Spiritual Heroes

Spiritual Heroes for Commemoration at Communion

January 1: Holy Name of Jesus—Perhaps as a counterbalance to the ancient pagan festivities around the New Year, the Church came to associate January 1st with the naming of Jesus at his circumcision (Luke 2:21).

January 3: Takashi Nagai (1908-1951)—Mystic of Nagasaki. Nagai witnessed the atomic blast over his city. His wife’s charred remains were found in the Catholic cathedral, rosary clasped in her hands. As a physician he worked tirelessly for the survivors. When the radiation left him an invalid he became a contemplative, devoting himself to a life of prayer.

January 5: Lanza del Vasto (1901-1981)—Founder of the Community of the Ark and Catholic follower of Gandhi. He was raised in a wealthy Italian family. In his search for meaning in life he traveled to India and studied with Gandhi. Upon returning to the West he was determined to bring a message of peace and nonviolence that was rooted in his Catholic faith.

January 6: The Epiphany of Jesus—the day traditionally associated with the arrival of the Magi to visit the baby Jesus.

January 7: Felix and Mary Barreda (d. 1983)—Lay apostles and martyrs in Nicaragua. While helping with the coffee harvest, an act they knew to entail great risk, they were abducted by the Contras and subjected to repeated torture, rape, and finally execution. Their interrogators tried to get them to say they were communists, but they insisted they were only Christians living out their faith. They had been active in the Cursillo renewal movement and led a “base community” group in their home. Their commitment to justice and working with the poor grew out of their faith and reading Scripture. The people proclaimed them martyrs who laid down their lives for the Gospel.

January 13: George Fox (1624-1691)—Founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Fox proclaimed a simple message to the people of England, and suffered imprisonment and persecution for it. He taught that Christians should live simply, not swear any oaths, not make distinctions of social class, and to oppose war and violence. He opposed ordination of clergy or the use of formal forms of worship. The measure of a person’s faith was not in theology or even the Bible, but in their own personal spiritual experience. His followers became known as Quakers, a group which represented the left wing of Puritanism that believed in a divine, Inward Light (“that of God” in every person).

January 21: St. Agnes (d. 304?)— Traditionally, a young teenager from a wealthy Roman family who refused to marry or to worship non-Christian deities. She was condemned first to a house of prostitution, and then to death.

January 22: Alexander Men (1935-1990)—Russian Orthodox priest and martyr. As Russia entered a phase of rapid change under Gorbachev, reactionary forces murdered him with an ax blow to his head while on his way to church.

January 24: St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)—Bishop of Geneva. Despite his parent’s wish for him to become a lawyer, Francis felt called to the priesthood. He was sent to Geneva, a stronghold of Protestant Calvinism where Catholics were persecuted. Rather than respond defensively, Francis chose to demonstrate love and self-sacrifice in the face of hatred. He helped found an order in which women, rather than living separate cloistered lives, became engaged in helping people in need. He taught that the path to holiness was open to lay persons in the world, not just the clergy. He is known as the patron saint of writers.

January 24: Florence Li-Tim Oh – the first woman ordained to the priesthood in the Anglican Communion (Hong Kong, 1944).

January 25: The Conversion of St. Paul – Thirteen books of the New Testament claim to be written by the Apostle Paul (and a fourteenth was once thought to be written by Paul as well). Today, scholarly consensus is that Paul actually only wrote seven epistles that made it into the New Testament. In any case, Paul wrote more than any other single author in our New Testament, and his writings predate the gospels. The First Letter to the Thessalonians is thought to be the oldest book in the New Testament. According to scripture, Paul was a lay scholar who violently opposed the Jesus Movement but who on the Damascus Road had a mystical experience of Christ and thereafter claimed to be an Apostle commissioned by the Risen Christ to call others to follow the Christ-Way.

January 26: Timothy & Titus – Companions of the Apostle Paul. The first and second letters to Timothy and the Letter to Titus in the New Testament are traditionally considered to be authored by Paul. We now believe that those three letters were written 50-100 years after the Apostle Paul’s death.

January 27: St. John Chrysostom (349 CE – 407 CE) – Bishop of Constantinople.

January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 CE – 1274 CE) – Theologian and Dominican Friar. His Summa Theologiae was the first attempt to write a complete, systematic theology. He was influenced by the Greek philosophy of Aristotle.

January 30: Mohandas K. Gandi (1869 – 1948) – Proponent of non-violent resistance to systems of oppression. His philosophy and activism sparked the movement for Indian independence from Great Britain. He was a Hindu but also an admirer of Jesus Christ (though he rejected the dogmatic claims of Christianity) and his example inspired U.S. Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

February 2: Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Candlemas)—Today remembers the story of Jesus’ parents taking him into the Temple, where he was blessed by Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22-40). This reminds us of the Jewish law (Exodus 13:2; 22:29) that every firstborn son was to be dedicated in memory of the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. This feast has had several different names, including Candlemas. In some traditions candles are brought to the church on this day to be blessed.

February 3: St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)—Cistercian abbot. Aelred wrote freely of his feelings for his friends and fellow monks. While it is not known if he had any romantic relationships, it is clear that he was strongly attracted to men. He had a very positive attitude toward creation and humanity, and was comfortable embracing his own feminine side. He developed a theology of friendship, and is today the patron saint of Integrity, a lesbian and gay organization for Episcopalians. (He died on January 12, however this date is used by his order.)

February 4: Cornelius the Centurion—The story of Cornelius is told in Acts 10-11. He was an important military leader and a deeply religious person who was interested in Judaism. His story is significant in the growth of the early church because he and his family were among the first Gentile converts, thereby opening the door for the message of Jesus to spread throughout the Roman Empire. His story is significant for gay and lesbian people because of Peter’s vision, which led him to go to Caesarea and visit this Gentile home. This vision led Peter to understand that, despite the laws of Leviticus, there was a higher law of love: “God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.”

