Archive for the ‘Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969)’ Tag

Feast of Henry Elias Fries and Rosa Elvira Fries (March 3)   1 comment

Fries Photograph 1917

Above:  Henry Elias Fries, 1917

Image Source = The Winston-Salem Journal, October 9, 1917, page 5

Accessed via newspapers.com

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HENRY ELIAS FRIES (SEPTEMBER 22, 1857-MARCH 3, 1949)

U.S. Moravian Industrialist and Hymn Writer

and his wife

ROSA ELVIRA MICKEY FRIES (MAY 24, 1860-AUGUST 7, 1938)

U.S. Moravian Musician

I do not know what or how much I will find when I begin to take notes on someone when considering him or her for addition to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  For example, will I find enough information for more than a blurb?  In the case of the Frieses the answer is yes.

Fries-Mickey

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The Fries family has been in the United States of America since 1809, when Johann Christian Wilhelm Fries (1775-1866), a German native, arrived in North Carolina.  In 1811 he married Johanna Elisabeth Nissen (1787-1864).  The first of their children was Francis Lewin Fries (1812-1863), husband of Lisette Maria Vogler (1820-1903).  The sixth of their seven children was Henry Elias Fries (1857-1949), part of the third generation of Frieses in the United States.

Henry, who lost his father at age six, grew up to become a civil leader and a devout Moravian.  Our saint, a native of Salem, North Carolina, attended Salem Boys School then Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina.  Fries never graduated, for bad eyesight forced him to drop out of school after three years.  While he was still enrolled at Davidson College our saint took interest in a new Moravian Sunday School in East Salem.  The East Salem Sunday School had begun in 1876.  Fries, returned from Davidson, became the superintendent of that Sunday school in October 1877.  Four decades later he was still the Sunday School Superintendent at what that effort became–the Fries Memorial Moravian Church.

Upon withdrawing from Davidson College Fries embarked on his career in industry.  His first job was as manager of a family owned business, the Wachovia Mills, which produced flour.  Fries served as the secretary of the State Industrial Exposition at Raleigh in 1884.  The following year he organized the Southside Cotton Mill, Winston.  For years our saint served as president of that mill.  In 1897 he founded the Fries Manufacturing and Power Company, thereby pioneering electrical development in the environs of Winston and Salem.  By 1913 Fries was operating a streetcar system and providing electricity to homes.  In 1909 our saint and his brother, Francis Henry Fries (1855-1931), founded the Winston-Salem Southbound Railway, of which Henry served as president for the rest of his life.  Our saint, who also operated the Forsyth Manufacturing Company and the Arista Mills, was a major figure in building up the industrial center of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Fries was also active in public life, with a strong emphasis on education.  In 1887 he served a term in the state legislature.  Other offices included positions on the Democratic National Committee, the Forsyth County Board of Education, the city council of Salem, the state Board of Agriculture, and the State Geological Board.  The three-term mayor of Salem was also a trustee of the Slater Industrial and Normal School (later Winston-Salem State University) and a founder of the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (later the North Carolina State University), Raleigh, for which he was a trustee for a decade.  Our saint, a leading advocate of the merger of the Cities of Winston and Salem in 1913, helped to organize the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce and the local chapter of the Red Cross.

Fries Memorial Moravian Church 1917

Above:  Fries Memorial Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1917

Source = The Winston-Salem Journal, October 9, 1917, page 5

Our saint also wrote hymns.  I know of the existence of at least four such texts, but have located only two of them, both in the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969) and one in its predecessor, the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923).  Fries composed the text of “Come, Join the Throng on This Glad Day” for the dedication of the brick edifice of Fries Memorial Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, in 1915.  (The former building had ceased to be sufficient for the congregation.)

Church Dedication

The Winston-Salem Journal, March 9, 1915, page 6

Accessed via newspapers.com

Do shades of uniqueness exist?

Come Now, O Lord” originated on the afternoon of June 8, 1930, which was Pentecost Sunday that year, after an inspiring sermon by the Reverend Herbert B. Johnson at Fries Memorial Church.  Our saint shared the new text with Johnson early that evening.  The minister requested that Fries sing it for the congregation at the late service that day.  Our saint did do, performing it to the tune MORECAMBE, as his wife, Rosa, accompanied him.  A week later she composed a tune, PENTECOSTAL HYMN, for it.  That has been the tune paired with that text in Moravian hymnals since at least the Moravian Youth Hymnal (1942).

