Author Topic: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal  (Read 3613 times)

evangelical catholic

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"A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« on: September 05, 2019, 03:52:05 PM »
While studying the Leipzig Interim, I came across Heal's book on "art and identity in Lutheran Germany."  16th & 17th century religious turmoil among Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed Christians seemed most evident in Germany compared to the other Lutheran countries [ie. Scandavania] though I am interested in exploring iconoclasm in Denmark. Noblemen/ electors and burghers theology could reflect Luther or Calvin [or remain Roman] and change between the 3  denominations with ramifications for the citizens. One dynamic is what the author refers to as the 'preserving power' of Lutheranism. When forced to share worship space, Calvinists became frustrated with Lutherans' tendency to leave the medieval gothic churches 'in situ' with dozens of statues/ crucifixes. Luther felt that sacred art like sacred music was helpful/ educational but not theoretically/ necessarily required. Reformed wanted none of it. So a parish church could lose its altar(s) only to have it returned at the whim of the ruling family.

I mistakenly assumed that Calvinist churches [Reformed/ Presbyterian/ Methodist] now allowed some images of Christ and biblical figures [mostly stained glass] by addressing exceptions to iconoclasm on a Reformed website. Despite presenting evidence of such artwork [particularly in UCC churches], I was adamantly informed that all images and sometimes even the cross were not practiced among "most" Calvinists.

Any thoughts?

St. Jacob's Church (St. Jakobskirche), Rothenburg

 

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2019, 04:16:24 PM »
Methodism in the United States is a broad spectrum ranging from the Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal antecedent replete with crosses, stained glass, and paraments to the Evangelcial Association (the "E" of the E.U.B. which merged with the M.E. in 1966) which itself ranged from its "cathedral church" (St. Paul's, Red Lion) which other than the pulpit centered chancel looked very M.E. to the Freysville mother church just two miles north which had frosted glass, no paraments to speak of, and no cross on the tiny table beneath its huge pulpit until one was donated by yours truly.

The curious thing about the "E" churches of southeastern York County, PA, is that nearly all of them--including the aforementioned Freysville Zion--had a larger-than-life painting of Christ praying in Gethsemane dominating the east wall of the chancel.   The oral tradition was that a Rev. Guy Stambaugh had provided these for many of the churches.  Why this particular Protestant "icon" was deemed acceptable is a mystery.
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evangelical catholic

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2019, 04:39:55 PM »
Methodism in the United States is a broad spectrum ranging from the Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal antecedent replete with crosses, stained glass, and paraments to the Evangelcial Association (the "E" of the E.U.B. which merged with the M.E. in 1966) which itself ranged from its "cathedral church" (St. Paul's, Red Lion) which other than the pulpit centered chancel looked very M.E. to the Freysville mother church just two miles north which had frosted glass, no paraments to speak of, and no cross on the tiny table beneath its huge pulpit until one was donated by yours truly.

The curious thing about the "E" churches of southeastern York County, PA, is that nearly all of them--including the aforementioned Freysville Zion--had a larger-than-life painting of Christ praying in Gethsemane dominating the east wall of the chancel.   The oral tradition was that a Rev. Guy Stambaugh had provided these for many of the churches.  Why this particular Protestant "icon" was deemed acceptable is a mystery.

The cross seems universal across Christianity. 

I guess angels are ok.

Second Presbyterian Church, Chicago

evangelical catholic

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2019, 04:51:47 PM »
Lutherans also focused on the suffering of Christ and the altarpiece was Christocentric

Church of St Marien - Berlin

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2019, 07:08:21 PM »
While studying the Leipzig Interim, I came across Heal's book on "art and identity in Lutheran Germany."  16th & 17th century religious turmoil among Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed Christians seemed most evident in Germany compared to the other Lutheran countries [ie. Scandavania] though I am interested in exploring iconoclasm in Denmark. Noblemen/ electors and burghers theology could reflect Luther or Calvin [or remain Roman] and change between the 3  denominations with ramifications for the citizens. One dynamic is what the author refers to as the 'preserving power' of Lutheranism. When forced to share worship space, Calvinists became frustrated with Lutherans' tendency to leave the medieval gothic churches 'in situ' with dozens of statues/ crucifixes. Luther felt that sacred art like sacred music was helpful/ educational but not theoretically/ necessarily required. Reformed wanted none of it. So a parish church could lose its altar(s) only to have it returned at the whim of the ruling family.

