Archive for the ‘John Brownlie’ Tag

Feast of Sts. John of Damascus and Cosmas of Maiuma (December 4)   1 comment

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Above:  St. John of Damascus

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JOHN OF DAMASCUS (675 or 676-December 4, 749 or 754 or 780)

Theologian and Hymnodist

Also known as Saint John Damascene

Also known as Saint John Chrysorrhoas (or “Gold-Streaming”)

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SAINT COSMAS OF MAIUMA (DIED 760 OR 773 OR 794)

Theologian and Hymnodist

Also known as Saint Cosmas the Melodist

His feast transferred from October 14 (Julian Calendar) and October 27 (Gregorian Calendar)

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The Feast of St. John of Damascus is December 4 in the Orthodox churches, the Roman Catholic Church, The Church of England, The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, among other denominations.  In Holy Mother Church his feast has fallen on December 4 since 1969; prior to that it was March 27.  (The Book of Catholic Worship, from 1966, confirms this date, which I found on several websites.  I prefer to confirm information via primary sources as much as possible.)  The transfer of the Feast of St. Cosmas of Maiuma from October to December is due to the overlap of his life and that of St. John, who were brothers in all but genetics and partners in various literary and theological projects.

Sergius Mansur, the biological father of St. John of Damascus and the adoptive father of St. Cosmas of Maiuma, held a prominent post in the Caliphate.  (Aside:  Sources have proven contradictory regarding his position.  The two main versions are tax collector and chief representative to the Christians.)  Sergius, a Christian, raised our two saints in the faith.  He also liberated one Cosmas the Monk from slavery and had the monk instruct young John and Cosmas in theology and philosophy.  St. John succeeded his father in government and exercised authority for years.

St. John’s destiny lay elsewhere, however.  Circa 716 he resigned his post, sold his possessions, sold his possessions, and donated the proceeds to the poor.  Then he and St. Cosmas became monks at the Monastery of St. Sabas the Sanctified, near Jerusalem, in 726.  That year Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (reigned 717-741) decreed Iconoclasm.  Our two saints wrote treatises condemning that heresy.  They also worked together on defenses of Christianity against Manichaeism.  St. John’s The Feast of Knowledge, containing “On the Orthodox Faith,” has proven especially influential.  Perhaps their longest-lasting legacies have been hymn texts and tunes for chants.  Due primarily to John Mason Neale (1818-1866) and John Brownlie (1859-1925) some of these texts have entered into English-language hymnody.  Neale translated the texts in various editions of Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862).  Brownlie’s volumes of translations included Hymns of the Greek Church (1900) and Hymns of the Early Church (1896).  Although one of our saints received credit for a particular poem, chant, or treatise, both of them worked so closely that one may assume reasonably that both were partially responsible, until the death of St. John.

St. Cosmas left the monastery in 743 and became the Bishop of Maiuma, a port city in Gaza.  He held that post for the rest of his long life and outlived St. John.  According to tradition, St. Cosmas lived to the age of 100 years, give or take a few years.

The three main greatest hits of St. John of Damascus in Episcopal Church hymnody are Easter texts:

  1. Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain;”
  2. Thou Hallowed Chosen Morn of Praise;” and
  3. The Day of Resurrection.”

These are present in The English Hymnal (1906).  So is a fourth text, “What Sweet of Life Endureth,” a funeral hymn.

These two saints left fine legacies, for the glory of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CAMPBELL SHAIRP, SCOTTISH POET AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JUSTUS FALCKNER, LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILANDER CHASE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS OF VILLANOVA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF VALENCIA

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Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power

by your servants Saints John of Damascus and Cosmas of Maiuma;

that we, with them, confessing Jesus to be true God and true Man,

and singing the praises of the risen Lord, may, by the power of the resurrection,

attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Ecclesiastes 3:9-14

Psalm 29

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

John 5:24-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 101

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Feast of John Brownlie (August 4)   1 comment

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Image Source = http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/b/r/o/w/brownlie_j.htm

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JOHN BROWNLIE (AUGUST 3, 1859-NOVEMBER 18, 1925)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns

John Brownlie (1859-1925) contributed much to his community and to the larger church.  His interest in hymnody led him to enrich the lives of Christians of his day and many of us born since then.  Our saint, educated at the University of Glasgow, became a minister of the Free Church of Scotland (1843-1900) then its successor, the United Free Church of Scotland (1900-1929).  From 1885 to 1890 he served as the assistant pastor of the congregation at Portpatrick, Wigtownshire; from 1890 he was the senior pastor.  From 1897 to 1901 our saint sat on the board of governors of Stranraer High School; in 1901 he became the chairman of the board.

Brownlie’s most enduring legacy is that of his contribution to English hymnody.  He translated many hymns into English and composed many original hymns.  And he published collections of these texts, original and translated.  A partial list of such volumes follows:

  1. Hymns of Our Pilgrimage (1889);
  2. Zionward:  Hymns of the Pilgrim Life (1890);
  3. Pilgrim Songs (1892);
  4. Hymns of the Early Church (1896);
  5. Hymns of the Greek Church (1900);
  6. Hymns of the Holy Eastern Church (1902);
  7. Hymns from the East (1907);
  8. Hymns of the Russian Church (1907);
  9. Hymns of the Apostolic Church (1909); and
  10. Hymns from the Morningland (1911).

Our saint also prepared Hymns and Hymn Writers of The Church Hymnary (1899), the companion volume to The Church Hymnary (1898).

The Church is better off for the talents of people such as John Brownlie applied to the glorification of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 27, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE

THE FEAST OF ALLEN WILLIAM CHATFIELD, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN COSIN, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DURHAM

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JONES, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND MUSICIAN

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

thank you for those (especially John Brownlie)

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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