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF IMMANUEL NITSCHMANN, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICIAN; HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, JACOB VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS SON, WILLIAM HENRY VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP; HIS BROTHER, CARL ANTON VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS DAUGHTER, LISETTE (LIZETTE) MARIA VAN VLECK MEINUNG; AND HER SISTER, AMELIA ADELAIDE VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Parker Pierson and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Olivier Messiaen, Claire Delbos, and Yvonne Loriod (December 9)   1 comment

Above:  Olivier Messiaen

Image in the Public Domain

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OLIVIER-EUGÉNE-PROSPER-CHARLES MESSIAEN (DECEMBER 10, 1908-APRIL 27, 1992)

French Roman Catholic Organist, Composer, and Ornithologist

husband of

LOUISE JAMESON DELBOS (NOVEMBER 6, 1906-APRIL 22, 1959)

French Roman Catholic Violinist and Composer

and

YVONNE LORIOD (JANUARY 20, 1924-MAY 17, 2010)

French Roman Catholic Pianist and Composer

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Olivier Messaien, who stretched the limits of Western classical music, composed as an expression of his faith.  He also had two life partners–one wife then another one–who performed and composed music.  This post, conceived as being just about Messiaen, encompasses his wives, too, for the sake of honesty.  After all, one of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.

Olivier Messiaen, raised in a Roman Catholic family, remained devout throughout his life.  Our saint, born in Avignon, France, on December 10, 1908, was a son of literary parents.  Pierre Messiaen, who translated Shakespearean plays into French, taught English.  Cécile Sauvage (Messiaen) (d. 1927) was a poet.  In 1914, when Olivier was very young, Pierre enlisted in the French Army.  Cécile moved the family to Grenoble, where her brother resided.  Our saint studied music avidly as a child; he requested musical scores for Christmas.  The musical education continued in Paris after the war.  Pierre began to teach in the capital city, and the 11-year-old Olivier matriculated at the Conservatory of Paris.

Messiaen studied at the Conservatory of Paris for more than a decade.  He was a fine student, one who won prizes.  While at the Conservatory, our saint studied under luminaries including Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937), Marcel Dupré (1886-1971), and Paul Dukas (1865-1935).  Messiaen also published his first compositions during this period.  From 1929 to 1931 our saint substituted for the ailing Charles Quef (1873-1931), organist at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Paris.  After Quef died, Messiaen succeeded him, hold that position for 61 years.

Above:  Claire Delbos and Olivier Messiaen

Image in the Public Domain

Messiaen met his first wife at the Conservatory of Paris.  Claire Delbos, born in Paris on November 6, 1906, was a daughter of Victor Delbos, a professor at the Sorbonne.  She studied music at the Schola Cantorum, Paris, then at the Conservatory of Paris.  The violin was Claire’s instrument.  The couple married on June 22, 1933.  His wedding present for her was Themes and Variations, a work for violin and piano.  They premiered the work that November.  Each spouse subsequently composed music for the other to perform.  In 1937, after Claire had suffered miscarriages, the Messiaens had a son, Pascal.

Messiaen, drafted into the French Army at the beginning of World War II in Europe, became a prisoner of war in the middle of 1940.  He was a prisoner at Stalag VIII-A, Gorlitz.  At Gorlitz, despite the difficult conditions, he composed Quartet for the End of Time, debuted at the stalag.

Messiaen, released in 1941, became a professor at the Conservatory of Paris that year.  There he remained until 1978, when he retired.  His first marriage ended sadly.  Claire, whose memory began to fail late in the war, died in an institution on April 22, 1959.  She left a musical legacy worth learning–songs, works for the organ, a setting of Psalm 141–in both both secular and religious realms.  Messiaen married Yvonne Loriod (b. January 20, 1924), also a professor at the Conservatory of Paris, in 1961.  She, an elite concert pianist, debuted most of his works for piano, starting in the 1940s.  Her compositions included works for orchestras, voices, chamber orchestras, the piano, and the flute.