Rosa Elvira Mickey, born in Salem, North Carolina, on May 24, 1860, came from European Moravian Church stock.  She met Henry at the East Salem Sunday School, where she taught and he served as superintendent.  For half a century Rosa not only taught Sunday School but played the piano and sang soprano.  She and Henry, married in 1881, had one child, Anna Marguerite Fries (1892-1916), who died of scarlet fever.  Rose followed her daughter into death on August 7, 1938, at Cherry Lane, North Carolina, after a stroke.  She was 78 years old.

Henry lived to the ripe old age of 91 years.  On March 3, 1949, we went to his office.  Those who saw him recalled later that he seemed to be in good health.  There, at his desk, our saint died of a heart attack.  His work was done; Winston-Salem was considerably better off because of his professional contributions over decades.

To write about the holy lives of people without the either of prefixes “St.” or “Bl.” attached to their names is appropriate.  In the case of the Frieses germane factors include their marriage, which lasted for more than half a century, and their high level of activity in their congregation.  Such details require few words and little space to summarize, but the positive influences, both direct and indirect, of those details are great and span generations.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 6, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETIUS OF TRIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND BISHOP; AND SAINT AREDIUS OF LIMOGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF KRATIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND HERMIT

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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POSTSCRIPT:

When I saw Rosa’s maiden name, Mickey, I wondered if she were related to Bishop Edward Timothy Mickey, Jr. (1908-1986), whom I have added to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days already.  Yes, she was a first cousin of his father.

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Henry Elias Fries and Rosa Elvira Mickey Fries,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 726

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Feast of Michael Weisse and Jan Roh (February 12)   2 comments

Moravian Logo

Above:  Logo of the Moravian Church

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MICHAEL WEISSE (CIRCA 1480-MARCH 19, 1534)

German Moravian Minister and Hymn Writer

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JAN ROH (1485/1490-FEBRUARY 11, 1547)

Also known as John Horn, Johann Horn, and Johann Cornu

Bohemian Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

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The names of Michael Weisse and Jan Roh came to my attention because of my interest in the history of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  As I took notes on Roh’s life the name of Weisse kept recurring.  The best way to tell their stories, I concluded, was together.

Michael Weisse was a native of Neisse, Silesia (now Nysa, Poland).  He, born circa 1480, grew up in the Roman Catholic Church.  Weisse probably matriculated at the University of Krakow in 1504.  After he completed his studies our saint entered the Franciscan monastery at Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) and became a priest.  In 1518, howevr, Weisse left monastic life and Roman Catholicism behind and entered the Unitas Fratrum, the Bohemian Brethren.

Jan Roh, Weisse’s contemporary, was of Bohemian origin.   Roh, a.k.a. Johann Horn, John Horn, and Johann Cornu, was a native of Domascbitz near Leitmeritz, Bohemia.  The saint, born in 1485/1490, became a presbyter in the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) in 1518 at Jungbunzlau, Bohemia.  He became one of the three Seniors of the Unity.  Three years later, he joined the ranks of bishop.

Sometime after 1518 the lives of Roh and Weisse began to overlap.  Roh, Weisse, and John Augusta (1500-1572) represented the Bohemian Brethren in theological discussions with Martin Luther.  In 1531, the year in which Weisse became a presbyter, he edited the Unity’s first German-language hymnal.  The volume reflected Weisse’s Zwinglian theology of the Holy Communion.  Roh, who edited the Unity’s Czech hymnal of 1541, revised Weisse’s German-language hymnal in 1544, correcting the Eucharistic theology to conform to the Brethren’s position–the real presence.  In 1532 and 1535 Roh and Augusta prepared the Unity’s confession of faith in Czech and Latin.  Weisse translated the 1532 statement into German, incorporating his theological tendencies in the process.

Weisse, who joined the Unity’s Inner Council in 1532, died of food poisoning in 1534.  He had founded German-language congregations in Bohemia and Moravia.  Weisse had also, since 1531, been overseer of the German-language congregations at Lanskroun and Fulnek, Moravia (now the Czech Republic).  The saint’s original legacy in hymnody consists of hymn tunes, hymn texts, and translations of hymn texts.  I have added some of his hymn translations and original texts to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  The Moravian Book of Worship (1995) contains six hymn tunes Weisse composed and one he adapted.

