A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Johann von Staupitz - YouTube

St Johann von Staupitz OSA (c1460-1524). Lutheran Commemoration of the Saxony Roman Catholic priest of Czech ancestry, a theologian and university preacher who supervised Martin Luther during a critical period of his spiritual life. Luther remarked: “If it had not been for Dr Staupitz, I should have sunk in hell.” Staupitz was accepted into the Augustinian Order of Friars and promoted to the rank of Prior. He was made a Doctor of Theology and from 1503 to 1520 was Vicar General of the German Congregation of Augustinians. He released Luther from the Augustinian Order, preserving the good name of the Order whilst simultaneously giving Luther freedom to act. Staupitz was no Lutheran and was thoroughly Catholic in matters of faith, especially regarding the freedom of the will, the meritoriousness of good works and justification. In his last letter to Luther, Staupitz made it clear that he was bitter about the direction of the Reformation and its seemingly wilful destruction of the unity of the Christian Church. In 1522, he accepted an offer from the Benedictines to join their Order and become the Abbot of St Peter’s Abbey (Stift Sankt Peter) in Salzburg. He wrote theological works on the topics of predestination, faith and love, these texts being added to the Index of Prohibited Books as perhaps compromised by the friendly relations between Staupitz and Luther during Luther’s earlier years. Staupitz died on 28 December 1524 in St Peter’s Archabbey, Salzburg. Although Staupitz had remained Catholic and died a Benedictine monk who repudiated the Reformation, he is commemorated in the Lutheran Church Calendar of Saints – Missouri Synod. Image: youtube.com.

Kinneddar - Wikiwand

St Gervadius (Gartnait of Kinneddar) (dc934). Feast Day for Irish churchman who may have emigrated to present-day Scotland to escape Norse raids in his native land. He become part of a Tenth Century Gaelic religious community in Kenedor (present-day Kinneddar, Lossiemouth, Moray) and he had his oratory (cell) on a rocky promontory to the east. He laid the foundations for one of the major ecclesiastical sites of northern Pictland when he established himself as a hermit in a cave with a stone bed. Legend is that Gervadius lit flaming torches at night to warn ships away from the dangerous rocks along the shore at Holyman Head. Another is that, when he needed wood to complete the construction of a church, he was miraculously assisted by the river that had brought him food, which during a great storm washed timber down to where he was working. The Life of Gervadius states that he met with Anglo-Saxon soldiers sent by the English king Æthelstan when he invaded Scotland by land and sea with a large force in 934. Gervadius’ cave was a place of pilgrimage until the Scottish Reformation Parliament of 1560 approved a Protestant confession of faith and developed a predominantly Calvinist national Kirk (Church) that was strongly Presbyterian in its outlook. The cave survived into the Nineteenth Century, when it was quarried out. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion. Image: wikiwand.com.


St Willehad (Willehad of Bremen, Willihad  Willehadus, Willihadus) (735-89). Roman Catholic Feast Day commemorating the death of the Northumbrian Christian missionary educated at York under Ecgbert. After ordination, c766 he went to Frisia, preaching at Dokkum and in Overijssel to continue the missionary work of Boniface who had been martyred by the Frisians in 754. At an assembly in Paderborn in 777, Saxony was divided into missionary zones and the area of Wigmodia between the Weser and the Elbe was given to Willehad, who barely escaped with his life when the Frisians tried to kill him. He escaped to the area around Utrecht but, once again, he and his fellow missionaries nearly lost their lives when the local Pagans tried to kill them for destroying their temples. In 780, Charlemagne sent him to evangelise the Saxons but in 782 they rebelled against Charlemagne and Willehad was forced to flee to Frisia. He took the opportunity to travel to Rome where he reported to the Pope on his work. Upon his return from Rome, Willehad retired for a time to the monastery of Echternach in present-day Luxembourg and spent two years there reassembling his missionary team. After Charlemagne’s 785 partial conquest of the Saxons, Willehad preached in the region around the lower Elbe and the lower Weser and in 787 he was consecrated bishop for the part of Saxony and Friesland near the mouth of the Weser. He chose as his see the city of Bremen, which had been mentioned for the first time in documents of 782, and in 789 he built a wooden cathedral there, dedicated to St Peter, that was praised for its beauty. Willehad died in Blexen upon Weser, fifty miles north of Bremen, on 8  November 789 and was buried in the cathedral there, which he consecrated shortly before his death. His relics were lost during the Reformation. Anschar compiled a Life of Willehad and the preface was considered a masterpiece the age. In 860, a sick girl from Wege (Weyhe) travelled to Willehad’s grave and was reportedly cured by a miracle. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches. Major shrine Echternach, Luxembourg. Feast Day 13 July in Orthodox Church. Patron of Saxony. Image: jiscmail.ac.uk.