February 8: Martin Buber (1878-1965)— Jewish philosopher and theologian. Buber had a strong impact in reminding Christianity of its Jewish origins. He wrote that Jesus exemplified the highest ethical and spiritual ideals of Judaism. He was a champion of interfaith dialogue. He was influenced by the Hasidic movement in Eastern Europe and he believed that Jews and Arabs could find a just way to live together.

February 11: Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915)—Hymn writer and musician. Though she went blind at six weeks of age, Fanny Crosby became one of the most prolific hymn writers in America. She eventually wrote more than 8,000 hymns. Her hymns speak of a personal devotion to Christ. Among those that have been deeply loved (especially in Evangelical churches) include: “Blessed Assurance,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” and “To God be the Glory.”

February 13: Absolom Jones (1746 – 1818) – a former slave that would become the first African American Episcopal Priest in the newly formed United States of America. Jones preached that God was a loving Parent who always took the side of “the oppressed and distressed.”

February 14: St. Valentine (d. 269)—Martyr. Though St. Valentine has long since removed from the lists of ‘official’ saints, Valentine’s Day has been taken over by the greeting card industry and become fixed in the popular calendar of most people. It seems to have its origins in England, where it was noted that birds began to pair and mate around the feast of St. Valentine. The original Valentine was likely a Christian priest in Rome who was beheaded for refusing to renounce his faith. He gave his heart to his God, his divine lover.

February 16: Janani Luwum (1924-1977)—Anglican Archbishop of Uganda and martyr. Luwum was Archbishop of Uganda during the dictatorship of General Idi Amin. He was not the type to be drawn toward social justice issues or protests; he tried at first to maintain a neutral stance of cooperation. Luwum realized the church could no longer stand silently by as Amin’s paranoid reign of terror led to the murder of tens of thousands. He was confronted with trumped up charges, and when ordered to sign a confession he responded by praying. This sent Amin into a rage, and he drew a pistol and executed Luwum himself.

February 18: Martin Luther (1483-1546)—Reformer of the Church. Originally trained as a lawyer, Luther was ordained a priest and taught theology at the University of Wittenberg. He was tormented by an unrelieved sense of guilt, and suffered from what we would today describe as clinical depression. Contrary to Catholic teachings of the time, he declared that salvation was by God’s grace through faith alone. His ‘protests’ were the foundation of the Protestant Reformation, which by the time of his death had spread through much of Europe. In recent years Lutheran-Catholic dialogues have found common ground in each other’s teachings. Luther was also a musician, and his most famous hymn was “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

February 20: Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)— Abolitionist. Born into slavery, Douglass managed to escape to the North and freedom. There he became a champion of the abolitionist movement as he lectured across the United States and Europe. He was noted for his amazing oratorical skills. Although a lay preacher in the AME Zion church, he became increasingly critical of the silence of much of Christianity regarding slavery.

February 25: Felix Varela (1788-1853)— Cuban priest and theologian. Long revered as a champion of justice in his native Cuba, Varela spent most of his ministry in exile in New York, having argued for the independence of Cuba from Spain, and the abolition of slavery. He was the first Hispanic theologian in the US, and died in St. Augustine, Florida. His tomb was visited by José Martí, who called him a “Cuban saint.” His remains were later returned to Cuba, where he is still honored.

March 2: John and Charles Wesley (1703-1791, 1707-1788)—Anglican priests and founders of Methodism. While attending Oxford, John and Charles founded the “Holy Club” to practice the worship and discipline of the Prayer Book. They were so strict they were given the nickname “methodists.” Both became Anglican priests, but later had experiences of inner conversion, which John described as having his heart “strangely warmed.” They began a revival in England that spread to the Americas, organizing local groups that met in homes for prayer and study. When thrown out of local churches for being too “enthusiastic” they turned to preaching on the streets. John created a synthesis of sacramental faith, a personal religion of the heart, and an active concern for social justice. Charles is remembered for writing over 6,000 hymn texts, including “Christ the Lord is risen today,” “O for a thousand tongues to sing,” and “Hark the herald angels sing.”

March 5: Karl Rahner (1904-1984)—Theologian. Probably the most influential Catholic theologian of the 20th century, Rahner was a Jesuit who worked to build bridges between Christian faith and the modern world. He believed that all human existence was rooted in the holy and infinite mystery of God. He tried to reduce the divisions between faith and science, the church and the world, and emphasized grace as a relationship. He played a critical role in the Second Vatican Council.

March 7: Ss. Perpetua and Felicity (d. 203)—Martyrs. Perpetua, who came from a wealthy family in North Africa, and Filicity, her friend and servant, were martyred at Carthage during a period of Roman persecutions. Despite the pleadings of her family and the prospect of being torn apart by savage animals, Perpetua refused to renounce her Christian faith. In death they comforted each other, and in one final act before the jeering crowds they kissed each other. Writings about their death were wildly popular in the early church, and are important for reflecting the perspective of an independent woman of faith who claimed her own identity and vocation despite the demands of a patriarchal society.

March 7: Paramahansa Yogananda (1883 – 1952) – a spiritual teacher who emphasized each individual’s ability to experience Truth for herself or himself rather than relying on inherited or “blind” belief. He believed every individual has the ability to experience the Divine directly and should rely on that experience more than on religious dogma. Yoga was one of the spiritual disciplines he practiced and taught.

March 10: Harriet Tubman (1820?-1913)—Abolitionist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped to the North in 1849. In the next 10 years she made 19 trips into the South, leading 300 slaves to freedom. Soon she was known as ‘Moses.’ During the Civil War she served as a spy, scout, and nurse. Later she worked for the cause of women’s suffrage. She was a member of the AME Zion Church.

March 14: Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977)—Prophet of freedom. Raised in a family of sharecroppers in rural Mississippi, Hamer rose up as a prophet to challenge the oppression of segregation and poverty. At the age of 45 she attended a civil rights rally and committed herself to the freedom movement. On several occasions she was arrested and beaten, but despite the dogs, fire hoses, clubs, and bombs she drew on her deep faith and vision of justice to challenge the powers of oppression. She died of breast cancer.

