Archive for the ‘September 11-20’ Category

Feast of John Coleridge Patteson and His Companions (September 20)   1 comment

Above:  Map of New Zealand and Melanesia, 1958

Image Scanned and Cropped from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1958)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JOHN COLERDIGE PATTESON (APRIL 1, 1827-SEPTEMBER 20, 1871)

Anglican Bishop of Melanesia, and Martyr, 1871

worked with

JOSEPH ATKIN (DIED SEPTEMBER 27, 1871)

Anglican Priest, and Martyr, 1871

worked with

STEPHEN TARONIARA (CIRCA 1845-SEPTEMBER 20, 1871)

Anglican Missionary and Martyr, 1871

John Coleridge Patteson, born into a wealthy family in London on April 1, 1827, could have led a comfortable life.  He, educated at Eton and at Oxford University, mastered the Hebrew and Arabic languages.  Our saint, ordained to the Anglican diaconate in 1853 and priesthood the following year,chose to become a missionary to Melanesia.

George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878) was the Anglican Bishop of New Zealand (1841-1858) then Primate of New Zealand (1858-1868).  He was one of the great missionary bishops in the Anglican Communion.  Patteson arrived in New Zealand and began to work under Selwyn’s jurisdiction in 1855.  Two years later he became the leader of the Melanesian Mission.  Then, on February 24, 1861, Selwyn consecrated Patteson the first Bishop of Melanesia.

Selwyn had created a particular missionary system, which Patteson inherited.  Young men and women from Pacific islands studied at St. John’s School, the Melanesian Mission’s institution in Auckland, New Zealand, for the summer then returned home.  The hope was that they would provide Christian influence in their communities.  Experience proved that it was an ineffective strategy.  As Patteson insisted, missionary work in indigenous languages was necessary.

Above:  Map Showing the Solomon Islands

Stephen Taroniara, born circa 1845, was a native of Makira/San Cristobal, in the Solomon Islands.  In the middle 1850s Selwyn had taken him to St. John’s School, Auckland, numerous summers, encountering Patteson.  Back home on Makira/San Cristobal, Taroniara had married one Sumarua, with whom he had a child, Paraiteku.  When our saint retured to Auckland in 1864, he had to do so without his family, for his wife’s relatives refused to permit her to travel to Auckland.

Above:  Map Showing Norfolk Island

Meanwhile, Patterson was establishing new schools, to share the Gospel with Melanesians.  One of these institutions was on Norfolk Island, starting in 1867.  He sought to educate Melanesian men as priests, with the ultimate goal of having Melanesian bishops.  Taroniara, baptized on July 19, 1868, and confirmed on Easter Day 1869, became the first native of the Solomon Islands to receive the Anglican Eucharist.  He, having lost both his child and first wife, due to his in-laws giving his first wife in marriage to another man, had relocated to Norfolk Island with his second wife, Tori (from Sa’a) and her daughter, Rosa.  At Norfolk Island Taroniara studied for the priesthood, and was due for ordination in late 1871.

Missionaries have frequently defended indigenous people from those with powerful economic incentives to exploit their fellow human beings.  In the middle 1700s, for example, Jesuits in South America risked their lives to protect Indians from slavers.  Many Jesuits died while doing so.  In Melanesia, in the middle and late 1800s, many missionaries put their lives at risk to protect natives from entrepreneurs in Fiji and Australia seeking indentured servants to exploit.  Some of these unscrupulous businessmen used the names of missionaries to lure victims.

On August 25, 1871, Patterson, Taroniara, and a priest, Joseph Atkin, left for a missionary tour.  Atkin, from New Zealand, had been a member of the Melanesian Mission since 1863 and both a priest and a missionary to Makira/San Cristobal since 1869.  The traveling companions were visiting the island of Nakapu (in the Santa Cruz group in the Solomon Islands, when natives attacked them, apparently in retribution for actions of those seeking indentured servants.  Patteson and Taroniara died on September 20, 1871; Atkin died a week later.