Among Weisse’s original hymns from the hymnal of 1531 was the following, as Donald M. McCorkle (1929-1978) translated it in 1963:

To us a Child is born this night.

Behold His glorious light;

To us a Son is given,

Who Himself is our true God,

Our Life here and in heaven.

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Now wide is opening heaven’s door,

And out the light doth pour;

A gleam of majesty,

Christ the Son of Righteousness,

Who makes all people free.

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The light is Christ, our gracious Lord,

The true Immanuel,

To Christians now revealed;

And with wondrous grace and truth

Shows them what was concealed.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969)

Roh, who composed and adapted hymn tunes, wrote hymns, a few of which exist in English translations.  I have added the Catherine Winkworth translation, “Once He Came in Blessing” (1858), to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I have also found “Praise God! Praise God with Singing” (translated by John Daniel Libbey, 1871, altered).  Roh’s original text dated to 1544.

Praise God! Praise God with singing!

Rejoice, thou Christian flock!

Fear not though foes are bringing

Their hosts against thy rock;

For though they here assail thee

And seek thy very life,

Let not thy courage fail thee;

Thy God shall turn the strife.

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O be not thou dismayed,

Believing little band.

God, in His might arrayed,

To help thee is at hand.

Upon His palm engraven

Thy name ever found.

He knows, Who dwells in heaven,

The ills that thee surround.

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His purpose stands unshaken–

What He hath said he’ll do;

And, when by all forsaken,

His Church He will renew.

With pity He beholds her

E’en in her time of woe,

Still by His Word upholds her

And makes her thrive and know.

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To Him belong our praises,

Who still abides our Lord,

Bestowing gifts and graces

According to His Word.

Nor will He e’er forsake us,

But will our Guardian be

And ever stable make us

In love and unity.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969)

Roh died at Jungbunzlau, Bohemia, on February 11, 1547.

NOVEMBER 1, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

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

thank you for those (especially Michael Weisse and Jan Roh)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Martin Dober, Johann Leonhard Dober, and Anna Dober (October 12)   4 comments

Dober

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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THIRD ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

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MARTIN DOBER (NOVEMBER 23, 1703-DECEMBER 9, 1748)

Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

brother of

JOHANN LEONHARD DOBER (1706-1766)

Moravian Missionary and Bishop

husband of

ANNA SCHINDLER DOBER (APRIL 9, 1713-DECEMBER 12, 1739)

Moravian Missionary and Hymn Writer

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Two brothers emigrated to Herrnhut in 1725.  Martin and Johann Leonhard (whose name some sources Anglicize as Leonard) Dober were potters from Monchsroth, Swabia.  They were far more than skilled potters; the Renewed Moravian Church provided them opportunities to manifest other abilities in the service of God.

Martin Dober (1703-1748) spent much time at Herrnhut.  For at least part of his time there he led morning worship at 5:00 then went to work in his pottery shop.  Martin became a trusted assistant of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) and a teacher at Herrnhut.  Dober became a bishop in 1744, led the Moravian communities in Britain and Ireland in 1744 and 1745, and ended his days at Herrnhaag.  He also wrote hymns, such as “Jesus, Saviour, I Implore Thee.”  The Index of Authors and Translators in the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923) described him as:

highly gifted in original languages and in the cure of souls.

–Page 674

Johann Leonhard Dober (1706-1766), or Leonard Dober, as some sources refer to him, was a giant in the early decades of the Renewed Moravian Church.  From 1732 to 1734 he served as a missionary in the West Indies.  David Nitschmann (1696-1772) traveled with him to St. Thomas and spent sixteen weeks helping him get started.  Dober labored faithfully in the West Indies, but without much success.  In late 1734 he left for Herrnhut to answer the summons to succeed the late Martin Linner as Chief Elder of the denomination.  Dober had, years earlier, assisted Linner, then the leader of the Single Brothers’ Choir at Herrnhut.  (A choir was a communal group.)