March 14: Nona Brooks (1861 – 1945) – a major figure in the New Thought movement and one of the founders of the Divine Science Church.

March 17: St. Patrick (389-461)—Bishop and missionary of Ireland. This day is mostly known as a celebration of Irish pride and culture, rather than a remembrance of the historic Patrick. He was born into a Christian family in late Roman Britain. At 16 he was captured by Irish raiders and taken into slavery, where his only consolation was his Christian faith. Years later he escaped and returned to England, where he eventually became a Bishop. He felt called back to Ireland, and there was able to spread the Christian faith by working through the tribal leaders.

March 19: St. Joseph—Little is known about Joseph, apart from the Nativity stories in Matthew and Luke. He is pictured as a person of deep faith, open to mystical experiences, who had great compassion. As a carpenter he is known as the patron saint of working folk. His family home was said to be in Nazareth.

March 21: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)—Writer of Sacred Music. He was a devout Lutheran and had a deep devotion to the Bible. In each manuscript he began by writing the initials “J.J.” (Jesu Juva, “Help me, Jesus”) or “I.N.J.” (In Nomine Jesu, “In the name of Jesus”), and ended with “S.D.G.” (Solo Deo Gloria, “To God alone the glory.”). His chorales have been compared to the stained glass windows of a cathedral.

March 24: Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980)—Martyr of El Salvador. As the violence of the death squads escalated Romero experienced a personal transformation as the voice of the poor and a fearless champion of justice. He was unafraid to confront the political, military, and even religious forces of oppression. The masses of poor found in him a shepherd who loved them. He was assassinated at the altar while saying Mass in a hospital.

March 25: The Annunciation to Mary, the Blessed Lady—Luke tells the story (1:26-38) of the visit of an angel to announce to a young Jewish girl that she would give birth to the messiah. The Church, from its very beginning, has given to Mary a place of honor for being the mother of Jesus.

March 26: Bishop Richard Allen (1760-1831)—Founder of African Methodist Episcopal Church. Born a slave, Allen was sold to a Methodist farmer and was converted. After purchasing his freedom he felt called to preach. He felt the needs of African-Americans were best suited by the message of hope he heard in the Wesleyan movement. After many years of struggle against white control of Black churches, in 1816 he organized the first major black denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

March 27: Meister Eckhart (1260-1329)—Dominican theologian and mystic. Eckhart’s writings were largely condemned in his lifetime, however he is today seen as a prophet of modern spirituality. He wrote in mystical and paradoxical terms of the union of the soul with God, of a God-consciousness that is attained only by emptying and detachment. His thoughts show many similarities to Zen Buddhism. He liked to say “Do not cling to the symbols, but get to the inner truth!”

March 29: Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772) – Swedish scientist, philosopher, and Christian mystic. His writings influenced William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Balzac, and Helen Keller. His writings also offer the theological framework for the Swedenborgian Church.

March 30: Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990)—African-American Franciscan. Thea Bowman was born in rural Mississippi. As a nun she worked to integrate her Catholic faith and her identity as an African-American woman. Being the only black face in a white religious order she tended to stand out! Rather than conforming to European models, she was determined to express her black cultural identity, but as a Catholic. She earned a doctorate in English, and was known as a spellbinding preacher. In her final struggle with breast cancer, her prayer was “Lord, let me live until I die.”

April 4: Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)—Apostle of freedom and renewer of society. Martin earned first a Bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, then a Master’s degree from Crozier Divinity School, and finally a Ph.D. in Theology from Boston University. Later he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was the spiritual leader of the modern Civil Rights movement. Inspired by the example of Gandhi, he led a campaign of nonviolent resistance to racial segregation, racism and poverty. He is best remembered for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech given at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was repeatedly jailed and in 1968 he was assassinated in Memphis, TN.

April 7: Ernest Holmes (1887-1960) – Founder of Religious Science. Holmes was an influential figure in the New Thought movement. After studying philosophy and world religions independently, working with his brother who was a Congregational minister, and becoming ordained in the Divine Science movement, Holmes wrote The Science of Mind and later started the Religious Science Church.

April 9: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)—Theologian and martyr. Bonhoeffer was deeply committed to the ideals of Christian community. He helped organize resistance to the Nazi takeover of German churches. When the Confessing Church movement was snuffed out he was imprisoned for his participation in the plot to kill Hitler. Influenced by the Social Gospel movement in America, he later wrote in prison of the need for a “religionless Christianity.” His writings have been a major influence on Christian Ethics in our time.

James Dillet Freeman (1912-2003) – the “Poet Laureate” of the Unity School of Christianity. He composed the prayer: The Light of God surrounds us; the love of God enfolds us. The power of God protects us; the presence of God watches over us. Wherever we are, God is!” Not only is that prayer used in the Sunshine Cathedral liturgy (and in worship services elsewhere), it was taken to the moon in 1969!

April 10: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)—Mystic and scientist. A French Jesuit priest, Teilhard was both one of the most creative theological minds of the 20th century and an immanent scientist. He did extensive work in geology and paleontology in China, helping to discover the remains of “Peking Man.” He sought to develop a synthesis of science and religion, integrating the theory of evolution with a cosmic vision of Christ at the heart of the cosmos. His writings, seminal to the development of Process Theology, were suppressed by the Vatican during his lifetime.

April 23: Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)—Farmworker. Raised in a family of Mexican-American migrant workers, Chavez transformed a local labor struggle into a moral cause that challenged the conscience of the nation. He was committed to absolute nonviolence, and was supported by many religious leaders. Inspired by a priest who gave him a passion for justice, and a community activist who taught him how to organize, he became the driving force in founding the United Farmworkers Union.

April 25: St. Mark the Evangelist—Evangelist. The writer of the oldest gospel in our canon. Mark’s gospel was written around 70 CE.

April 27: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) – American essayist, philosopher, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the early 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid 1800s.