The deaths of these missionaries led to constructive actions.  The British Government cracked down on the indentured servant trade.  Also, support for missionary work increased in England.

Also, the Melanesian Mission renamed its headquarters after Taroniara.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia became a province of the Anglican Communion in 1975.

The province, with indigenous leaders, spans Vanuatu (the former New Hebrides), the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia.  The denomination as nine dioceses.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 21, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BRUNO ZEMBOL, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1942

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CAMERIUS, CISELLUS, AND LUXORIUS OF SARDINIA, MARTYRS, 303

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF EDESSA, CIRCA 304

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN OF ANTIOCH, CIRCA 353; AND SAINTS BONOSUS AND MAXIMIANUS THE SOLDIER, MARTYRS, 362

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God of the southern isles and seas, we remember with thanksgiving your servant John Patteson,

whose life was taken by those for whom he would freely have given it;

grant us the same courage in extending your gospel and readiness to share our life with others,

for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.  Amen.

or

God of the resurrection, blessed are you in John, first bishop to the Melanesians;

for by his willing sacrifice you revealed the people’s cruel suffering,

and their right to hear the Gospel.  Amen.

Hosea 11:1-4

Psalm 16 or 116:1-9

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

Mark 8:31-35

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you called your faithful servant John Coleridge Patteson

and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia,

and by their labors and sufferings raised up a people for your own possession:

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land,

that by the service and sacrifice of many,

your holy Name may be glorified and your kingdom enlarged;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 22:1-4

Psalm 118:49-56

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 595

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements

Feast of Henri Nouwen (September 20)   1 comment

Above:  Icon of Henri Nouwen

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

HENRI JOSZEF MACHIEL NOUWEN (JANUARY 24, 1932-SEPTEMBER 21, 1996)

Dutch Roman Catholic Priest and Spiritual Writer

+++++++++++++++++++++++

We have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.

–Henri Nouwen

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Robert Ellsberg lists Henri Nouwen as the saint for September 20 in All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).  The date of September 20 works well for Nouwen on this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, for I reserve September 21 for St. Matthew the Apostle.

Much of contemporary spiritual writing has a reputation for shallowness.  This is fair because it is frequently accurate.  This generalization does not apply to the 39 books by Henri Nouwen, however.  I think in particular of The Way of the Heart, with its interpretation of the temptations of Jesus and application of those temptations to contemporary ministry.

Nouwen, born in Nijkerk, The Netherlands, on January 24, 1932, became one of the most influential and popular spiritual writers of the twentieth century.  He discerned his priestly vocation at an early age.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Utrecht in 1957, studied psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegan from 1957 to 1964.  Next he studied at the Menninger Clinic, in the United States, in 1964-1966, and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

Nouwen was an academic.  He taught at the University of Notre Dame (1966-1968), the Catholic Theological University of Utrecht (1968-1970), and Yale University School (1971-1981).  After spending six months in Bolivia and Peru in 1982-1983, our saint taught at Harvard Divinity School (1983-1985).  Nouwen was spiritually restless, seeking his proper place.  His moves from one teaching position to another indicated this restlessness.

Nouwen also experienced great stress.  He was, by all accounts, a priest who lived according to his wows, including celibacy.  He also had the needs for physical and emotional intimacy all people have.  Our saint struggled with those issues as well as his homosexuality, which he kept secret.  One biographer has suggested that Nouwen made peace with himself toward the end of his life.

Nouwen made a truly disturbing discovery about himself:  In the Parable of the Prodigal Son (perhaps not the best name for the parable, but the traditional one), he was most like the resentful older brother.  This was a spiritual condition he could change, and did address.

Nouwen spent 1986-1996 as the pastor at the Daybreak Community in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The community specialized in serving severely handicapped people.  In addition to his pastoral duties Nouwen was caregiver to Adam, a young man who could do nothing for himself–not even speak or feed himself.  In taking care of Adam our saint learned the meaning of being beloved by God.

