07 December 2008

New Commemorations in LSB

Among the most enjoyable aspects of the Lutheran Hymnal Project, for me, was the work of the Lectionary Committee on an expanded sanctoral cycle, that is, the calendar of festivals and commemorations that occur in the course of each year. There was some friendly debate, to begin with, as to whether we should develop a list of commemorations in addition to the small cycle of festivals the LCMS already had, but, by and large, the Committee was keen to do so. Then there was some vigorous discussion of the parameters to be followed and the extent to which we would expand the sanctoral cycle. The healthy give and take of our deliberations resulted in a solid list of commemorations and a couple new festivals, which, so far as I can tell, have been well received and really appreciated by the people of the Missouri Synod. I'm glad.

It was my privilege to gather the initial data from which our work on the commemorations proceeded. That's exactly the sort of work that appeals to me, and it was a lot of fun. After compiling it all and summarizing everything for the rest of the Committee, we went through the prospective names, one by one, discussing the merits of each and then either arriving at a clear consensus or voting to determine whether to include a name or not. I think that all of us were pleased with the end results, notwithstanding a few disappointments here and there. The list we arrived at, which now finds its place in the Lutheran Service Book, is fairly balanced and full. It also comprises another building block of the Treasury of Daily Prayer, the likes of which were very much in view as we worked on the new sanctoral cycle. In fact, it was largely for the sake of such a book that the list of commemorations was put together.

We wanted our list of commemorations to be broadly catholic in character. That meant, in part, including the saints who are recognized and remembered with thanksgiving by the majority of all Christians. It also meant that we had a desire to include Old Testament saints, as belonging to that great cloud of witnesses with which we are surrounded. And of course we always intended to incorporate some of the more significant Lutheran saints, who have also confessed the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith in the centuries since the Reformation. In every case, we were reluctant to invent "new" commemorations; we were eager, instead, to recover such days as the Church had observed to some degree or another in the past. There is, therefore, precedent for every festival and commemoration in the LSB sanctoral cycle.

We did not expect or demand that the precedent for Lutheran saints be extensive. There have always been "local saints," and this is roughly analogous for us, not along geographical but confessional lines. We similarly did not require extensive precedent for Old Testament saints, since there has been limited commemoration of those men and women who lived on earth prior to the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, we did not include anyone for whom we did not find at least some prior precedent.

One of the neat discoveries I made in the gathering of data was in the LCMS Lutheran Annuals of the past. For many, many decades, those Lutheran Annuals included the commemoration of saints (and historical events) for every single day of the year. Up until the 1940s, those commemorations reflected a traditional catholic piety, although there were a fair number of Old Testament saints included, interestingly, along with early and medieval figures. After the 1940s, the Lutheran Annuals tended to reflect a somewhat more parochial Lutheran "bias," which actually became pretty sectarian for a period of time in the 1950s, but broadened again in the 1960s. It wasn't until the late 1970s that the Lutheran Annual calendars became relatively sparse (apparently in reaction to the extensive list of commemorations in the Lutheran Book of Worship, at least some of which were questionable).

In addition to the old Lutheran Annuals, there was precedent for the commemoration of Old Testament saints to be found in various Eastern Orthodox calendars, and in books (by Englebert and Hoever) on the Lives of the Saints (drawing on broad Roman Catholic traditions). Along with these sources, I gathered data especially from the revised Roman Catholic sanctoral cycle, the current Anglican calendar, and the commemorations of the Lutheran Book of Worship.

In compiling all of this data, there were various cases of strong consensus across confessional lines, and other cases of divergence. There are some saints remembered across the board, but on different days of the year. We tried to be sensitive to those differences and to handle them as carefully as possible. Where there was an LCMS tradition to be found in the old Lutheran Annuals, we tended to preference those dates over others, barring a strong contrary consensus. In the commemoration of Eastern saints, we tended to preference the Eastern dates, where we could do so. Sometimes there were multiple commemorations competing for the same date. So we had to make some judgment calls, and I know that not everyone would agree with every choice.

The most frequently asked question, understandably, is why Martin Chemnitz (9 Nov) and Philip Melanchthon (16 Feb) are commemorated on their natural birth dates rather than their heavenly birthdays (that is, the dates on which they died, respectively). There was some precedent for remembering their birth dates, as indicated in the summary of sources below; but their death dates were also included on the old Lutheran Annual calendars, so why not use those? The difficulty was that their death dates always occur in the Time of Easter, when it is much harder to keep the days of the sanctoral cycle in view (due to the shifting date of Easter from one year to the next). Because Chemnitz and Melanchthon are or particular importance to Lutheran history and piety, and their birth dates do not always fall during the Time of Easter (Chemnitz's never does; Melanchthon's sometimes does, but not always), those dates were deemed a better way to go, especially in view of the prior precedent for remembering those men on those dates. Again, this was done with a view toward what has now been published as the Treasury of Daily Prayer, in which the commemorations occurring outside the Time of Easter are nicely incorporated with the regular daily propers; whereas the commemorations occuring within the Time of Easter are necessarily set apart in a separate section.