April 28: Oskar Schindler (1908-1974)—“Righteous Gentile.” Here is an example of a person who is remembered not for being holy (living a religious or virtuous life), but rather for being used by God in doing something holy. Schindler was a German industrialist who made a fortune on the labor of Jews in his factory. Although raised as a Catholic, he was not religious. For reasons which have never been clear, and at great personal risk, he used his power and influence to save the lives of 1,100 men, women, and children during WW2. At the end of the war he was impoverished. Today he is buried in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial) among the “Righteous Gentiles.”

April 29: St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)—Doctor of the Church. An Italian mystic, teacher, and nun, Catherine devoted herself to serving the poor and sick around her. She experienced ecstatic visions and was believed to have received the sign of the stigmata.

May 1: St. Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)—Priest. Thomas was a simple Augustinian monk whose life is not remembered so much as his writings. His best known work on the spiritual life is The Imitation of Christ, a classic that has been influential among both Protestants and Catholics. He emphasized that our actions are far more important than our knowledge: “At the Day of Judgment we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done.”

May 6: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)—Naturalist and social critic. While his writings were largely ignored in his lifetime, Thoreau’s thoughts on social justice, freedom, and civil disobedience were to later influence Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. A fiercely independent nonconformist, he followed no particular religion, but has been described as something of a Taoist sage. His mystical rapture with nature speaks to us today in our ecological concerns.

May 8: Blessed Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)—Mystic. Few details are known of the life of Dame Julian, a recluse who was famed as a spiritual counselor. She is best known for writing Revelations of Love Divine, the first book written in English by a woman. At the age of 30 she became gravely ill, but recovered following a series of visions of Christ. She spoke of God as our Creator, Protector, and Lover, and wrote of the motherhood of both God and of Jesus, emphasizing the goodness of creation and God’s mercy toward the weak. “As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother.”

May 16: Thomas Troward (1847-1916) – Judge (in India) and New Thought pioneer, Troward influenced such thinkers as Emmet Fox and Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes.

May 17: Blessed Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947)—Ex-slave and nun. Born in the African nation of Sudan, at the age of nine Bakhita was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Eventually she was bought by a family who took her back to Italy. Upon hearing the gospel she understood that God meant for her to be free. She went to court to gain her freedom, and then discovered that slavery was illegal in Italy! She was then baptized and took religious vows as a nun. She spent her life serving others, and became famous for her quiet faith.

May 22: Rabbi Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760)—Founder of Hasidism. He proclaimed a mysticism of the everyday. In each task and moment there is a spark of the divine holiness of God. The spirit in which one lives is more important than following a set of laws. Although most were murdered by the Nazis, vibrant Hasidic communities thrive today in Israel and the US.

May 27: John Calvin (d. 1564)—Founder of Reformed movement. Calvin was trained at the University of Paris in theology, law, and humanism. Fleeing religious persecution he moved to Switzerland, where he converted to Protestantism. He instituted religious and political reforms that were copied across Europe. Known as a scholar and preacher, he emphasized the absolute sovereignty and grace of God.

May 28: Charles Ludlam (1943 – 1987) – Off-Broadway director, playwright, and actor who founded the Ridiculous Theatre Company in New York City in 1967. Not really religious, Ludlam all the same had a religious like devotion to his art and found spiritual strength, honesty, and empowerment from sharing his art. He was an openly gay man and in 1987 he died from AIDS related complications.

May 30: St. Joan of Arc (1412?-1431)—Maid of Orleans and martyr. A young peasant girl, Joan believed she was being led by angelic voices to restore the French throne. Dressed as a soldier, she led the French army in several victories, until finally being captured by the English. In a church trial she was accused of heresy and witchcraft, and burned at the stake at the age of 19.

May 31: Visitation of the Mary, the Blessed Lady—This day celebrates the visit of Mary with her cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant herself with John the Baptizer (Luke 1:39-56).

June 1: St. Justin of Rome (c. 167)—Philosopher and Martyr. Justin came from a gentile family in Samaria. He studied all the major religious and philosophical movements of his day, eventually deciding to become a Christian. He saw Christian faith as the fulfillment of Greek philosophy. He later settled in Rome and, upon refusing to sacrifice to the gods, was scourged and beheaded.

June 3: Blessed John XXIII (1881-1963)—Modernizer of the Church. When John was elected Pope he was expected to be no more than a transitional figure. In a brief pontificate of less than five years, John was able to bring about sweeping changes by opening the church up to positive dialogue with the modern world. John convened Vatican II (only the second council since the 16th century) as a pastoral council to address Christian unity, world peace, and the needs of the poor.

June 7: Seattle (1786?-1866)—Chief of the Suquamish. As a child growing up on Puget Sound, Seattle witnessed the arrival of the first white settlers. When he became chief he tried to use peaceful dialogue, rather than violence, to coexist with the increasing demands of the new settlers. He and his people converted to Christianity, but he came to see that there were fundamental spiritual differences between his people and the settlers, especially in our relationship with the earth. He understood that “to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.”

June 12: Anne Frank (1929-1945)—Witness of the Holocaust. During the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, Ann Frank’s family remained in hiding for two years. At the age of 13 she took her school books and a diary into captivity with her. There she recorded not only their day to day struggle for survival, but her personal growth as a young woman who could find hope in the face of hopelessness. Shortly after turning fifteen they were discovered and she was sent to her death in the concentration camps.

June 25: Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929)—Indian Christian mystic. Sundar Singh came from a wealthy family in northern India which followed the Sikh faith. As a teenager he had a mystical vision of Christ addressing him in Hindustani. For becoming a Christian he was turned out into the streets. He wore the robes of an Indian holy man, wandering across the country preaching the Gospel. He often taught in parables, and like Jesus attracted large crowds. He saw in Jesus a model for bridging the spiritual wisdom of the East and West.

June 27: Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

June 29: St. Peter and St. Paul—Apostles. Peter was a commercial fisher known for being quite impetuous. Jesus gave him the nickname of ‘rock,’ and in the Catholic tradition he is considered the first Pope. Paul, on the other hand, was not one of Jesus’ original followers. He helped persecute the first Christians. After his conversion he was primarily responsible for spreading the “Gospel” to non-Jews across the Roman Empire. He wrote the first books of the Christian Scriptures as letters to churches he founded. He and Peter often did not get along. Peter and Paul both are thought to have been executed in Rome.