Nouwen died of a heart attack on September 21, 1996, when he was in Hilversum, The Netherlands.  He was 64 years old.  He left a fine published legacy, which continues to benefit many people spiritually.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you gave to your servant Henri Nouwen

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you,

the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent;

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

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 721

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Edward Bouverie Pusey (September 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Edward Bouverie Pusey

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

EDWARD BOUVERIE PUSEY (AUGUST 22, 1800-SEPTEMBER 16, 1882)

Anglican Priest

Feast day in The Church of England = September 16

Feast day in The Episcopal Church = September 18

Edward Bouverie Pusey, born into a wealthy family, spent most of his adult life at Oxford University.  He, from 1841 the leader of the Oxford Movement, was a priest more influential in the Anglican Communion than most bishops were.

Pusey, born near Oxford on August 22, 1800, took naturally to university life.  He, educated at Eton then Christ Church, Oxford University, became a Fellow of Oriel College in 1824.  He spent 1825-1827, studying in Berlin and Göttingen, where he met leading German Biblical scholars and critics, as well as studying Semitic languages in Germany and at Oxford.  In 1828 and 1830 Pusey published An Historical Enquiry into the Probable Causes of the Rationalist Character Lately Predominant in the Theology of Germany (two parts), a work critical (in the academic sense of that word) of German Rationalistic theology.  He linked it to spiritually dead Protestant orthodoxy.  When certain people mistook the work for a defense of German Rationalistic theology, he withdrew the Historical Enquiry.  Also in 1828, Pusey married Maria Catherine Barker (1801-1839).  The couple had four children.  Our saint, ordained to the diaconate then to the priesthood of The Church of England, accepted appointment as the Regius Professor of Hebrew and Canon, a position he held for the rest of his life.

At Oxford Pusey met John Keble (1792-1866) and John Henry Newman (1801-1890), leader of the Oxford Movement, also known as Tractarianism and Anglo-Catholicism.  The Roman Catholic revival within Anglicanism was controversial.  Some opponents, who thought that Holy Mother Church was the Whore of Babylon and the Pope was the Antichrist, went to the logical and predictable extreme of labeling the Oxford Movement nothing short of Satanic.  For decades priests bowing to altars, candles being present on the altar, and other practices were controversial.

The Tractarians, whom Pusey joined in 1833, took their name from the Tracts of the Times series.  Our saint wrote some of the Tracts, notably #18 on fasting on its spiritual benefits) in 1834 and #67 and #69 (on baptism) in 1836.  The Tractarians, consistent with their priority on classicism, published the Library of the Fathers series.  Pusey translated the first volume, the Confessions of St. Augustine of Hippo, in 1838.

Pusey became the leader of the Oxford Movement in 1841, as Newman moved toward his conversion to Roman Catholicism, in 1845.  Our saint became so identified with the Tractarian Movement that “Puseyite” became a synonym for Tractarian.  He remained within The Church of England, so many who would otherwise have followed Newman into the Roman Catholic Church chose not to cross the Tiber River.

Pusey donated generously to churches for the poor and founded a religious community to minister to impoverished people.  The Sisterhood of the Holy Cross, also known as the Park Village Community, founded in 1845, was the first Anglican religious community founded since the English Reformation.  In 1856 the Sisterhood of the Holy Cross merged into the Society of the Most High Trinity, founded by Priscilla Lydia Sellon (1821-1876) in 1849.

Pusey frequently found himself engaged in controversies.

