Archive for the ‘Philipp Melancthon’ Tag

Feast of Johannes Bugenhagen (April 20)   5 comments

Above:  Johannes Bugenhagen

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN (JUNE 24, 1485-APRIL 20, 1558)

German Lutheran Theologian, Minister, Liturgist, and “Pastor of the Reformation”

Also known as Johannes Pomeranus

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If you know Christ well, it is enough, though you know nothing else; if you know not Christ, what else you learn does not matter.

–Motto of Johannes Bugenhagen

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Johannes Bugenhagen, whose Latinized surname was Pomeranus, was a foundational figure for the Lutheran Church.

His feast comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days from the calendar of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Bugenhagen, born at Wollin, Pomerania (now Wolin, Poland) on June 24, 1485, converted from Roman Catholicism.  He, educated at the University of Greifswald from 1502 to 1504, joined the Premonstratensian Canons, also known as the Norbertines and the White Canons.  Our saint, rector of the school at Treptow, Pomerania (now Trzebiatow, Poland), from 1504, became a priest in 1509 then began to serve as vicar of the church.  In 1520 Bugenhagen converted under the direct influence of Martin Luther.  Our saint arrived in Wittenberg the following year and lectured on the Psalms.  The following year he married Walpurga (original surname unknown).  The couple had three children–Johannes the Younger, Martha, and Sara.  That year Bugenhagen, through Luther’s influence, became the pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Wittenberg, a post he held for the rest of his life.  In 1523 our saint became Luther’s confessor.  Two years later Bugenhagen acquired another portfolio–professor of theology.  Our saint and Luther also collaborated on the Low German translation of the Bible.

Bugenhagen was a liturgist and organizer of the Lutheran Church.  He and Luther prepared the simplified German Mass (1526), intended for the benefit of uneducated lay people, not to replace the Latin order permanently.  Our saint was crucial in the organization of Lutheranism in Denmark, Brunswick, Hamburg, Lubeck, and Pomerania.  Early Lutheranism had a variety of liturgical forms; Bugenhagen’s influential Brunswick Order (1528), more informal than the Brandenburg-Nuremburg type of service, provided for Matins, Vespers, and a Sunday Mass.  The Brunswick Order was still relatively conservative; it approved of traditional vestments (not deeming them mandatory, though), required the retention of traditional elements of the old Latin Mass, and forbade unnecessary novelties.  Bugenhagen, a superintendent (functionally a bishop) since 1533, accepted the invitation of King Christian III (reigned 1534-1559) in 1537 to reorganize the Danish church along Lutheran lines.  Our saint did so, consecrating seven superintendents, establishing the liturgy, and crowning the King and the Queen.

Bugenhagen, who preached Luther’s funeral (1546) then took care of the reformer’s wife and children, wrote Biblical commentaries, became a figure of controversy within Lutheranism during his final years.  In 1548 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V issued the Augsburg Interim, which would have reimposed Roman Catholicism on the Lutherans of Saxony.  Bugenhagen and Philipp Melancthon made a counter-offer.  They proposed the Leipzig Interim, according to which, the affected Lutherans would maintain their core beliefs while following many Medieval Roman Catholic practices.  Charles V approved.  Gnesio-Lutherans (literally, Genuine Lutherans), for whom any compromise was excessive, objected strenuously.

Bugenhagen died at Wittenberg on April 20, 1558.  He was 72 years old.

His liturgies have been influential for centuries.  They have, however, proven to be less influential in North America since the introduction of the Common Service in 1888.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES RENATUS VERBEEK, MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF PETER RICKSECKER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; STUDENT OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN BECHLER, MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; FATHER OF JULIUS THEODORE BECHLER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Johannes Bugenhagen,

through whom you have called the church to its task 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 Mikael Agricola (April 10)   Leave a comment

Sweden 1550

Above:  Map of Sweden and Its Environs, 1550

Image in the Public Domain

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MIKAEL AGRICOLA (CIRCA 1507-APRIL 9, 1557)

Finnish Lutheran Liturgist, Bishop of Turku, and “Father of the Finnish Literary Language”

Also known as Mikael Olavinpoika

Mikael Agricola was a prominent figure in Finnish religion and culture.