Dober’s successor at St. Thomas was Friedrich Martin (1704-1750), who succeeded, leaving 1,600 baptized people at the time of his death.  He, a bishop from 1748, survived legal obstacles, such as imprisonment for refusing to swear an oath in court and to pay the accompanying fine.  His widow, Maria Barbara Leinbach (1722-1810), married David Nitschmann (1696-1772) in 1754.

Anna Schindler (1713-1739), a native of Kunewald, Moravia, helped Anna Nitschmann (1715-1760) found the Single Sisters’ Choir at Herrnhut in 1730, having lived at the settlement since 1725.  Anna Schindler married Johann Leonhard Dober on July 13, 1737.  He had been the Chief Elder of the Renewed Moravian Church for two years.  In 1738 he and his wife started evangelizing in Amsterdam.  She died at Marienborn, Saxony, on December 12, 1739, a few months short of her twenty-seventh birthday.

Anna wrote at least eighteen hymns, including “Lamb of God, Who Thee Receive” (1735) and “O What Depth of Love and Boundless Grace” (1737).  The translation of the latter hymn from the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969) follows:

O what a depth of love and boundless grace

The gospel light to sinful man displays,

When Christ Himself to us doth manifest,

And we in Him find comfort, peace, and rest!

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When in the soul this blessed truth resounds,

That Christ’s death, for sinners life abounds,

O how doth this fresh the fainting heart,

And bid all anxious doubts and fears depart.

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For sinners without merit of their own

Which could the burden of great guilt atone,

Who no escape from penalty can see,

For such the Lamb of God died on the tree.

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From Him there goes forth virtue, that we may

With confidence to God the Father pray.

And then we shall ourselves to all proclaim

The heirs of God through faith in Jesus’ Name.

Johann Leonhard Dober resigned as Chief Elder at the Synod of 1741.  The job of leading the Moravian Church was too much for one person, he said.  There were also concerns that the Chief Eldership might turn into a Moravian version of the Papacy.  The decision that Jesus Christ would become the Chief Elder of the Moravian Church occurred on September 16, 1741.  The formal announcement of this fact on November 13 of that year has become a commemorated event, the Festival of Christ the Chief Elder.  The General Conference, a three-member committee, became the decision-making body.  Dober did not belong to it.

Dober, a bishop since 1747, traveled widely on church business.  For example, in 1749, when the Church was cleaning up the mess of the “Sifting Time” (1743-1750), centered at Herrnhaag, Dober and Bishop David Nitschmann (1696-1772) visited European Moravian communities as part of the effort.  During his labors Dober also wrote at least twelve hymns, none of which North American Moravian hymnals since 1923 have contained.

Dober died at Herrnhut in 1766.

Here ends the third installment of this series of posts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Martin Dober, Johann Leonhard Dober, and Anna Schindler Dober,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of John Worthington, John Antes, Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Christian Ignatius LaTrobe, Peter, LaTrobe, Johann Christopher Pyrlaeus, and Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg (November 3)   7 comments

November 3 Saints

Above:  Relations and Influences–A Useful and Partial Guide

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHN WORTHINGTON (NOVEMBER 3, 1725-MARCH 12, 1790)

British Moravian Minister and Composer

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JOHN ANTES (MARCH 24, 1740-DECEMBER 17, 1811)

U.S. Moravian Instrument Maker, Composer, and Missionary

Brother-in-Law of

BENJAMIN HENRY LATROBE, SR. (APRIL 10, 1728-NOVEMBER 29, 1786)

British Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

Father of

CHRISTIAN IGNATIUS LATROBE (FEBRUARY 12, 1758-MAY 6, 1836)

British Moravian Composer

Father of

PETER LATROBE (FEBRUARY 15, 1795-SEPTEMBER 24, 1863)

British Moravian Bishop and Composer

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JOHANN CHRISTOPHER PYRLAEUS (APRIL 25, 1713-MAY 28, 1785)

Moravian Missionary and Musician

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AUGUSTUS GOTTLIEB SPANGENBERG (JULY 13, 1704-JULY 18, 1792)

Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

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This post is an outgrowth of a research project I call Liturgy in the Moravian Church in America, the Prologue to and Part I of which I have posted at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  Having read them (especially Part I) will improve the comprehension of this material.  Reading and note-taking for Part II (scheduled to cover 1735-1848) are in progress.  In fact, work on this project overlaps with that effort.

