Archive for the ‘Philipp Melanchthon’ Tag

Feast of Philipp Melanchthon (February 16)   Leave a comment

philipp-melanchthon-1537

Above:  Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon, by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Image in the Public Domain

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PHILIPP MELANCHTHON (FEBRUARY 16, 1497-APRIL 19, 1560)

German Lutheran Theologian and Scribe of the Reformation

Philipp Melanchthon was a leader of the Protestant Reformation.  Our saint, born Philipp Schwarzerd at Bretton, Baden, on February 16, 1497, was a son of Georg Schwarzerd (an armorer) and Barbara Reuter (niece of classical and humanist scholar Johann Reuchlin).  Reuchlin supervised our saint’s classical and humanist education, transforming him into a classical and humanist scholar whom other classical and humanist scholars respected.  Reuchlin gave our saint the surname “Melanchthon,” Greek for “Schwarzerd.”  Melanchthon, who earned his B.A. degree at Heiderberg (1512), M.A. degree at Tubingern (1514), and B.D. degree at Wittenberg (1519), translated certain classical Greek works into German.

Melanchthon’s move to Wittengerg in 1518 was crucial.  In August of that year our saint arrived to teach Greek at the university there.  On August 29, 1518, he delivered an influential address, The Improvement of Studies, in which he proposed to renew society and education by bypassing certain secondary sources and returning to primary sources.  The scholarship of Melanchthon influenced the work of Martin Luther, whose ally he became the following year.  In 1520 Melanchthon married Katharine Krapp of Wittenberg.  The couple had four children:  Anna (1522), Philipp (1525), Georg (1527), and Magdalen (1533).  Melanchthon influenced education in Germany.  His educational theories led to the founding of Protestant public schools and the reorganization of universities in much of Germany.  Thus he became the “Preceptor of Germany.”

Melanchthon, the scribe of the Reformation, wrote Biblical commentaries and composed the Augsburg Confession (1530) and a defense of it.  Despite these facts, some Lutherans considered our saint to be insufficiently Lutheran.  Melanchthon was a Lutheran diplomat and spokesman in discussions with representatives of the Reformed and the Roman Catholic Churches.  For him justification by faith was essential; any point not contradicting it was nonessential.  Melanchthon was even willing, for the sake of Christian unity, to accept papal government yet not supremacy.

Our saint, anguished by ecclesiastical schisms, maintained his ecumenical dialogues until he died, aged 63 years, on April 19, 1560.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN OF DAMASCUS AND COSMAS OF MAIUMA, THEOLOGIANS AND HYMNODISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CALABRIA, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE POOR SERVANTS AND THE POOR WOMEN SERVANTS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH MOHR, AUSTRIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS COTTERILL, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND LITURGIST

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Philipp Melanchthon,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) page 60

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Feast of Petrus Nigidius and Georg Nigidius (November 25)   Leave a comment

Allendorf (1655)

Above:  Allendorf in 1655, by Matthaus Merian

Image in the Public Domain

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PETRUS NIGIDIUS (1501-1583)

German Lutheran Educator and Composer

perhaps the father of

GEORG NIGIDIUS, A.K.A. GEORG NIEGE (NOVEMBER 25, 1525-JULY 4, 1588)

German Lutheran Composer and Hymn Writer

The relationship (if any) between Petrus and George Nigidius is uncertain, but both men were from Allendorf, Hesse, and had connections to nearby Marburg.

Petrus Nigidius (1501-1583) was a professional educator.  He studied at the University of Erfurt and served as rector at Eschwege, Allendorf, and Gottingen.  Once he visited Wittenberg, where he heard Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560) speak.  Our saint served briefly as rector in Darmstadt and Luneburg before returning to Allendorf to teach.  Then he taught at Cassel from 1539 to 1549.  From 1549 to 1561 our saint worked as the superintendent at Marburg.  There he remained, teaching history then physics starting in 1561.  Nigidius retired in 1575.

Among his non-academic contributions were at least one melody and a German-Latin catechism.  The catechism dated to 1554.  The melody became the basis for a hymn tune, DIE NACHT IST KOMMEN.

Georg Nigidius, born on November 25, 1525, spent most of his life as a soldier and filling civil offices.  At the age of nine years he became a pupil of cantor Georg Kern at Cassel.  Thus his musical education began.  Our saint graduated with his bachelor’s degree from the University of Marburg in 1546.  Then he entered the military.  Nigidius spent the rest of his life alternating between military and civil positions, settling down at Rintelin in 1587.  There he died of a stroke on July 4, 1588.

His hobbies included composing poems and music.  Nigidius had sent The Seven Penitential Psalms Together with All Manner of Christian Hymns of Praise and Thanksgiving, and Also Prayers and Passages of Scripture Composed and Compiled by Georg Niege of Allendorf, a Captain to Nicolaus Selnecker (1532-1592), theologian and hymn writer.  Selnecker attempted unsuccessfully to find a publisher for it.  Nevertheless, some of the texts in that volume appeared in hymnals during the 1500s.  The great bulk of our saint’s compositions remained forgotten in the royal library in Berlin until Dr. P. Althaus rediscovered them.

Among the texts by Georg Nigidius in circulation since the 1500s was Aus meines Herzens Grunde.  Stanzas #1, 2, 5, and 6 of the translation from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) follow:

My inmost heart now raises

In this fair morning hour

A song of thankful praises

To Thine almighty pow’r,

O God, upon Thy throne.

To honor and adore Thee,

I bring my praises before Thee

Thro’ Christ, Thine only Son.

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For Thou from me hast warded

All perils of the night;

From ev’ry harm hast guarded

My soul till morning light.

To Thee I humbly cry,

O Savior, have compassion

And pardon my transgression;

Have mercy, Thine only Son.

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God shall do my advising,

Whose might with wisdom blends;

May the bless rest and rising,

My efforts, means, and ends!

To God, forever blest,

Will I with mine confide me,

And willing let Him guide me

As seemeth to Him best.

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Amen I say, not fearing

That God rejects my prayer;

I doubt not He is hearing

And granting me His care.

Thus I go on my way

And do not look behind me,

But ply the task assigned me;

God’s help shall be my stay.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 23, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DESIDERIUS/DIDIER OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUIBERT OF GORZE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF NICOLAUS COPERNICUS, SCIENTIST

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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

Petrus Nigidius and Georg Nigidius,

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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