Messiaen developed an interest in composing music based on the songs of birds.  This theme was present in much of his music for decades.  When he could travel to hear exotic birds, he did so, and delighted to hear those bird songs then compose.

Messiaen’s compositions (sacred and secular) included an opera (St. Francis of Assisi), orchestral works, choral music, vocal works, chamber music, organ works, piano music, and electronic works.

Messiaen, aged 85 years, died in Clichy, France, on April 27, 1992.

Loriod, aged 86 years, died in Saint-Denis, France, on May 17, 2010.

The music remains available, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WASHINGTON GLADDEN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF FERDINAND QUINCY BLANCHARD, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRY MONTAGU BUTLER, EDUCATOR, SCHOLAR, AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JACQUES FERMIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST

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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 Olivier Messiaen, Claire Delbos, Yvonne Loriod,

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), 728

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Feast of Sophie Koulomzin (December 3)   2 comments

Above:  Russian Orthodox Cross

Image in the Public Domain

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SOPHIE SCHIDLOVSKY KOULOMZIN (DECEMBER 3, 1903-SEPTEMBER 29, 2000)

Russian-American Orthodox Christian Educator

Sophie Koulomzin served God most effectively in Christian education.

Our saint, born Sophie Schidlovsky in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire, on December 3, 1903, knew the life of a Russian elite and the life of struggling émigré.  Her father, Sergei Schidlovsky, was the last vice president of the old Duma.  The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 forced the family to flee, ultimately to Paris.  Sophie studied (on scholarships) at the University of Berlin then at Columbia University, New York, New York, from which she earned her M.A. in Religious Education in 1926.  She became the first woman from the Eastern Orthodox tradition to earn that degree there.

Our saint, back in Paris, put her degree to work.  She taught émigré children and edited My First Book about the Orthodox Faith and My Second Book about the Orthodox Faith.  She also worked with St. Maria Skobtsova (1891-1945), a nun who sheltered Jews during the German occupation and died for doing so.

Sophie Schidlovsky became Sophie Koulomzin in 1932, when she married engineer Nikita Koulomzin.  The couple had three daughters and one nun.

The family resided in the United States, starting in 1949, when they settled in Nyack, New York.  Sophie taught in her parish and joined the Metropolitan Council Church School Committee.  She encouraged Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States to cooperate and to conduct Christian education of the young in English–to leave the Old World psychologically and emotionally.  In 1957 she helped to create the ecumenical Orthodox Christian Education Commission, in which she was prominent.

NOTE:  I have read histories of immigrant, minority denominations–Lutheran and Reformed, mainly–in the United States.  Regardless of the denomination, some patterns have been consistent.  The denominations have, most strongly at first, functioned as means of preserving a culture and handing it down from one generation to the next.  This has restricted the appeal of the denomination to a particular ethnicity for a long time.  Meanwhile, cultural and linguistic transitions have occurred as the first-generation immigrants have died and the generations born in the United States have begun to assimilate.  This transition has been psychologically difficult for many of those who left the Old World only physically.  During these long transitions these immigrant denominations have lost many younger, culturally-assimilated members.  As English has become the dominant or only language in a particular denomination, mergers have occurred.

I have a mixed opinion about this.  I do not consider myself ethnic; I descend mainly from Anglo-Saxons who moved to North America in the 1600s.  I have a sprinkling of other cultures–French (Huguenot, to be precise), German, and Cherokee, for example–in my family tree.  Furthermore, people stop me occasionally and ask if I am Greek or Italian.  As I was writing, I do not consider myself ethnic, especially in the United States.  However, I like many of the old Danish and Swedish Lutheran hymns that have fallen out of favor with Lutheran hymnal committees since cultural assimilation and denominational mergers.  Different cultures add to the collective life of the United States; variety is indeed the spice of life.  Members of different cultures can learn much from each other.

Koulomzin taught future priests and bishops at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, New York, form 1956 to 1970, when she retired.  The seminary awarded her an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree as she entered retirement.