Recently I wrote names out of a wonderful book, The Music of the Moravian Church in America (2008), Nola Reed Knouse, Editor.  More recently I started taking notes on one man–John Worthington, whom I had penciled in for consideration for a slot on November 3 on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  His biography led me to another person, which led me a third, et cetera.  The process ended with seven saints sharing one post.  I could have made it at least eight or nine, but a reader absorbs enough details without the author going further into the material in this post.  But, just in case you wonder, O reader, I plan note-taking sessions on Christian Gregor and Frederick William Foster, numbers eight and nine, respectively.  At the heart of the web of relationships and influences on which I focus in this post is a family tree.  This fact ought to remind one of the importance of family in nourishing and continuing the faith.  There are also three people outside the family tree yet crucial to the story I am telling.  This reality ought to remind one of the importance of other human relationships in influencing people, hopefully for the positive.

Perhaps the best way to commence the historical narrative is with Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg (1704-1892).  Some sources among the Moravian books I consulted gave his first name as Augustus, some as August, and others as both, depending on the page.  He is, for my purposes, Augustus, which sounds properly Germanic.  Spangenberg was, of course, German, from the state of Saxony, to be precise.  (Germany was a cultural, not a political, designation prior to 1871.)  He, the son of a Lutheran minister, studied theology at the University of Jena starting in 1721.  He taught at Halle in 1732-1733 then became a Moravian at Herrnhut, on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) near Berhtelsdorf, Saxony.  Spangenberg became a trusted aide to the Count.

Spangenberg was a foundational figure in the Renewed Unitas Fratrum (1727-).  He traveled the world on church business, even leading a group to settle in Georgia in 1735.  The Georgia mission (1735-1779) was never successful.  Disputes internal and external (with the Lutherans at Ebenezer) contributed greatly to the Savannah Moravians’ troubles, but the domestic politics of the War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739-1748) made matters worse.  Georgia was a military colony on one of the borders between the British and Spanish Empires.  The Georgia Moravians, being pacifists, refused to take up arms against anyone–especially the Spanish enemies.  (Governments tend to dislike people who refuse to fight the enemy.)  Most of the Moravians in Georgia left for Pennsylvania in 1740.  There, the following year, they founded the settlement of Nazareth.  The second Moravian mission in Georgia, by the way, was to Native people.  It started in 1800 and ended with Indian Removal in the 1830s.

Spangenberg traveled widely on Moravian Church business after 1735.  In the late 1730s alone his itinerary included Pennsylvania and St. Thomas.  And, in 1742, he founded the first Moravian settlement in England.  Spangenberg, back in America, became the bishop for North America in 1744.  He left for Herrnhut in 1762 to sit on the Church’s governing council and help to stabilize the denomination in the wake of the death of Count Zinzendorf (1760).  Spangenberg retired in 1791 and died the following year.

Spangenberg, known for his compassion, left a written and musical legacy:

  1. His writings included The Life of Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (three volumes, 1772-1774; English translation, 1838) and the Exposition of Christian Doctrine (1782, English translation, 1784, by Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr.).
  2. In 1744 the bishop founded the collegium musicum at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  This, according to my specialized sources, was his greatest musical legacy.  A collegium musicum is a small musical ensemble which fills a variety of functions.  It educates its participants, fills time which they might spend otherwise in dubious pursuits, provides wholesome entertainment, and serves a function in worship.  These roles were like circles in a Venn Diagram for, as a Moravian ethic says, all of life is liturgical.  The original collegium musicum formed at Herrnhut in 1731.  The early composition of the Bethlehem collegium musicum changed over time.  It started with horn players, added trumpeters the following year, and came to include a harpist and a violinist in 1752.  There were fourteen members in 1748.  The original leader was Johann Christopher Pyrlaeus (1713-1785), to whose story I will turn in this post.
  3. Some early organ music of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum (1727-) was elaborate.  Spangenberg considered this to be in bad taste and about virtuosity, not worship.  He encouraged excellent musicianship focused on glorifying God, not the performer.  As the bishop told a young church organist, Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836), son of Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr., “Keep it simple.”
  4. Spangenberg composed hymn texts.  Among them were “When Simplicity We Cherish” (1740), “What Can We Offer Thee, O Lord” (1734), “High on His Everlasting Throne” (1737), and “The Church of Christ, Which He Hallowed Here” (1745).