  1. In 1843 his sermon before Oxford University entitled “The Holy Eucharist, a Comfort to the Penitent,” in which he favored Transubstantiation, led to his suspension from the Oxford pulpit for two years.
  2. Another sermon, “The Entire Absolution of the Penitent” (1846), was a defense of the proposition that The Church of England had the priestly power to absolve sins.  This was the beginning of private confession in Anglicanism, a practice still too Catholic for many Anglicans.
  3. In 1862 Pusey accused Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893), the Regius Professor of Greek of heresy.  Jowett, a Hegelian, had written “On the Interpretation of Scripture” for Essays and Reviews in 1860.  Pusey found Jowett’s conclusions theologically erroneous.  The Chancellor’s Court acquitted Jowett, who remained at Oxford and received promotions.
  4. In 1865 Pusey wrote that barriers to Anglican reunion with the Roman Catholic Church included purgatory, indulgences, and Marian devotion.  During the next few years Newman and Pusey engaged in a long-form, written debate, topics of which also included Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception.
  5. One of the controversies in The Church of England in the late 1800s was whether to remove the Athanasian Creed from Morning Prayer.  Pusey argued for retaining it.  Although that creed remained in the form for Morning Prayer in The Book of Common Prayer (1662), the practice of congregational recitation of that creed declined within Anglicanism.

Pusey, aged 82 years, died at Ascot Priory, Berkshire, of the Society of the Most Holy Trinity, on September 16, 1882.  He was a transformational figure and a positive influence within Anglicanism.

Pusey House, a religious institution at St. Giles, Oxford, constitutes a tangible part of our saint’s legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Grant, O God, that in all time of testing we may know your presence and obey your will;

that, following the example of your servant Edward Bouverie Pusey,

we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to bear;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Ezekiel 36:24-28

Psalm 106:1-5

1 Peter 2:19-23

Luke 3:10-14

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 591

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blessed Zygmunt Sajna (September 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Zygmunt Sajna

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED ZYGMUNT SAJNA (JANUARY 20, 1897-SEPTEMBER 17, 1940)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Zygmunt Sajna, born in the village of Zurawlowska (now in Poland) on January 20, 1897, became a priest in the Archdiocese of Warsaw.  He, having attended seminary in Warsaw, received ordination in 1924.  Our saint studied canon law at the Gregorian University, Rome, from 1924 to 1926, with some health-related interruptions.  (Sajna suffered from lung and heart diseases.)  After graduating in 1926 our saint returned to Poland, becoming the chaplain at the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, Szymanow.  Our saint served in several parishes in Warsaw from 1931 to 1938, then as the parish priest in Góra Kalwaria.

The invasion of Poland (September 1939), followed by the German and Soviet partition, caused much otherwise avoidable violence and martyrdom.  Sajna lived in the German zone.  He, arrested in December 1939, spent the rest of his life as a prisoner.  Our saint was initially under house arrest.  He, forbidden to act as a priest, declined to accept an opportunity to escape; he was dedicated to serving his flock.  In April 1940 authorities transferred Sajna to Warsaw.  In prison our saint always kept his rosary and breviary with him.  He also paid Masses and heard confessions.  Our saint, beaten and tortured, his front teeth knocked out, died as a victim of the Palmiry Massacre on September 17, 1940.  He was 43 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Sajna a Venerable and beatified him in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Zygmunt Sajna

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

and courage to die for this faith:

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 our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, 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), 713

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski (September 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT ZYGMUNT SZCESNY FELINSKI (NOVEMBER 1, 1822-SEPTEMBER 17, 1895)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw, Titular Bishop of Tarsus, and Founder of Recovery for the Poor and the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary

+++++++++++++++++++++

I am convinced that by keeping my heart uncontaminated, living in faith and in fraternal love towards my neighbor, I will not go off the path.  These are my only treasures and are without price.

–St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski

+++++++++++++++++++++

Polish nationalism was a defining feature of the life of St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski.  Poland did not exist as a nation-state, so Polish nationalism ran afoul of various governments.