I mistakenly assumed that Calvinist churches [Reformed/ Presbyterian/ Methodist] now allowed some images of Christ and biblical figures [mostly stained glass] by addressing exceptions to iconoclasm on a Reformed website. Despite presenting evidence of such artwork [particularly in UCC churches], I was adamantly informed that all images and sometimes even the cross were not practiced among "most" Calvinists.

Any thoughts?

St. Jacob's Church (St. Jakobskirche), Rothenburg

Dear EC,

I am not so much answering your question as making it more difficult to understand the period of which you speak.

St. Jacob's is today a Lutheran church (I think) It not only has a main altar dedicated to Mary but also a side altar likewise dedicated to Mary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._James%27s_Church,_Rothenburg_ob_der_Tauber

It also has an altar in the balcony with a rear art piece depicting the last supper complete with a relic: "A drop of Christ's blood on the cross" embedded in it. https://www.scrapbookpages.com/Rothenburg/Tour/JacobsChurchInterior01.html

To make matters even more complicated, the infamous Karlstadt who attempted to "clean up" Wittenberg was its pastor. He went there right after he was dismissed from Wittenberg. All the magnificent artwork was carved and crafted pre Reformation. One wonders if he had learned his lesson or whether the arts were merely stored to be redisplayed in a Lutheran space. Maybe the prince at the time had given him strict limits. I will research this someday.

One might also wonder about the Heilige Geist Kirche in Heidelberg. This is the church Luther preach at  right after posting the 95 theses. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Spirit,_Heidelberg

This church was physically divided in the 18th century so Protestants and Catholics could both use it. That divider was not removed until 1939(!) when it became all protestant. A plaque to Pastor Mass who negotiated the reunion is hung at the place the dividing wall had once met the southern outside wall. The volunteers who staff it are quick to recall his name in great love.

Somehow the pain and triumph of the division of the time of Reformation was written into all these structures, sometimes allowing faith to be at odds with doctrine (though not in total denial and contradiction) for the sake of Faith in the Jesus.

I have been at both these magnificent places recently. They are awe-inspiring if not downright chilling (in a good way) places that point to way beyond themselves to hope and Faith.

If only there were buildings in America that can tell such stories and stirs the soul that much.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 08:13:53 AM by Dadoo »
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evangelical catholic

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2019, 11:09:25 PM »
While studying the Leipzig Interim, I came across Heal's book on "art and identity in Lutheran Germany."  16th & 17th century religious turmoil among Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed Christians seemed most evident in Germany compared to the other Lutheran countries [ie. Scandavania] though I am interested in exploring iconoclasm in Denmark. Noblemen/ electors and burghers theology could reflect Luther or Calvin [or remain Roman] and change between the 3  denominations with ramifications for the citizens. One dynamic is what the author refers to as the 'preserving power' of Lutheranism. When forced to share worship space, Calvinists became frustrated with Lutherans' tendency to leave the medieval gothic churches 'in situ' with dozens of statues/ crucifixes. Luther felt that sacred art like sacred music was helpful/ educational but not theoretically/ necessarily required. Reformed wanted none of it. So a parish church could lose its altar(s) only to have it returned at the whim of the ruling family.

I mistakenly assumed that Calvinist churches [Reformed/ Presbyterian/ Methodist] now allowed some images of Christ and biblical figures [mostly stained glass] by addressing exceptions to iconoclasm on a Reformed website. Despite presenting evidence of such artwork [particularly in UCC churches], I was adamantly informed that all images and sometimes even the cross were not practiced among "most" Calvinists.

Any thoughts?

St. Jacob's Church (St. Jakobskirche), Rothenburg

Dear EC,

I am not so much answering your question as making it more difficult to understand the period of which you speak.