Our saint entered the world at Torsby, Pernaja, Finland, Sweden, circa 1507, as Mikael Olavinpoika.  His father, Olof Simonsson, was a farmer.  Our saint studied at the Latin school at Vyborg, where he took the surname Agricola, meaning “farmer.”  At Vyborg Agricola encountered ideas of Christian Humanism and the Protestant Reformation.

For a time Agricola was a Roman Catholic priest, although not the most orthodox one, by the standards of the time.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1528, became the secretary to Martinus Skyette, the Bishop of Turku.  In 1536 Skyette sent Agricola to study in Wittenberg, the headquarters of Martin Luther.  Like his contemporary Olavus Petri before him, Agricola lived in Luther’s home for a few years.  Agricola also learned from Luther as well as Philipp Melancthon and Johannes Bugenhagen.  In 1539 our saint returned to Turku, where he began to serve as the canon of the cathedral chapter and the head of the Latin school.  Between 1537 and 1548 he translated the New Testament into Finnish.  He also wrote the ABC-Kiria, based on the catechism by Luther and Melancthon, between 1537 and 1543.  This signal volume was the first work published in the Finnish language.

In 1540 King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden (reigned 1523-1560), who had favored Lutheranism for years, made that version of Christianity mandatory.  Even before then there seemed to have been some fluidity on the Lutheran-Roman Catholic spectrum in the Kingdom of Sweden, which included Finland.  Furthermore, that fluidity seemed to continue after the royal decree of 1540, for my sources noted that Agricola became the first Lutheran Bishop of Turku in 1550 (a decade after the royal decree) without Papal consent.

Agricola worked in the Finnish language in Swedish-controlled Finland.  He published a prayer book in 1540.  Aside from that volume and the others I have mentioned already, Agricola’s catalogue of published works included the Psalter and other portions of the Old Testament, the order of the Mass (minus the Eucharistic canon), translations of other liturgies, and translations of foreign hymns.

Agricola was a family man.  Prior to his elevation to the episcopate he had married Birgitta Olofsdotter.  The couple had one child, a son, Kristian Agricola, born on December 11, 1550.  He died in 1586.

Our saint died at Nkyrka, Finland, Sweden, on April 19, 1557, after returning from a diplomatic mission to Russia.

Agricola had a Christ-centered theology.  He understood the Christian pilgrimage as a journey of humility, temptation, and trial.  Sin, he said, meant that people have become turned in on themselves and fundamentally opposed to God.  The main idea in Agricola’s theology was the union of human humility in sinfulness and a living hope for divine grace in Christ.

Agricola’s name came to my attention via Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the service book-hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), part of whose heritage includes Finnish Lutheranism in the form of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Suomi Synod) (1890-1962).  Their main counterparts, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and The Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), also have some Finnish Lutheran heritage in the form of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran National Church/National Evangelical Lutheran Church (1898-1963), but the Lutheran Service Book (2006), lacks any commemoration of Agricola’s life.  I wonder why that is so, for Agricola seems like a person a denomination with Finnish Lutheran ancestry should commemorate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

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

thank you for those (especially Mikael Agricola)

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 Olavus and Laurentius Petri (April 19)   2 comments

Sweden 1550

Above:  Map of Sweden and Its Environs, 1550

Image in the Public Domain

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OLAVUS PETRI (JANUARY 6, 1493-APRIL 19, 1552)

Swedish Lutheran Theologian, Historian, Liturgist, Minister, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, Dramatist, Bible Translator, and “Father of Swedish Literature”

Also known as Olaus Petri, Olof Persson, and Olof Pettersson

brother of

LAURENTIUS PETRI (1499-OCTOBER 27, 1573)

Swedish Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala, Bible Translator, and “Father of Swedish Hymnody”

Also known as Lars Persson

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The Great Man (and Woman) Theory is my favorite approach to history.  This Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is, in fact, an exercise in the study of great men and women, famous, obscure, and between those two poles.  The Petri brothers, whose lives and labors overlapped, belong on such a catalogue of holy people.  Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the service book-hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), lists the Petris as “renewers of the church.”  I agree with that assessment while concluding that the pithy label is inadequate.