Felinski was a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born in Voyutin (now Wojutyn, Ukraine) on November 1, 1822, was one of six children of Gerard Felinski and Eva Wendorff, proud Poles.  Gerard died when our saint was 11 years old.  Eva was active in efforts to improve farmers’ economic conditions as well as in the realm of Polish nationalism.  For her trouble she became an involuntary resident of Siberia in 1838.  St. Zygmunt had numerous reasons to distrust the Russian imperial government.

Felinski’s early adulthood was a time of education and nationalist activism.  He studied at the University of Moscow, specializing in mathematics, from 1840 to 1844.  Studies in French literature followed in Paris in 1877.  In the “City of Lights” he gathered with other Poles.  Our saint participated in the failed Polish uprising against the Prussian government at Poznán.  In 1848-1850 Felinski worked as the tutor to the Brozowski family in Munich and Paris.

The priesthood beckoned.  He studied for the priesthood in 1851-1855, first in Zytomierz (now Zhytomyr, Ukraine) then at St. Petersburg.  Our saint, ordained on September 8, 1855, served first in St. Petersburg.  He was the pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church, from 1855 to 1857.  He also founded a charitable organization, Recovery for the Poor, in 1856, then the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary the following year.  Felinski was also Professor of Philosophy at the Ecclesiastical Academy, as well as a spiritual advisor.

Felinski was the Archbishop of Warsaw from 1862 to 1883, politically treacherous times in that city.  When our saint arrived in January 1862, Warsaw was under siege by Russian forces, and all the churches were closed.  He reopened the churches in February 1862.  Felinski also reformed the seminary curriculum, founded an orphanage and parochial schools, and worked to free incarcerated priests.  Agents of the Russian government sought to undermine our saint; they claimed he was a spy.  After Russian forces brutally crushed the January Revolt of 1863, Felinski resigned from the Council of State in protest.  He also wrote to Czar Alexander II, requesting an end to the violence.  On June 14, 1883, Russian authorities deported our saint to Jaroslavl, Siberia.  He lived his vocation as a priest and a bishop as a partner.

Protracted negotiations between the Vatican and the Russian government paid off in 1883.  Felinski was a free man again.  On March 15 Pope Leo XIII assigned our saint to Galicia (in modern-day Turkey), as the Titular Bishop of Tarsus.  Felinski ministered to Polish and Ukrainian exiles, built a church, founded a parochial school, and started a convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary.

Felinski died in Krakow (then in Austria-Hungary; now in Poland) on September 17, 1895.  He was 72 years old.

The Church recognized Felinski’s sanctity.  Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 2001 then beatified him the following year.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized Felinski in 2009.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Saint Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski

to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 719

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg and Saint Hildegard of Bingen (September 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Hildegard of Bingen

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED JUTTA OF DISIBODENBERG (CIRCA 1084-DECEMBER 22, 1136)

Roman Catholic Abbess

Her feast transferred from December 22

mentor of

SAINT HILDEGARD OF BINGEN (1098-SEPTEMBER 17, 1179)

Roman Catholic Abbess, Mystic, Theologian, Poet, Playwright, and Composer

One of my goals in renovating this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, as I keep repeating, is to emphasize relationships and influences.  Therefore, I merge the feasts of St. Hildegard of Bingen (September 17) and her mentor, Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg (December 22).

Blessed Jutta, born circa 1084 in Spanheim, was a German noblewoman.  Her brother was Meganhard, the Count of Spanheim.  She became a hermitess on November 1, 1106.  Blessed Jutta lived near the Abbey of Saint Disibod, Disibodenberg.  She taught children and became the center of a female community before beginning to serve as the first abbess of the new convent at Disibodenberg in 1116.  One member of that community then convent was St. Hildegard, born in Böckelheim, near Spanheim, in 1098, and also of German nobility.  She, raised and educated at Disibodenberg, succeeded Blessed Jutta as abbess in 1136.  St. Hildegard held that post until 1147.  That year she and eighteen nuns founded a new, independent convent near Bingen.  She served as the abbess there for the rest of her life.