Anyway, with all of that pre-ramble in mind, here are the new commemorations (and festivals) included in the LSB, along with an indication of the precedent that was found for each. Hopefully, for those who are interested, it will not be too tricky to interpret the data.

4 Dec - John of Damascus
Roman; Anglican; Eastern
LCMS pre-1940s (11 Dec)

6 Dec - Nicholas of Myra
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LBW; LCMS pre-1940s

7 Dec - Ambrose of Milan
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LBW
LCMS pre- and post-1940s (4 Apr)

13 Dec - Lucia
Roman; Anglican; LCMS pre-1940s

17 Dec - Daniel and the Three Young Men
Eastern
Englebert (21 July)
LCMS pre-1940s (10 Apr)

19 Dec - Adam & Eve
Englebert
LCMS pre-1940s (24 Dec)

20 Dec - Katharina von Bora Luther
LCMS pre- and post-1940s

29 Dec - David
Englebert
LCMS pre-1940s (30 Dec)

2 Jan - J. K. Wilhelm Löhe
LBW; LCMS post-1940s

10 Jan - Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa
Roman
Eastern (1 Jan / 10 Jan / 25 Jan)
Anglican (2 Jan / 19 July)
LCMS post-1940s (14 June)

20 Jan - Sarah
LCMS pre-1940s

27 Jan - John Chrysostom
LCMS pre- and post-1940s
Eastern (30 Jan / 13 Nov)
Roman; Anglican; LBW (13 Sept)

5 Feb - Jacob (Israel)
Englebert

10 Feb - Silas (Silvanus)
LCMS pre-1940s
LBW (26 Jan)
Eastern (30 July)

13 Feb - Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos
Eastern (13 Feb / 30 Mar)

14 Feb - Valentine
Anglican; (popular awareness)

15 Feb - Philemon and Onesimus
Eastern (15 Feb / 19 Feb)
LCMS pre-1940s (16 Feb / 8 Mar)

16 Feb - Philip Melanchthon
LCMS post-1940s

23 Feb - Polycarp of Smyrna
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LBW
LCMS pre-1940s (26 Jan)

7 Mar - Perpetua and Felicitas
Roman; Anglican; LBW; LCMS pre- and post-1940s
Eastern (1 Feb)

17 Mar - Patrick
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LBW
(popular awareness)

19 Mar - Festival of St. Joseph
Roman; Anglican; LBW; LCMS pre-1940s

31 Mar - Joseph, Son of Jacob
Eastern

6 Apr - Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer
LBW; LCMS post-1940s

20 Apr - Johannes Bugenhagen
LCMS pre- and post-1940s

21 Apr - Anselm of Canterbury
Roman; Anglican; LBW; LCMS post-1940s

24 Apr - Johann Walter
LCMS post-1940s

2 May - Athanasius of Alexandria
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LBW; LCMS post-1940s

4 May - Friedrich Wyneken
LCMS pre- and post-1940s

5 May - Frederick the Wise
LCMS pre- and post-1940s

9 May - Job
LCMS pre-1940s
Englebert (10 May)
Eastern (6 May)

11 May - Cyril and Methodius
Eastern
Roman; Anglican; LBW (14 Feb)

21 May - Constantine and Helena
Eastern

24 May - Esther
LCMS pre-1940s

25 May - Venerable Bede
Roman; Anglican

1 June - Justin Martyr
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LBW
LCMS post-1940s (12 June)

5 June - Boniface of Mainz
Roman; Anglican; LBW

12 June - Council of Nicaea
Eastern
LCMS post-1940s (19 June)

14 June - Elisha
Eastern; Englebert; LCMS pre-1940s

26 June - Jeremiah
LCMS pre-1940s
Eastern; Englebert (1 May)

27 June - Cyril of Alexandria
Roman; Anglican
Eastern (18 Jan / 9 June)

28 June - Irenaeus of Lyons
Roman; Anglican; LBW; LCMS post-1940s
Eastern (23 Aug)

6 July - Isaiah
Englebert; LCMS pre-1940s
Eastern (9 May)

16 July - Ruth
LCMS pre-1940s

20 July - Elijah
Eastern; Englebert; LCMS pre-1940s

21 July - Ezekiel
Eastern
Englebert (10 Apr)
LCMS pre-1940s (11 Apr)

28 July - Johann Sebastian Bach
LBW; LCMS pre- and post-1940s

29 July - Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany
Roman; Anglican; LBW
LCMS pre-1940s (27 July / 17 Dec)
Eastern (4 June)