July 5: Charles Fillmore – Founder of the Unity School of Christianity. Known for his allegorical interpretations and practical application of scripture, Charles was called an “American mystic.” After attributing a physical healing to spiritual practices, Charles (with his wife Myrtle) founded the Unity Church and movement.

July 6: Jan Hus (1372-1415)—Czech reformer and martyr. Born to a poor peasant family, Hus was ordained a priest and eventually became rector of Prague University. Long before the Protestant Reformation, Hus was an enormously popular and fiery preacher who spoke against corruption in the medieval church and translated the Bible into Czech. When he refused to stop preaching he was excommunicated, jailed, and burned at the stake. He met his death with great courage and faith, forgiving his enemies. His spiritual descendants eventually became the Moravian church.

July 9: Augustus Tolton (1854-1897)—First African-American Catholic priest. Tolton was born to Catholic slave parents who escaped during the Civil War. From an early age he felt a call to the priesthood. He studied in Illinois, and later in Rome, before being returned to the US to be ordained and work with struggling Black Catholic congregations. Though frequently marginalized by the establishment, he exposed racism in the church and worked for integration and equality.

July 21: Albert Luthuli (1898-1967)—Zulu chief, Nobel laureate. An important early leader in the struggle against apartheid, Luthuli was a Zulu chief raised in a Christian home. He became a principle leader in the African National Congress, and was frequently imprisoned for leading strikes and boycotts, and burning his passbook. In 1960 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The driving force in his work was his personal faith in God and belief that, despite how things looked in South Africa, justice would one day prevail.

July 22: St. Mary Magdalene—“Apostle to the Apostles.” Mary of Magdala (near Capernaum) was one of a group of women who traveled and worked with Jesus. The Gospels report Jesus healed her by casting out seven evil spirits. Her life was forever changed, and she followed him all the way to the cross, even when the men had fled in fear. She has long been the subject of sacred art and literature, and been an important model for the leadership and role of women in the church. She reminds us that there were many women leaders among Jesus’ first followers. Despite later myths, there is nothing in the bible to indicate she had been a prostitute.

July 29: William Wilberforce (1759-1833)—Abolitionist. The life of Wilberforce proved that a politician can also be moral and heroic. Born to a wealthy and influential family, he experienced an evangelical conversion shortly after entering Parliament, where he worked for overseas missions and education. As a member of the House of Commons he supported political and social reforms, most especially his long and persistent fight against slavery and the slave-trade. Slavery was finally abolished in the British empire just weeks before his death. Seven hundred thousand slaves were freed. He was buried in Westminster Abbey as a national hero.

July 30: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany—Jesus’ family of choice. The stories of this household from Bethany (a village right outside Jerusalem) are found in the gospels of Luke and John. They are portrayed as close friends and disciples of Jesus, and are remembered for their hospitality. Martha has come to symbolize the active response to faith, those who get things done, and Mary that of the contemplative. When Lazarus died, Jesus stood at his grave and openly wept. While they are described as brothers and sisters, it has been suggested that Mary and Martha may have actually been a couple who called each other ‘sisters’ in order to pass in society. They are important for modern gay and lesbian people of faith because they represent Jesus’ family of choice —two unmarried women, and an unmarried man. Like many of us today, Jesus defined his family by intentional covenant, rather than biological or legal relatedness. (Matt 12:46-50)

July 31: St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)—Founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Many modern liberation theologies (in which gay and feminist theologies are rooted) have come from Latin American Jesuits.

August 2: Malinda Cramer (1844 – 1906) – New Thought Teacher and one of the founders of the Divine Science Church.

August 4: Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) – Missionary doctor and Nobel laureate A person of many talents and interests, Schweitzer earned doctorates in theology, philosophy, and medicine. He was a noted organist and interpreter of the music of J. S. Bach. His Quest for the Historical Jesus had a radical effect on how scholars approached the life of Christ. His work as a medical missionary founding his own hospital in Africa led to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.

August 7: John Mason Neale (1818-1866)—Liturgical reformer and hymn writer. A priest of the Church of England, Neale was a leader in the Oxford Movement, which revived Anglo-Catholic, ‘High Church,’ ideals of church architecture and ceremony. He organized charitable work for suffering women and girls. A scholar and skilled poet, he is best known for his extensive work as a hymn writer and translator of ancient hymn texts into singable English.

August 9: Blessed Edith Stein (1891-1942)—Carmelite martyr. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, Edith was a brilliant scholar even from an early age. She devoted herself to philosophy and declared herself an atheist. After reading the writings of St. Teresa of Avila she was baptized as a Catholic. She continued to attend synagogue with her mother each week. Her academic reputation grew as she taught in universities, but with Hitler’s rise to power she lost her position and entered a Carmelite convent. She understood from the start where events would lead. She was taken to Auschwitz, where she cared for abandoned children —“Pietà with the Christ” she was called.

August 11: St. Clare (1193-1253)—Abbess at Assisi. At the age of 18 Clare heard a sermon by St. Francis that changed her life. A beautiful woman from a wealthy family, she determined to turn her back on the social station offered her. She founded an order that embraced poverty and service. As she lay on her deathbed she was visited by the countless lay and clergy who had been touched by her humility and kindness, including the Pope.

August 13: Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)—Nurse and health care reformer. Raised in an affluent British family, Florence became interested in nursing at an early age. Her inspiration grew from her life of prayer, and against her family’s wishes she found her life’s purpose in addressing the sufferings of the poor and ill. Her work improving hospital sanitary conditions in the Crimean War won her a large following. She was known as the “angel of mercy.”

Emmet Fox (1886-1951) – Divine Science minister and writer who while he lived Fox addressed some of the largest audiences ever gathered to hear one person’s thoughts on the religious meaning of life. He is thought to have influenced Norman Vincent Peale and was popular in the early days of the AA movement.