St. Hildegard was a mystic; she had been one since childhood.  From 1141 to 1150 she published accounts of 26 of her visions in Scivas (Know the Ways).  Our saint’s visions were consistent with theological orthodoxy, according to the Archbishop of Mainz, a group of theologians, and Pope Eugenius III.  After 1150 St. Hildegard continued to report and write about her visions.

St. Hildegard was a remarkable person, especially by the standards of her time and place.  In 1152-1162 she made preaching tours in the Rhineland.  She corresponded with monarchs and popes, wrote at least one drama, composed religious texts and music, and wrote treatises on science and medicine.  She was, by the standards of her time and place, unusually scientifically astute.  St. Hildegard, as a theologian, belonged to the school of Creation Spirituality.  The Church has recognized her as a Doctor of the Church, a title it bestows on few saints.  The only other women so honored were St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897).

Despite St. Hildegard’s respected status in the Church during her lifetime, she ran afoul of ecclesiastical authorities toward the end of her life.  She permitted the burial of an excommunicated man in the convent’s cemetery.  Then our saint disobeyed an order to disinter the corpse; the deceased had reconciled with God before he died, she said in her defense.  St. Hildegard’s defiance led to the Archbishop of Mainz placing the convent under an interdict, a penalty she protested.  Eventually the archbishop lifted the interdict.

St. Hildegard died a few months later, on September 17, 1179.

Pope John XXII beatified St. Hildegard in 1326.  She was informally “St. Hildegard” for centuries until Pope Benedict XVI made it official in 2012.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 19, 2018 COMMON ERA

PROPER 15:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIXTUS III, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF BLAISE PASCAL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCIENTIST, MATHEMATICIAN, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MAGNUS AND AGRICOLA OF AVIGNON, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF AVIGNON

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HAMMOND, ENGLISH MORAVIAN HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God of all times and seasons:

Give us grace that we, after the example of your servant Hildegard, a student of Jutta,

may both know and make known the joy and jubilation of being part of your creation,

and show forth your glory not only with our lips but in our lives;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 43:1-2, 6-7, 9-12, 27-28

Psalm 104:25-34

Colossians 3:14-17

John 3:16-21

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 589

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Sts. Cyprian of Carthage, Cornelius of Rome, Lucius I of Rome, and Stephen I of Rome (September 16)   5 comments

Above:  Carthage and Rome

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE (190/210-SEPTEMBER 14, 258)

Bishop of Carthage, and Martyr

Born Thascius Caecillianus Cyprianus

His feast day = September 16

Alternative feast days = August 31, September 15, September  26, and October 2

+++++++++++++

SAINT CORNELIUS OF ROME (DIED IN JUNE 253)

Bishop of Rome

His feast day = September 16

+++++++++++++

SAINT LUCIUS I OF ROME (DIED MARCH 5, 254)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from March 4

+++++++++++++

SAINT STEPHEN I OF ROME (DIED AUGUST 2, 257)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from August 2

+++++++++++++

Whoso stands aloof from the Church and is joined to an adulteress [a schismatic sect] is cut off from the promises given to the Church; and he that leaves the Church of Christ attains not to Christ’s rewards.  He is an alien, an outcast, an enemy.  He cannot have God for his father who has not the Church for his mother.

–St. Cyprian of Carthage, On the Unity of the Church; quoted in Henry Bettenson and Chris Mander, eds., Documents of the Christian Church, 3d. ed. (1998), 80

+++++++++++++

September 15 is the Feast of St. Cyprian of Carthage in The Episcopal Church.  The saint has more than one feast day, not one of them September 14, the anniversary of his death.  September 14 is, after all, the Feast of the Holy Cross.  Of all the feast days of St. Cyprian September 16 makes the most sense for my purposes as I continue to renovate my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days because (1) September 16 is the Feast of St. Cornelius of Rome, and (2) one cannot explain the lives of either St. Cyprian or St. Cornelius properly in isolation from each other.