Olof and Lars Persson were natives of Orebro, Sweden, and sons of a blacksmith.  Our saints learned to, among other things, read and write from Carmelite monks and became monks themselves.  The order sent young Olof, known in Latin as Olavus (or Olaus) Petri, to study at Wittenberg, Germany, in 1516.  There he lived in the home of Martin Luther, one of his professors.  Both Petri brothers studied in that city, where they learned from Luther as well as Philipp Melancthon.  The brothers returned to Sweden in 1518, with their heads full of Lutheran theology.

At the time Sweden was (A) officially Roman Catholic and (B) part of the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Norway.  (Interdynastic marriages had led to the union of the three crowns in 1389.)  The union of Denmark and Norway proved to be durable, ending only in 1814, due to the politics of the Napoleonic Wars.  The political situation in Sweden, which included Finland at the time, was different, however.  Separation from Denmark and Norway was final in 1523, with the coronation of Gustav I Vasa (reigned 1523-1560) as the King of Sweden after a war of liberation.

Also active in the war of liberation was Laurentius Andreae, also known as Lars Andersson (circa 1470-1552), who aided Gustav Vasa during the war of liberation then crowned him in 1523.  Andreae had studied in Skara and Uppsala before pursuing a Master’s degree at Rostock, Germany, and studying canon law in Rome.  By 1520 he had become the archdeacon of the Diocese of Strangnas.  On November 8 of that year King Christian II of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (reigned 1513-1523) ordered the execution of about 100 people in Stockholm.  Among the victims of the Stockholm Bloodbath, as it went down in history, was Bishop Mattias, Andreae’s superior.  Andreae  administrator of the diocese after that event.  He, the political engineer of the Swedish Reformation, served as the Vasa’s secretary (chief advisor) and a member of the council of state.

Andreae and the Petri brothers were leaders of the Swedish Reformation.  The Petris preached that Reformation, converting most of the population.  Olavus, whom Bishop Mattias had ordained to the diaconate, served as the secretary of the Stockholm city council for a time.  From 1531 to 1539 he was the chancellor of the realm, until Vasa removed him from that post.  Olavus had a strong personality and a mind of his own.  These were hazardous characteristics in the presence of Vasa, who charged Olavus and Andreae with treason and sentenced them to death in 1540.  The monarch pardoned and fined them two years later, but their political careers were over.  These two men locked horns with Vasa, who had favored Lutheranism for years but got around to making it mandatory in 1540.  They also liked Lutheranism yet opposed the monarch’s methods of religious reform.

Olavus, a priest since 1539, was the foremost theologian in Sweden.  He spent his final years (1542-1552) as pastor of the Storkyrkan (Great Church) of Stockholm and the first Lutheran minister in the city.

Olavus was the main author of the Swedish Reformation, with some help from his brother Laurentius and from Laurentius Andreae.  The three men collaborated on the project to translate the Bible into Swedish (New Testament, 1526; Old Testament, 1541).  Olavus prepared and published the first Swedish hymnal, Swedish Hymns and Songs (1526), containing probably 8 to 12 hymns.  He revised and expanded the hymnal in 1530 and 1536, increasing its contents to 46 hymns and an appendix containing songs about the Antichrist, in 1536.  Olavus’s books of sermons (1528 and 1530) proved influential in the Lutheran evangelization of Sweden also.

Olavus was an influential liturgist.  He published the first Swedish service book in 1529.  His was a conservative revision, retaining many Roman Catholic customs yet dropping, for example, the blessing from salt at baptism and omitting the rites for blessing food and candles.  He revised the service book in 1533 and 1537.  His brother Laurentius revised it in 1541, 1548, and 1557.  In 1531 Olavus published the Swedish-language order of the Mass, creating a participatory service for the congregation (a break with tradition) and rewriting the Eucharistic canon to remove any reference to the Mass as a sacrifice (another break with tradition).  It was appropriate that Olavus worked on that project, for the day of his wedding (February 11, 1525) was probably the occasion of the first vernacular Mass in Sweden.