August 14: St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)—Polish Franciscan priest and martyr. “Father Max” was a scholar, mystic, and missionary who demonstrated compassionate acceptance for all people, from Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz to the Buddhists and Shinto he worked with in Japan. Arrested by the Gestapo, he spent his time in the death camps comforting others and confronting evil with love. He went so far as to offer his own life to save a Jewish escapee. Sent into an underground bunker to starve to death, after two weeks he was finally executed.

August 15: St. Mary —Mother of Jesus. As a young Jewish girl, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She followed her son in his ministry right to the cross, and was active in the early church.

August 21: Georgia Harkness (1891-1974)—Theologian and social critic. Harkness was the first woman to teach in a mainline Protestant seminary in the USA. She was a theologian, pacifist and Christian socialist. She demanded economic justice for all people, opposed racism, and supported ordination for women.

August 24: Simone Weil (1909-1943)—Philosopher and mystic. Born in France to a well-educated, nonreligious Jewish family, Weil had a brilliant mind and was drawn to philosophy. She dabbled in the labor movement and always identified with the suffering masses of humanity.

August 25: St. Genesius the Comedian (d. circa 300) – St. Genesius is the patron saint of actors, comics, dancers, clowns, and torture victims. According to legend, he performed a series of plays that mocked Christians. During one performance for the Emperor Diocletian where he was making fun of baptism, he had a vision of angels and converted to Christianity right on stage! At first the Emperor thought it was part of the humor, but after he realized the comedic actor was suddenly serious, he ordered him to renounce his instantly embraced faith. For refusing to comply with the Emperor’s order, Genesius was beheaded.

September 3: Samuel Checote (d. 1884)—Creek Chief and preacher. Checote was born in present-day Alabama and attended mission schools as a child. After the Creek nation was forced to move west of the Mississippi tensions led to the banning of Christian preaching. Checote refused to abandon his faith and interceded with the chief to lift the ban. A Creek Methodist district was established. Checote became a lay preacher, and worked to have the bible and many hymns translated into Creek. He was elected chief three times, and worked tirelessly to overcome racial and cultural differences.

September 10: Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)—Founder of the Missionaries of Charity. As a simple nun from Albania, Teresa felt a special calling to care for the poorest of the poor. She left her convent and took on a simple white sari with blue borders and went to Calcutta, looking for Jesus among the sick and homeless. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, who care especially for the destitute and dying. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

September 15: Martyrs of Birmingham (d. 1963)—Four young girls. A few weeks after Martin Luther King has given his famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” and in the midst of an intense summer of civil disobedience and demonstrations, the situation in Birmingham, Alabama had come to a head. The nation watched as fire hoses and attack dogs had dramatized the evil of racism. On a peaceful Sunday morning someone threw dynamite through the basement window of the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four young girls, who had just finished their Sunday School class, were changing into choir robes. In their eulogy Dr. King called them “martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity.”

September 17: St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)—Abbess and visionary. Hildegard started as a simple Benedictine nun, but excelled as an author, prophet, preacher, theologian, musician, composer, poet, doctor, and pharmacist. Her intense visions and ecological and holistic spirituality speak strongly to our own time.

September 18: Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961)—Secretary General of the UN. A skilled Swedish diplomat, Hammarskjöld served for eight years as the head of the United Nations. He was a rare person in that public service was not a means to gain power, but a religious vocation, a way of living out his faith. He was deeply committed to the cause of world peace. His personal journal, Markings, published after his death, revealed his own inner struggles with finding meaning in life. What is still unknown to most people is that he was also a gay man.

September 20: Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)—Priest and spiritual guide. After ordination in his native Holland, Nouwen taught in the US at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard. He was drawn toward monastic life, and became one of the most popular and influential spiritual writers of our time.

September 21: St. Matthew—Apostle and Evangelist. Matthew was a tax collector, and as such was part of a group that was hated for being collaborators with Rome. Tradition says Matthew traveled to the East, but we really know nothing of his life and death. Matthew’s Gospel was probably written by an anonymous second generation Jewish Christian in a Greek community. ‘Matthew’ wrote the story of Jesus in a way that addressed the needs of the early church, a central concern to his gospel.

September 27: St. Vincent de Paul (1580-1660)—Apostle to the poor. Vincent began his life as a priest simply as a means of escaping his family’s grinding poverty. At mid-life he experienced a great transformation as he understood the seriousness of his vocation and dedicated his life to serving the poor. He founded hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the mentally ill.

Aimee Semple McPherson (1890 – 1944) – a Canadian born evangelist and radio personality in the 1920s and 1930s who was also the founder of the Foursquare Church, a Pentecostal denomination. She was a pioneer in the use of entertainment media to create a form of religious instruction and worship that appealed to a broad audience.

September 29: St. Michael and All Angels—While angels (from the Greek word angelos, or messengers) are mentioned often in the bible, only a few are named. The Archangel Michael is described as the captain of the heavenly host who helps humanity in fighting the powers of destruction and injustice. Michael has been recognized as a protector, intercessor, healer, and guardian.

October 4: St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)—Friar and founder of the Franciscan order. Born into a wealthy family, he sought glory as a young knight, but instead ended up seriously ill and in prison. Encounters with beggars and lepers touched him so deeply he embraced a life of poverty. Because of his deep love for them, his feast day is often celebrated by blessing animals. He reminds us of the radical simplicity of the gospel and the sacredness of creation.

October 6: Founding of Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (1968)—Anniversary of the first service held by Troy Perry, a former Pentecostal minister from Florida who had been thrown out of his church for being gay. Troy knew that his experience was not unusual and he felt called by God to start a church where GLBT people would be welcome. He held the first service in his living room near Los Angeles. Twelve people joined him for the first service of what became MCC of Los Angeles, the Founding Church of the Metropolitan Community Churches movement.