Most persecution of Christianity in the Roman Empire was local and sporadic.  Sometimes, however, an emperor launched an empire-wide persecution.  Roman pagan orthodoxy, such as it was, mixed politics, religion, and civic duty.  The reasoning was that the empire would prosper as long as the gods allowed.  A civic duty, therefore, was to sacrifice to the gods on behalf of the empire.  Jews were exempt from this obligation, but had to pay a tax instead.  Gentiles who refused to make such a sacrifice were not fulfilling their civic duty, as the government defined it.  As Christianity grew, more and more Gentiles refused.  Was Christianity a threat to the future of the empire?  Were Christians threats to imperial security?

Above:  St. Cyprian of Carthage

Image in the Public Domain

St. Cyprian, born in Carthage between 190 and 210, was a pagan rhetorician until he converted to Christianity circa 246.  Within two years he had progressed from convert to deacon to priest then, in 248, to Bishop of Carthage, a post he held for the rest of his life, that is, until 258.  St. Cyprian was one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 250s.

The Emperor Decius (reigned 249-251), unlike his tolerant predecessor, Philip I (reigned 244-249), considered Christianity to be a threat to the future of the Roman Empire.  Decius forced St. Cyprian to flee Carthage; the bishop governed his diocese remotely.  St. Fabian, Bishop of Rome from 236 to 250, became a martyr.  A committee of clergymen, with Novatian (circa 200-258) as the spokesman, governed the Church for fourteen months.  In March 251, toward the end of the reign of Decius, a papal election was finally safe.  Novatian expected to win, but St. Cornelius did instead.

Above:  St. Cornelius of Rome

Image in the Public Domain

In 251, when St. Cyprian returned to Carthage, he had to contend with the question of how to deal with people who had committed apostasy by renouncing their Christian faith during the Decian persecution.  Some confessors were overly eager to readmit the lapsed on the grounds of the merits of the martyrs.  This displeased St. Cyprian, who insisted that apostates must perform penance in order for reconciliation to occur.  This penance, the Bishop of Carthage said, must be suitably long.  St. Cornelius agreed.  The policy would become the policy church-wide, the Bishop of Rome decreed.

Novatian disagreed.  In March 251, via a schismatic papal election, he established himself as a rival Bishop of Rome.  St. Cornelius excommunicated Novatian and his followers.  The Novatianist sect was ridiculously morally rigorous, teaching that there was no forgiveness for serious sins one committed after one’s baptism.  The schism persisted in Armenia and Mesopotamia until the 400s, and later elsewhere.

Sts. Cyprian and Cornelius did not always have friendly relations.  The Bishop of Carthage had initially been dubious about the election of St. Cornelius, but had quickly accepted it.  St. Cyprian even helped St. Cornelius to win the support of many Roman clergymen who might otherwise have supported Novatian.  In the summer of 252, however, St. Cornelius received envoys of Fortunatus, a bishop rival to St. Cyprian.  The Bishop of Rome did not side with Fortunatus, but St. Cyprian complained in writing about the meeting.

The next emperor was Gallus (reigned 251-253), initially tolerant of Christianity.  The reign of Gallus was one disaster after another.  A plague swept through the empire.  In Carthage Christians became scapegoats for the plague.  There were also barbarian invasions as well as military defeats on the Persian frontier.  Gallus distracted much criticism of him by resuming the persecution of Christianity in June 252.  That month the imperial government forced St. Cornelius into exile at Centumcellae (now Civitavecchia, the port of Rome).  The Bishop of Rome died in June 253.  The empire seemed to be coming apart; a civil war seemed unavoidable.  Gallus had two rivals (both generals) for the imperial throne.  In July 253 he died at the hands of his soldiers, who preferred assassinating their emperor to fighting a losing battle in which they would die in vain.  Aemilian, the next emperor, reigned for a few months until dying the same way.