Johann Christopher Pyrlaeus (1713-1785) studied music as a young person.  Then he studied theology at the University of Leipzig while Johann Sebastian Bach was there in town.  At Leipzig Pyrlaeus encountered Moravians and converted to the Unitas Fratrum.  That connection brought him to America–Pennsylvania, to be precise.

Pyrleaus had an eventful time in America.  In 1742, while Count Zinzendorf was serving as a Lutheran pastor in Philadelphia, Pyrlaeus worked as the Count’s assistant.  On one memorable Sunday in 1742, in fact, a drunken crown even drove Pyrleaus from the pulpit.  From 1743 to 1751 he served as a missionary to Native peoples, becoming the first Moravian musician to do so in the future United States.  Pyrleaus, a capable vocalist, organist, and instrumentalist, also translated many hymns into Mohican.  He also, at the request of Bishop Spangenberg, organized the first Moravian Indian-language school in the future United States.  And, as I have established, Pyrlaeus (from 1744 to 1751, when he returned to Europe) led the collegium musicum at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  He also provided early music lessons to John Antes (1740-1811).

John Antes was a son of Johann Heinrich (Anglicized as John Henry) Antes, the Baron von Blume (1701-1755), who had emigrated from Germany.  The Baron, originally of the Reformed Church, came to prefer the Moravian Church in Pennsylvania, so he converted in 1746.  Bishop Spangenberg baptized the American-born John Antes, who went on to make instruments, such as harpsichords and violins.  In 1759, in fact, he made one of the earliest violins in America.  Antes operated his own instrument-making business at Bethlehem from 1762 to 1764 then relocated to Europe for a few years.  He settled at Herrnhut in 1764 and moved to Neuweid the following year.  His European ventures proved unsuccessful, but he found a vocation as a missionary to Egypt (1769-1781) and an avocation as a composer.  Antes, toward the end of his tenure in Egypt (where he also made watches in Cairo), mailed a copy of his Three Trios to Benjamin Franklin, then an American diplomat in Paris.  Antes, the earliest American composer of chamber music, nearly died of torture at the hands of Ottoman imperial officials.  The part-time composer returned to Europe, where he spent the rest of his days, in 1782.  He was at Herrnhut (again) in 1782-1783.  Then, from 1783 to 1785 Antes served as the business manager of the congregation at Neuweid.  He filled the same role at Fulneck, England, from 1785 to 1808.  He died at Bristol, England, three years later.

Some of his music has survived.  Antes wrote the Three Trios, of course, but also more than thirty sacred vocal works.  The Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969) contains six of his hymn tunes.  Unfortunately, a set of his quartets is lost to history, to be best of human knowledge.  Hopefully they will join the ranks of music considered lost until someone identified a copy in a library or a collection somewhere.

Antes had a sister, Anna Margaretta (Anglicized as Anna Margaret) Antes (1728-1794), who married Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Sr. (1725-1786), father of the aforementioned Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836).  Benjamin, Sr., a bishop in South Africa, served as a mission secretary and as a Provincial Elder from 1768 to 1786.  He also wrote and translated hymns.  He wrote, for example, “Jesus’ Name, Jesus’ Name” (1789).  Antes also translated a German text by his contemporary, Christian Gregor (1723-1801), a foundational figure in Moravian Church music, rendering a 1772 text in English as “The Lord Bless and Keep Thee in His Favor.”

Benjamin, Sr., and Anna Margaret had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood.  Two of these were Benjamin Henry LaTrobe, Jr. (1764-1820) and Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836).  Benjamin, Jr., an engineer and architect, moved to the United States, where he worked on the first waterworks system in Philadelphia, designed interiors (such as the Old Senate and House Chambers) of the rebuilt (post-War of 1812) U.S. Capitol building, and designed the Basilica of the Assumption at Baltimore.

Below:  Basilica of the Assumption, Baltimore, Maryland, Between 1980 and 2006

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-16726

16726v

14279v

Above:  Interior, Basilica of the Assumption, Baltimore, Maryland, Between 1980 and 2006

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-14279

Benjamin, Jr., the father of the U.S. architectural profession, died of yellow fever in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1820.

I will turn to Christian Ignatius LaTrobe shortly.