October 7: Ss. Sergius and Bacchus (d. 290)—Martyrs in death and lovers in life. These two saints were tortured for refusing to compromise their faith by making a sacrifice to Jupiter. They were officers in the Roman army and they were also a couple. After their arrest they were paraded through the streets in women’s clothing, which was meant to humiliate them. Bacchus died first and came to Sergius in a vision, telling him not to lose heart because they would soon be together for eternity. They later became patron saints of the Byzantine army, and are still honored among certain Arab nomads. Some gay people consider them to be patron saints of same-gender love.

October 11: National Coming Out Day—Anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This day has been marked yearly in the GLBT community since 1987. Because equality cannot be achieved by staying in the closet, it is important for GLBT people to come out to friends and family. When people know a gay or lesbian individual personally, they are far less likely to maintain negative stereotypes and prejudices. Coming out isn’t a one time event, but is rather a life long process.

October 12: Matthew Shepherd (1976-1998)—Victim of hate crime. A 21 year old student at the University of Wyoming, Matthew was abducted, tied to a fence, and beaten into a coma by two young men. His murder gave a face to the tragedy of gay bashing. He is remembered not for any particular achievements in his brief life, but as a symbol of the violence that is bred by homophobia and the rhetoric of hate.

October 15: St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)—Mystic. Raised in a wealthy Spanish family, Teresa became a Carmelite nun. In an age in which women’s voices went unheard, she became a towering figure —author of four books, religious reformer, founder of 17 convents. As a woman who based her authority on mystical visions, she fell under the suspicion of the Inquisition. Her best known work, The Interior Castle, describes the soul as a castle, and the journey of prayer that leads from meditation to mystical union with Christ.

October 16: Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (d. 1556)—Creator of the Book of Common Prayer. During a time of political and religious turmoil, as Archbishop of Canterbury Cranmer was instrumental in the English Reformation and the institution of the Church of England. Under Queen Mary, a devout Catholic, he was declared a heretic and burned at the stake. His legacy is carried in the Book of Common Prayer, the beauty of its liturgical language and its influence on Christian and prayer and worship even to our own time.

October 18: St. Luke the Evangelist—Luke was the only writer to attempt to tell the story of not only the life of Jesus (the Gospel of Luke), but the founding of the early Church ( the book of Acts). He was a Gentile who never met Jesus, but tradition says he was a physician and a later companion of Paul. St. Luke is patron of physicians and artists.

October 22: Maura O’Halloran 1955-1982—Christian Zen monk. Born in Boston and raised in Ireland, Maura felt from an early age a deep compassion for human suffering. Her concern for social justice and attraction to meditation led her to explore Eastern spirituality. She applied for admission to a Buddhist monastery in Tokyo where many Catholic priests had studied Zen meditation. There she underwent intense training as a monk and was recognized for reflecting a remarkable state of enlightenment. On her return trip to Ireland she was killed in a bus accident in Thailand at the age of 27. Her short life of holiness has been compared to Therese of Lisieux, the French nun who also accomplished her spiritual purpose in this world at a young age and promptly departed.

October 23: St. James of Jerusalem (c. 62)—Brother of Jesus and martyr. James is traditionally believed to have been the first Bishop of the church in Jerusalem. He was leader of a more conservative Jewish wing of the early Jesus movement that was uncomfortable with Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles, but Peter helped forge a compromise between them. He is traditionally associated with the Epistle of James, a short letter that tells us much about the early church. Some of its primary concerns include the intrusion of class divisions among the believers, showing mercy toward the poor, and letting our faith be reflected in our actions.

October 30: Albert Grier (1864 – 1941) – a Universalist minister for 20 years before becoming Founder of the Church of Truth in 1912.

October 31: Reformation Day—On this day in 1517 the German theologian, Martin Luther, posted his famous 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This act has come to mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, which together with the Counter-Reformation in the Catholic Church, led to major changes in Christian thought and worship. Today Catholic and Protestant churches are finding that in our faith in Christ we have much more in common than those particular beliefs which separate us.

November 1: Feast of All Saints—The tradition of remembering all the saints together dates to the early history of the Church, which affirmed “the communion of saints” as the mystical Body of Christ, transcending both time and space. This collective feast reminds us that each of us has our own special gifts, and we are each called to do something holy for God.

November 2: All Souls Day— In some traditions there has been a distinction between remembering the official canonized saints on All Saints Day and commemorating those whose names are not on any calendar, but are cherished as models of faith, or are dearly loved family and friends. They, as well, are part of that great “cloud of witnesses” who encourage us in our spiritual journey.

November 9: Martyrs of Kristallnacht (1938)—Victims of anti-Semitism. As part of the buildup to what became the “final solution,” the Nazis mounted a coordinated assault on the entire Jewish community of Germany. In one night the storm troopers burned down 191 synagogues, destroyed 7,500 shops, rounded up 20,000 Jewish men for “protective custody” at Buchenwald concentration camp, and killed 100 Jews. The pogrom became known as Kristallnacht, or Crystal Night, for all the broken windows. There was virtually no protest outside of Germany to this action.

November 11: Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)—Philosopher. A prolific author whose writings were important in the development of Existentialism, Kierkegaard barely saw himself a Christian. He devoted himself to exposing official Christianity, and especially the Church of Denmark, as fraudulent. He originally planned to go into the Lutheran ministry, but instead chose a life of introspection and writing. Compared with the New Testament, he charged, official Christianity was nothing more than play-acting.

November 12: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651-1694)—Poet and scholar. Born near Mexico City to an unwed mother, Sister Juana had a passion for learning that led to her becoming the first great poet of Latin America and early champion of equality for women in the church.

November 16: St. Margaret (1046-1093)—Queen and patron of Scotland. One of the last members of Anglo-Saxon royalty, she married King Malcom of Scotland. There she devoted much of her life to reforming the church and clergy, as well as founding many schools, hospitals, and orphanages. She was famous for her love for the poor and for reducing warfare between the clans.