[Aside:  I found a detailed explanation of Olavus’s Eucharistic theology and the Petris’ liturgical revisions in Frank C. Senn, Christian Liturgy:  Catholic and Evangelical (Minneapolis, MN:  Fortress Press, 1997), pages 403-418 and 467-470.  I refer you, O reader, to that text.]

Olavus was the “Father of Swedish Literature.”  Prior to 1526 fewer than ten published titles in the Swedish language existed.  Aside from the books I have written of already, Olavus’s catalogue of Swedish-language publications included Tobiae comedia (the first drama in Swedish) and the influential Chronicle, a work of Swedish history.  He also composed and translated hymns.  I have found a few of his hymns in English translations and added most of those to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  There was one hymn I found online but not in any of my old hymnals, so I have provided a link to “Thou, Jesus Christ, Didst Man Become.”

Laurentius Petri was able to maintain a better relationship with Vasa than his brother Olavus did, and for a longer period of time.  Laurentius, formerly professor of theology at the University of Uppsala, became the first Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala in 1531.  He died in office on October 27, 1573.  Laurentius proved crucial in maintaining Apostolic Succession in Sweden, for Vasa preferred to govern The Church of Sweden via superintendents while leaving bishoprics vacant.  Laurentius was able, eventually, via the church order of 1571, to help separate the Church from royal control.

Although Olavus edited the first three Swedish hymnals (1526, 1530, 1536), Laurentius became the “Father of Swedish Hymnody.”  He composed hymns, none of which I have found in English translations.  Laurentius also edited four editions (1543, 1549, 1567, and 1572) of The Swedish Psalm Book.

The Petri brothers were giants in The Church of Sweden.  Their influence has never ceased to be evident in Swedish Lutheranism, from hymns to living legacies in theological thought and liturgical practice.  They were indeed great men.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

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

thank you for those (especially Olavus Petri and Laurentius Petri)

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 Paul Eber (December 10)   1 comment

Paul Eber

Above:  Paul Eber

Image in the Public Domain

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PAUL EBER (NOVEMBER 8, 1511-DECEMBER 10, 1569)

German Lutheran Theologian and Hymn Writer

His hymns, some of them written for his own children to sing to Luther’s melodies, are distinguished for their childlike spirit and beautiful simplicity.

William Gustave Polack, The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1942), page 503

Paul Eber, author of seventeen hymns, was, among the Wittenberg poets, second only to Martin Luther (1483-1546).

Eber’s life entailed both joy and misfortune.  The son of a master tailor of Kitzingen, Bavaria, began to attend the gymnasium at Ansbach in 1523, at the age of eleven years.  In time, however, illness forced Eber to return home.  En route his horse threw him the dragged him for more than a mile.  This incident caused our saint to become deformed.  Life continued, and Eber studied under Martin Luther and Philipp Melancthon (1497-1560), the great systematic theologian, at Wittenberg University from 1532 to 1536.  In 1533 our saint married Helena Kuffnerin, who became the mother of his fourteen children.  On the professional side, Eber remained at Wittenberg, tutoring in philosophy at the university from 1536 to 1544, teaching Latin there from 1544 to 1557, teaching Hebrew there and serving as the preacher at the Castle Church from 1557 to 1558, and succeeding Johann Bugenhagen (1485-1558) as the town pastor of Wittenberg and the general superintendent of Saxony.  Eber, who received his Doctor of Theology degree in 1559, succeeded Melancthon as the leader of a school Lutheranism many Lutherans considered Crypto-Calvinistic.

Helena died in July 1569.  Our saint joined her in death on December 10 of that year.  His influence in Lutheran hymnody has never ceased, however.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Paul Eber and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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