John Worthington (1725-1790) came under the positive influence of Benjamin, Sr.  Worthington, as a boy, sang in a choir at Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) in his native Dublin, Ireland, until his voice changed.  Then he turned to gambling and to singing in coffeehouses (not that coffeehouses, where alcohol was absent and people met to discuss topics such as politics and philosophy, seem like disreputable institutions to me) before Benjamin, Sr., himself a musician of great renown, hired him as a music teacher.  Worthington converted to the Unitas Fratrum and became a minister, serving at Fulneck, England, in the 1750s, at Ockbrook, England, from 1769 to 1777, and finally at Dublin, Ireland, where he died.  He composed music, which Christian Ignatius LaTrobe observed, had a reputation for “simplicity and elegance.”

Christian Ignatius LaTrobe (1758-1836), educated in Germany from 1771 to 1778, taught at the Moravian school at Niesky from 1779 to 1784.  LaTrobe worked from London for many years, administering Moravian missions.  He retired in 1834, moved to Fairfield (near Manchester), and died two years later.  That was his life in broad strokes.

LaTrobe’s other great contribution was musical.  He, who knew luminaries such as Franz Joseph Haydn, was, at the time, the only Moravian Church composer with a reputation outside the Unitas Fratrum.  LaTrobe composed music for both the Moravian Church and the Church of England.  Works for the latter were more complex than those for the former.  As Bishop Spangenberg, in Europe from 1762 to 1792, had advised the young LaTrobe, who was once a church organist, “keep it simple.”  LaTrobe composed and arranged works for SATB choir, organ, strings, bassoon, oboe, and piano forte.  There were also “secular” (a term with less meaning in the Moravian Church than in other denominations), such as three piano sonatas, which he dedicated to his friend, Haydn.

LaTrobe’s volumes for the Moravian Church included:

  1. Hymn Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren, Collected by Chrn. Igns. LaTrobe (1775);
  2. Hymn Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren (1790); Moravian hymnals of the time had words only and church musicians used the tune books);
  3. Selection of Sacred Music (six volumes, 1806-1826), as Editor;
  4. Anthems for One, Two, or More Voices Performed in the Church of the United Brethren, Collected and the Instrumental Parts Adapted for the Organ or Piano Forte, Composed by Various Authors (1811);
  5. Hymn-Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren, Collected by Chrn. Igns. LaTrobe; A New Edition Revised & Corrected with an Appendix (1826); and
  6. Original Anthems for One, Two, or More Voices Adopted for Private Devotion or Public Worship Composed and the Accompaniments Arranged for the Piano Forte or Organ (1828).

There were also nine organ preludes in an appendix to L. B. Seeley’s Devotional Harmony (1806).

LaTrobe also translated hymns into English.  Among them was a Christian Gregor (1723-1801) text, which LaTrobe rendered as “In This Sepulchral Eden.”

Among the children of Christian Ignatius LaTrobe and Hannah Benigna Syms LaTrobe (1758-1824) was Peter LaTrobe (1795-1863).  The Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923) contains one, “Sweeter Sounds.”  Hymntime.com lists two others, “Fairfield” and “Invitation.”  The London-born bishop, who died at Berthelsdorf, Saxony, near Herrnhut, the worldwide Moravian headquarters, married twice.  His first wife (1825-1839) was Mary Louisa Foster (1793-1839).  The second wife (1842-1863) was Jeanetta Margaret Brett, who survived him.  Peter’s first father-in-law was therefore Frederick William Foster (1760-1835), a British Moravian bishop (from 1814) and editor of the hymnal of 1801, its supplement of 1808 (and thus the composite 1809 edition) and the revised hymnal of 1826.  Peter updated his father’s 1826 volume, publishing Hymn-Tunes Sung in the Church of the United Brethren First Collected by Chr. Ign. LaTrobe; An Enlarged Edition, Arranged in Parts for the Use of Choirs (1854).

These saints, consistent with their Moravian ethos, contributed much via music, whether overtly Christian (as in anthems, hymns, and works of instruments in church) or merely beautiful and composed well.  As Philippians 4:8 (Revised Standard Version–Second Edition, 1971) says:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

THE FEAST OF GEORGE FREEMAN BRAGG, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWNLIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth:

Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by their fellowship of love and prayer,

and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy.

We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit,

and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 726

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