The next emperor was Valerian (reigned 253-260), initially tolerant of Christianity.

Above:  St. Lucius I

Image in the Public Domain

St. Lucius I, elected Bishop of Rome on June 23, 253, had been in exile during the persecution under Gallus.  St. Cyprian wrote to St. Lucius I, who maintained the policy of St. Cornelius vis-á-vis repentant apostates.  The Bishop of Carthage congratulated the new Bishop of Rome for faithful suffering, and welcomed him back to Rome.  St. Lucius I died of natural causes on March 5, 254.

Above:  St. Stephen I

Image in the Public Domain

St. Stephen I, elected Bishop of Rome on May 12, 254, had conflicts with St. Cyprian.

St. Stephen I readmitted two lapsed Spanish bishops to the Church.  St. Cyprian did not agree that the Spanish bishops had repented of their apostasy.  He convened a synod of north African bishops.  The synod decreed that the Spanish bishops were still apostates, and that they had deceived the Bishop of Rome.

Marcian, Bishop of Arles, was, like Novatian, a moral rigorist who refused forgiveness and reconciliation, to repentant apostates–even on deathbeds.  Some local bishops petitioned St. Stephen I to depose Marcian.  St. Cyprian urged the Bishop of Rome to excommunicate and depose Marcian.  St. Stephen I refused on all counts.

Sts. Stephen I and Cyprian disagreed about the rebaptism of people baptized by heretics, i.e., Novatianists.  The Bishop of Carthage argued that such baptisms were almost always invalid.  He contended that the sacrament was valid only within the Church, so rebaptism was necessary in most of these cases.  The Bishop of Rome, however, regarded baptisms by heretics as generally valid.  Therefore, according to St. Stephen I, absolution via the laying on of hands was the only requirement for reconciliation of heretics.  He refused to permit the churches in Asia Minor to hold valid Eucharists due to their practice of rebaptizing heretics.  However, St. Cyprian convened two synods (in 255 and 256) that reaffirmed his position.  Ironically, Novatian and St. Cyprian had something in common, for Novatian refused to accept orthodox Catholic baptisms, just as St. Cyprian refused to accept Novatianist baptisms.

St. Stephen I was doing something new; he became the first Bishop of Rome to claim the primacy of his office based on succession from St. Simon Peter.  What the Bishop of Rome said, went.  St. Cyprian was having none of it, despite his acknowledgment of St. Simon Peter as the rock upon which Jesus founded the Church.

One may wonder what the long-term consequences of the dispute between Sts. Stephen I and Cyprian would have been.  One must, however, consign those thoughts to the realm of the counterfactual.  One should also consider St. Cyprian’s condemnation of schism as sinful.

Circumstances ended the dispute.  St. Stephen I died of natural causes on August 2, 257.  The next Bishop of Rome was St. Sixtus II.  In August 257 Valerian, seeking to distract attention from ample imperial woes, resumed the empire-wide persecution of Christianity.  St. Cyprian, forced into exile again, eventually returned to Carthage, where he became a martyr on September 14, 258.

Novatian also died in 258, perhaps as a martyr during the persecution under Valerian.

Valerian’s persecution did much to damage the Church, which survived, of course.  St. Sixtus II and many clergy died.  The empire also confiscated Church property.  Nevertheless, St. Dionysius, the Bishop of Rome from 260 to 268, rebuilt the Church.  He also had to contend with the issue of rebaptism.  Valerian failed.

The position of the Roman Catholic Church on baptism is that all Christian baptisms are valid.  Defects in the intentions of those who administer baptism render a baptism invalid, hence the Church’s refusal to accept Mormon baptisms.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1941; AND JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR, 1965

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servants

Saint Cyprian of Carthage,

Saint Cornelius of Rome,

Saint Lucius I of Rome, and

Saint Stephen I of Rome,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following their examples and teachings of their holy lives,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 718

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++