A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Today the Church... - St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church | Facebook

Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann and Paul Gerhardt. Lutheran Commemoration of three famous hymnwriters. Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608) was an heroic pastor in Germany during the Great Plague that took the lives of thirteen hundred of his parishioners in six months. As a pastor near Dortmund, where his father had introduced the Reformation, he saw the Roman Catholic town council allow the Spanish invasion to reintroduce the Roman Mass. Nicolai’s Doctorate Degree in Theology was delayed when Crypto-Calvinists sought to supplant a Lutheran understanding of the Scriptures with Reformed (Calvinist) theology. Nicolai wrote the texts for Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying and O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright, known respectively as the king and queen of the Lutheran chorales. Johann Heermann (1585-1647) was also a German pastor and suffered from the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War, with plundering by Roman Catholic troops and pestilence. He was continually driven from his home, narrowly escaping death. An affliction of the throat forced him to stop preaching, with many thinking that he had been poisoned. However, he was able to write hymns of confident faith to be sung and loved by succeeding generations. As a hymnwriter of the Seventeenth Century, Heermann ranks second only to Gerhardt, his hymns marking a transition from the objective hymns of the Reformation to the more subjective type characterised by a depth of feeling and tenderness that is unsurpassed. Heermann wrote over four hundred hymns, including O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken. Paul Gerhardt (1607-76) was another Lutheran pastor who was the greatest of the Lutheran hymnwriters and endured the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War. He lost his pastoral position in Berlin for refusing to sign a pledge not to bring doctrinal discussion into sermons and remained without a parish for some years. During this time of trial, his wife and a son died, three of their children having died earlier. Amid affliction and the calamities of the Thirty Years’ War and its aftermath, Gerhardt wrote some of his hymns of faith and confidence and was able to translate orthodox doctrines in such a way that people could experience them with emotional warmth. His best-known hymn is his German translation and versification of a larger work by St Bernard of Clairvaux, O Sacred Head, Now Wounded, which has: “What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend, for this, Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end? Oh, make me thine forever and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for Thee.” Gerhardt also wrote All Christians Who Have Been Baptised and If God Himself Be for Me. Along with Martin Luther, Paul Gerhardt is regarded as one of Lutheranism’s finest hymnwriters and he wrote one hundred and thirty-three hymns, all of which reflect his firm faith. Image: facebook.com.

Prayer Almighty God, the apostle Paul taught us to praise You in psalms and hymns. We thank You this day for those who have given to Your Church great hymns, especially Your servants Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann and Paul Gerhardt. May Your Church never, ever lack such hymnwriters. Amen

S2E10 St. Cedd - YouTube

St Cedd (c620-664) (Evangelist of the Middle Angles and East Saxons in England, Cedda, Ceddus). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon monk and bishop. He was brought up on the island of Lindisfarne by Aidan of the Irish Church, who had come to Northumbria from Iona bringing with him a set of practices that are known as the Celtic Rite. Cedd was a significant participant in the Synod of Whitby, a meeting that resolved important differences within the Church in England. There was mutual incomprehension of people’s languages, which included Old Irish, Old English, Frankish, Old Welsh and Latin, and Cedd interpreted. He was known for his personal austerity and disregard for the trappings of wealth and power. He was sent with three other priests to evangelise the Middle Angles, one of the core ethnic groups of Mercia based in the mid-Trent Valley. They won numerous converts of all classes but made little immediate headway in the wider Mercian polity. Cedd was then sent on a mission with one other priest to the East Saxon kingdom to reconvert the people who had originally been converted at the turn of the century by St Augustine’s Roman missionaries from Canterbury but had seen the first bishop of that Roman Rite driven out of the area in 614, with the return of paganism. After making some conversions, Cedd returned to Lindisfarne and was ordained the 654 Bishop of the East Saxons in London, a position he occupied until his death. Cedd founded many churches and monasteries, including at Tilbury (Tilaburg) and Bradwell-on-Sea (Ithancester), and was appointed for the rest of his life as Abbot of the monastery of Lastingham in his native Northumbria, undertaking a forty-day fast to purify the site. He maintained his position as missionary bishop and diplomat and travelled widely. Cedd died of the plague at Lastingham on 26 October 664, along with almost everyone there, and was succeeded as abbot by his brother St Chad. His Lastingham shrine was destroyed under Danelaw (Danelagh, Danelaga), when the northern, central, and eastern regions of Anglo-Saxon England were colonised by invading Danish armies in the late Ninth Century. The shrine corresponds to the crypt of the present parish church. Venerated in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglicanism. Eastern Orthodox Church and Anglicanism celebration is 7 January. Patron of Essex, Lastingham and interpreters. Image: youtube.com.

Leyland Orthodox Church of The Holy Apostles - Eata of Hexham Eata, also  known as Eata of Lindisfarne, was Bishop of Hexham from 678 until 681, and  of then Bishop of Lindisfarne

St Eata (Eata of Hexham, Eata of Lindisfarne) (d686). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Sixth-Century Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon Catholic who was taken as a boy to Lindisfarne to be trained as a monk by Aidan. Eata was chosen as one of the twelve monks selected from Lindisfarne to found the new Celtic daughter monastery at Mailros (Old Melrose) around 640. In 651, Eata was elected Abbot of Melrose and around 658 he left to found a new monastery at Ripon, taking with him the young Cuthbert, who became his guest-master. In 661 King Alchfrith of Deira expelled Eata from Ripon, after appointing Wilfrid as the new Abbot. Eata returned to Melrose where he was the 678-682 Abbot, also being appointed the 678-81 Bishop of Hagustaldes ham (Hexham), the 678-82 Bishop of Bernicia and the 680-85 first native Northumbrian Bishop of Lindisfarne. In 684, Cuthbert was elected Bishop of Hexham and consecrated in York in 685 but he was reluctant to leave his hermitage on Inner Farne and went to see Eata, who was at Melrose, and Eata ceded his Lindisfarne see to Cuthbert to spend the last year of his life as Bishop of Hexham. Eata died of dysentery at Hexham on 26 October 686 and was buried in the Benedictine Abbey of Hexham. John of Beverley was consecrated Bishop of Hexham in 687. The historian Bede described Eata as a gentle and greatly revered man, an administrator who applied his skills at the time of plague, civil disorder and major ecclesiastical change. Eata is remembered in St Eats’ Chapel and St Eata’s Well, both in Alvie, on the south shore of Loch Alvie in Scotland. The only church dedicated to him in England is St Eata’s Church at Atcham in Shropshire, where he is depicted in one of the stained-glass windows. Image: m.facebook.com.