30 July - Robert Barnes
added by the Commission on Worship

31 July - Joseph of Arimathea
Eastern

3 Aug - Joanna, Mary and Salome, Myrrhbearers
Eastern (3 Aug / 27 June / 19 June / 23 May)
LCMS pre-1940s (8 Feb / 24 Oct / 2 Oct)

16 Aug - Isaac
LCMS pre-1940s
Hoever (20 Dec)

17 Aug - Johann Gerhard
LCMS pre- and post-1940s

19 Aug - Bernard of Clairvoux
Roman; Anglican; LBW: (20 Aug)
LCMS pre-1940s (21 May)

20 Aug - Samuel
Eastern; Englebert
LCMS pre-1940s (26 Aug)

27 Aug - Monica
Roman; Anglican
LBW (4 May)

28 Aug - Augustine of Hippo
Roman; Anglican; LBW; LCMS pre- and post-1940s
Eastern (15 June)

29 Aug - Festival of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LCMS pre-1940s

1 Sept - Joshua
Eastern
LCMS pre-1940s (30 Apr)

2 Sept - Hannah
LCMS pre-1940s
Eastern (9 Dec / 23 July)

3 Sept - Gregory the Great
Roman; Anglican
Eastern; LCMS pre-1940s (12 Mar)

4 Sept - Moses
Eastern; Englebert

5 Sept - Zacharias and Elizabeth
Eastern

16 Sept - Cyprian of Carthage
Roman
LCMS post-1940s (14 Sept)
Eastern (5 July / 31 Aug)

22 Sept - Jonah
Eastern
LCMS pre-1940s (12 Nov)

30 Sept - Jerome
Roman; Anglican; LBW; LCMS pre- and post-1940s
Eastern (15 June)

7 Oct - Henry Melchior Muhlenberg
LBW
LCMS pre- and post-1940s (7 Oct / 6 Sept)

9 Oct - Abraham
Eastern
Hoever (20 Dec)
LCMS pre-1940s (11 Sept)

11 Oct - Philip the Deacon
Eastern

17 Oct - Ignatius of Antioch
Roman; Anglican; LBW
Eastern (20 Dec)
LCMS pre- and post-1940s (15 Dec)

23 Oct - Festival of St. James of Jerusalem
Eastern; LBW; WELS

25 Oct - Tabitha (Dorcas), Lydia and Phoebe
Eastern
LBW (27 Jan)
LCMS pre-1940s (3 Aug)

26 Oct - Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann and Paul Gerhardt
LBW
LCMS post-1940s (10 Aug / 11 Oct / 27 Feb)

8 Nov - Johannes von Staupitz
LCMS pre-1940s

9 Nov - Martin Chemnitz
LCMS post-1940s

11 Nov - Martin of Tours
Roman; Anglican; Eastern; LBW; LCMS pre-1940s

14 Nov - Justinian
Eastern

19 Nov - Elizabeth of Hungary
LCMS pre- and post-1940s
Roman; LBW (17 Nov)
Anglican (18 Nov)

23 Nov - Clement of Rome
Roman; Anglican; LBW; LCMS pre-1940s
Eastern (24/25 Nov)

29 Nov - Noah
LCMS pre-1940s

3 comments:

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Rick:

Any explanation for the absence of St. Francis of Assisi in the LSB calendar?

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

I don't remember any of the specific reasons for which St. Francis was not included in the LSB Commemorations. His name was among those that I proposed for the Committee's consideration, on the basis of the data I compiled. As I have said, there was vigorous discussion and healthy give and take in arriving at the decissions we did.

Having gone back through the data this past week, I'm putting together a list of additional commemorations that some people might be interested in making a part of their personal piety and devotion. St. Francis will almost certainly be on that list, simply because there is such a strong precedent for his remembrance.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

For the sake of clarification, since I continue to catch flack over it (even if not directed at me personally): The intention, with Martin Chemnitz and Philip Melanchthon, was NOT that their birthdays be commemorated per se, but that they themselves would be remembered with thanksgiving on those dates (for the reasons indicated above). There is a difference. Many of the saints are commemorated on some date other than that of their death. It is sort of a shame, actually, that "(birth)" was parenthentically indicated after their names on the LSB calendar. That was simply a carryover from the way that I presented the data to the Lectionary Committee.