In the 1990s our saint was active in efforts related to the Christian education of children in the former Soviet Union, as the Russian Orthodox Church emerged from decades of persecution.  Patriarch of Moscow Alexis II awarded her the Order of Saint Olga in 1999.

Koulomzin, a member of what became the Orthodox Church in America in 1970, lived to the age of 96 years.  She died on September 29, 2000.

Christian education is one of the elements of parish life that many adherents take lightly, unfortunately.  The life and work of Sophie Koulomzin should remind us of the importance of Christian education–certainly, for children, but also for adults.

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Loving God, in whom we find the path to salvation and shalom,

we thank you for the life and work of Sophie Koulomzin in Christian education.

May we take Christian education seriously, deepen our faith, and lead others on the right paths,

for your glory and the common good.  In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Nehemiah 8:1-12

Psalm 119:105-112

Acts 8:26-40

Matthew 13:1-17

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 7:  THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF JOHN JOHNS, PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH GOTTLOB GUTTER, GERMAN-AMERICAN INSTRUMENT MAKER, REPAIRMAN, AND MERCHANT

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETAS OF REMESIANA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILHELM HEINRICH WAUER, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN

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Feast of John Tavener (November 12)   2 comments

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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SIR JOHN KENNETH TAVENER (JANUARY 28, 1944-NOVEMBER 12, 2013)

English Presbyterian then Orthodox Composer

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Suffering is a kind of ecstasy in a way.  Having pain all the time makes me grateful for every moment I’ve got.

–Sir John Tavener

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John Tavener composed beautiful music that still enriches the lives of many people.

Tavener, born in Wembley, England, on January 28, 1944, grew up a Presbyterian and studied music from an early age.  His father was an organist at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Frognal, Hampstead.  Our saint studied music and began to compose at Highgate School, London, where he also sang in the choir at classical concerts.  Tavener became a fine pianist.  He began to study at the Royal Academy of Music in 1962.  There our saint decided to focus on composition.  Tavener also served as the organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Kensington, from 1961 to 1975.

Tavener was a prominent composer, starting in 1968.  That year he debuted a cantata, The Whale, based on the Book of Jonah.  He composed A Celtic Requiem the following year.  Tavener, who began to teach at the Trinity College of Music, London, in 1971, composed an opera, Thérèse (1973), about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and a chamber opera, A Gentle Spirit (1977).

Tavener was no stranger to health problems and spiritual crises.  His brief marriage to dancer Victoria Maragopoulou in 1974 haunted him.  Health problems included a stroke in 1979, Marfan Syndrome (diagnosed in 1990), and a heart attack in 2007.  Tavener was acutely aware of his mortality.  In 1977 he converted to Russian Orthodoxy, the faith he practiced for the rest of his life.

The Russian Orthodox Church and literary works were the primary influences in Tavener’s music, starting in 1977.  Major compositions included The Lamb (1982; a setting of a poem by William Blake), Ikon of Light (1984), The Protecting Veil (1989), We Shall See Him as He Is (1990), Song for Athene (1993), Eternity’s Sunrise (1997), and Prayer of the Heart (2000; for Icelandic singer Bjork).  When Tavener began to set texts from non-Christian traditions to music, many people suspected he had become an apostate.  Tavener, who remained an Orthodox Christian, was expanding his artistic range.

Tavener, knighted in 2000, died in Child Okeford, England, on November 12, 2013.  He was 69 years old.  Maryanne Schaeffer (his wife since 1991) and three children survived him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NICHOLAS FERRAR, ANGLICAN DEACON AND FOUNDER OF LITTLE GIDDING; GEORGE HERBERT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND METAPHYSICAL POET; AND ALL SAINTLY PARISH PRIESTS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANNE LINE AND ROGER FILCOCK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GABRIEL POSSENTI, PENITENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUIS DE LEON, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN

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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 John Tavener 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), 728

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