St. Jacob's is today a Lutheran church (I think) It not only has a main altar dedicated to Mary but also a side altar likewise dedicated to Mary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._James%27s_Church,_Rothenburg_ob_der_Tauber

It also has an altar in the balcony with a rear art piece depicting the last supper complete with a relic: "A drop of Christ's blood on the cross" embedded in it. https://www.scrapbookpages.com/Rothenburg/Tour/JacobsChurchInterior01.html

To make matters even more complicated, the infamous Karlstadt who attempted to "clean up" Wittenberg was its pastor. He went there right after he was dismissed from Wittenberg. All the magnificent artwork was carved and crafted pre Reformation. One wonders if he had learned his lesson or whether the arts were merely stored to be redisplayed in a Lutheran space. Maybe the prince at the time had given him strict limits. I will research this someday.

One might also wonder about the Heilige Geist Kirche in Heidelberg. This is the church Luther preach at  right after posting the 95 theses. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Spirit,_Heidelberg

This church was physically divided in the 18th century so Protestants and Catholics could both use it. That divider was not removed until 1939(!) when it became all protestant. A plaque to Pastor Mott who negotiated the reunion is hung at the place the dividing wall had once met the southern outside wall. The volunteers who staff it are quick to recall his name in great love.

Somehow the pain and triumph of the division of the time of Reformation was written into all these structures, sometimes allowing faith to be at odds with doctrine (though not in total denial and contradiction) for the sake of Faith in the Jesus.

I have been at both these magnificent places recently. They are awe-inspiring if not downright chilling (in a good way) places that point to way beyond themselves to hope and Faith.

If only there were buildings in America that can tell such stories and stirs the soul that much.

Wonderful feedback, my friend.  Google allows access to Lutheranism worldwide.  The author cites examples where the ruling family castle chapel would be filled with splendid religious art/ vestments. Also in the village parish, the rich iconography in these territorial regions sometimes included altar paintings where the benefactor /prince/ elector and his family were background figures in the sacred image. Being buried on church property meant being that much closer to heaven. 

evangelical catholic

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 02:12:15 AM »
‘Better Papist than Calvinist’: Art and Identity in Later Lutheran Germany by Bridget Heal
https://academic.oup.com/gh/article/29/4/584/625937


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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2019, 05:29:10 AM »
Evangelical catholic writes:
Google allows access to Lutheranism worldwide.

I comment:
For even better access, go to the Lutheran World Federation website.
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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2019, 01:59:33 PM »
Sacred art similar to what was produced during the Reformation period [Lucas Cranach both elder and younger] can be found in several Lutheran parishes in the upper Midwest. Ed Rojas' altarpieces include Luther holding the Bible in this example.

Redemption church Battle Creek MI


 

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2019, 03:18:57 PM »
More of Rojas' beautiful altar paintings.

Zion Lutheran -Wausau, WI

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2019, 03:24:07 PM »
I think these are LCSM congregations with Rojas altar art.

St Paul, Ann Arbor worship in their school gym

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2019, 03:29:38 PM »
One more

Trinity, Cincinnati

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2019, 04:41:02 PM »
Splendid artistry! Just wondering though. Few to none of these altars seem to be free standing. Are these current photos?

Peace, JOHN
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 04:43:06 PM by John_Hannah »
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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2019, 06:20:35 PM »

I mistakenly assumed that Calvinist churches [Reformed/ Presbyterian/ Methodist] now allowed some images of Christ and biblical figures [mostly stained glass] by addressing exceptions to iconoclasm on a Reformed website.

Do not lump Methodists into the category of "Calvinist churches." Not the same thing at all.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: "A Magnificent Faith" by Bridget Heal
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2019, 07:41:16 PM »
Splendid artistry! Just wondering though. Few to none of these altars seem to be free standing. Are these current photos?

Peace, JOHN

Not sure how old the photos are but there are Lutheran churches that don't use free-standing altars though it is probably not very common anymore.  Maybe triptych altarpieces are making a revival.

Zion Lutheran Columbus WI