November 26: Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)—Abolitionist preacher. Born a slave to a Dutch family in New York, Sojourner (a name she chose later in life) was freed when slavery there was abolished. She became noted as a passionate itinerant preacher and a legend even in her own life. She devoted her life to the antislavery cause, and later to women’s suffrage and equal rights. While some thought it was best to set aside the rights of women for a later date, in her mind the two were inseparable.

November 27: Harvey Milk (1931-1978)—First openly gay elected official (USA). Although not a professional politician, Harvey Milk ran for a seat as a City Supervisor in San Francisco in order to stand for the rights of people without a voice —blue collar workers, the elderly, racial minorities, and especially gays and lesbians. He expected he would die violently, and was shot five times at close range by another politician angered at his stand for gays. That night 40,000 people took to the streets in a candle light vigil outside City Hall. Although not a religious person, he is remembered because, as Cardinal Juan Fresnos of Chile said, “Whosoever stands up for human rights stands up for the rights of God.”

November 29: Dorothy Day (1897-1980)—Prophet of social justice. Despite the fact she held no official position in the Catholic church, and that her thoughts were mostly rejected in her life, it was said at her death that she was “the most influential, interesting, and significant figure” in the history of American Catholicism. Committed to social justice and pacifism, she founded a lay movement, the Catholic Worker movement, which sought to live out the radical gospel commandment of love in the social and political realm by embracing voluntary poverty.

December 1: World AIDS Day—Since 1988 this day has been a time for remembering those who have died and for renewing our commitment to support those living with HIV throughout the world. The red ribbon, which began as a “grass roots” effort, has become an international symbol of AIDS awareness.

December 3: Mary Baker Eddy (1821 – 1910): Author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and Founder of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston. Also the leading figure in the Christian Science movement.

December 9: Blessed Juan Diego (16th century)—Witness to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary appeared, it is said, to Juan Diego with dark skin and Indian features, surrounded by symbols of Indian religion and culture. She spoke to him in his native Nahuatl, not Spanish. The message to the church was clear: it must not serve as the agent of colonial oppression, but be rooted in the experience of the people.

December 10: Thomas Merton (1915-1968)—Trappist monk. An American priest whose writings are among the greatest spiritual works of our time, Merton initially turned his back on the world by seeking solitude at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. In time he came to understand a deep solidarity with humanity and concern for issues of peace and justice. He also had a strong interest in Eastern spirituality, especially Zen Buddhism, from which he learned that the path to God is found in experience, not analysis.

December 12: Sister Alicia Domon (d.1977)—French nun and martyr. During a period of military dictatorship in Argentina thousands of civilians were abducted and never heard from again, including several French nuns who had devoted themselves to working with the poor and oppressed. Sister Alicia became closely involved with the Mothers of the Disappeared, who dressed in black and gathered in silence in the central plaza each day, carrying pictures of their children. Along with several others, Alicia was abducted and, as later reports revealed, tossed out of an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean.

December 17: Dom Bede Griffiths (1906-1994)—Monk and Sannyasi. Raised in a middle-class English family and student of C. S. Lewis at Oxford, Griffiths’ spiritual journey led him first to the Catholic faith and the life of a Benedictine monk. While sent to establish a monastery in India, he came to believe that the secularized West had much to learn from the East. He helped found a Christian ashram that was faithful to Christian traditions, but adopted the disciplines of the East, including yoga and meditation. He dressed in the saffron robes and lived as a sannyasi, or Hindu holy man. His liturgies combined Christian and Hindu prayers and readings. He believed he could find the truth of Christ present within all the religions of the world.

December 23: Rabbi Abraham Heschel (1907-1972)—Teacher. A major force in Jewish spiritual renewal, Heschel came from a long line of Hasidic rabbis. After studying philosophy at Warsaw and Berlin he taught at several universities, eventually escaping to the United States from Nazi Germany. As a champion of interfaith dialogue, his writings exerted a tremendous influence on Christian thought. With a deep sense of prophetic justice, he sought to connect the mysticism of his Hasidic faith with the modern secular world.

December 24: Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) – Champion of positive thinking and author of The Power of Positive Thinking and founder of Guideposts Magazine. Peale was a Methodist minister who became Dutch Reformed so that he could pastor New York’s prestigious Marble Collegiate Church.

December 25: Nativity of Jesus (c. 4 BCE)—The celebration of Christmas at the darkest days of Winter marks the birth of light and hope for the world. The traditional date of Jesus’ birth was determined in Rome in 336, taking the place of an existing Roman holiday, the birth of the Unconquerable Sun. The actual date Jesus was born was more likely in the Spring. The word “Christmas” goes back to the 12th century and is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass.”

December 26: St. Stephen (c. 34)—Deacon and martyr. Most likely a Hellenistic Jew, Stephen is remembered as one of the first deacons chosen in the early Christian community in Jerusalem to aid the Apostles by caring for the sick and needy. Stephen’s story is told in Acts 6-7.

December 27: St. John the Evangelist—Apostle. John became, with Peter and James, one of the inner circle of Jesus’ followers. Ancient icons picture him as the “Beloved Disciple” at the Last Supper with his head on Jesus’ breast. Tradition holds that he took care of Mary after Jesus’ death on the cross, and that he later settled at Ephesus in modern Turkey. It is John who reminds us over and over of Jesus’ command for us to love one another.

December 29: St. Thomas Becket (1118-1170)—Archbishop and martyr. Thomas was a close friend of the young King Henry II, who intended to place him as Archbishop of Canterbury. Reluctant at first, Thomas finally accepted. He took his position as spiritual head of England very seriously, and soon clashed with Henry, who intended to rule over every aspect of his country. Eventually Becket was murdered in the Cathedral for his stand against the power of the state to control the church.

Elsberg, Robert. All Saints: Daily Reflections On Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1997.
Guthrie, Clifton F., ed. For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations for United Methodists. Akron, OH: Order of Saint Luke Publications, 1995.
The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts together with The Fixed Holy Days. New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1980.

This list began as a project that was part of a Doctoral Thesis by Rev. David Park. More names/bios were added over time first by Rev. Grant Lynn Ford and later by Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins. The list will likely continue to grow.


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