The Jacobean Chronicle
Vol.20, no.1 March 2013
The Jacobeans resumed rehearsals at the end of January. Easter was the enormous target – with 5 performances. Palm Sunday (with the Cathedral Singers and the parish choir) at St John’s Gordon -- a service for the Knights of St Lazarus, which has become one of the major church services on the Jacobean calendar.
Easter itself, is to be spent between Mary Immaculate, Waverley and All Saints, Woollahra; Maundy Thursday and Easter Eve are to be at Waverley whilst Good Friday and Easter Day are at All Saints.
One of the musical highlights of Easter Sunday at All Saints will be Mozart’s “Sparrow Mass” (well, if you must be accurate, the “Missa Brevis” in C major, K 220) which will be sung without the ‘Credo’. This is becoming the norm. Ministers want their congregations to recite the Creed and not just listen to a choir sing it, so choirs seldom get the opportunity to sing Creeds nowdays. Of course, there will be lots more music performed over Easter – various Ave Verums (Mozart & June Nixon ) and bits of the Byrd 3-part Mass. However, to my mind, one of the highlights has to be Purcell’s quite short anthem, “Hear My Prayer, O Lord”, which will be sung at All Saints on Good Friday. The piece is in 8 parts and is a harmonic marvel with wonderful harmonic clashes and, although short, is emotionally quite draining.
April is largely taken up by rehearsals but, on 5th May there will be an Evensong + Holy Communion at St Paul’s, Kogarah. Another Evensong at St John’s, Gordon, on 12th May and then (Sunday 19th May) back to All Saints for Pentecost. We even have a nursing home concert planned for May (but not a great deal of work has been done on that as yet.)
Late September, we are back in Goulburn for both a service and a concert (but we will contact all our friends with more detail about that well before.)
Well done, Thou good and faithful servant
Matthew, XXV, xxi
The Jacobeans have one of the best private libraries of choral church music in the country. We haven’t got “everything” – indeed, last year we needed to borrow copies of the Mozart “Coronation Mass” for our performance in Goulburn Cathedral. Nonetheless, how many choirs in Australia can claim to have a mass by Hummel on their shelves? Doubtless the Sydney Con and Melbourne University have more comprehensive collections of choral music but the Jacobeans must have one of the most extensive private collections in the country.
One has to acknowledge that most of this music goes back to the Walter Sutcliffe days; a few new pieces of music were acquired under David Hood and Catherine Nash, but the bulk of the music has been in “a state of confusion” for years.
This is no longer the case! Gillian Davies has devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to putting the library in order. All “multiple copies” are now in labelled boxes. You might say, weren’t they before? Well, sort of! Only a couple of years ago we didn’t sing O Holy Night at Christmas because we couldn’t find the music (it has since been found in an “unlabelled” box – or one which the label fell off.)
The Jacobeans owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Gillian for making the collection accessible. She has been turning up at Waverley on many days of the week and working her way through boxes and boxes of music and the job was not made any easier because the library had to move from one part of the property to another. The quote from Matthew seems quite appropriate. Thank you Gill!
President & Music Director Catherine Nash
Vice-President Stan Warren
Secretary Gillian Davies
Treasurer Genevieve Michael
Committee Patricia Dunn (Public Officer)
Jan Giannotis (Robes)
Peter Roberts (Chronicle)
Secretary may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 98047036
The ‘abdication’ of Benedict XVI occasioned a great deal of inaccurate journalistic chatter and one read things like “the first papal resignation since 1415” or “the first pope to resign since Celestine V in 1294”. All this showed how little the journalists knew about papal resignations. Celestine was the ‘classic’ instance of an abdi-cation – an elderly, holy hermit in his 80s forced on the cardinals by “the mob” and the Emperor who didn’t want another corrupt member of one of the aristocratic Roman families. Celestine, who hadn’t wanted the job, failed to cope with the administration. After a reign of a little over 3 months he resigned. His successor, Boniface VIII, treated him with kindness but kept him under lock and key.
The first pope to abdicate was Pontian (230-235) who was arrested by the Emperor Maximinus Thrax and deported to work in the mines of Sardinia (in itself a death sentence). Not wanting the Roman church to be leaderless, he resigned on 28th September 235. This is the first precise date we have in papal history.
Marcellinus (296-304) is a shadowy figure about whom we know little. Some reports of the Diocletian persecution say he handed over the sacred books of the Christians of Rome to the authorities and offered sacrifice to the pagan gods. Other reports have him repenting and offering himself for martyrdom. One cannot imagine him remaining bishop after abjuring the faith but we really don’t have enough clear information to know his fate.
Pope Silverius (536-537) was asked to resign by the Monophysite emperess, Theodora. He refused, was arrested, publicly humiliated and exiled. Vigilius, a deacon in the empress’s favour, was elected the new pope. Silverius was sent back to Rome for trial but Vigilius thought this potentially embarrassing and so had Silverius imprisoned on the island of Palmaria. There he was threatened with and possibly actually tortured and submitted a resignation. He died a month later – we can only speculate that his death was “helped”. Later, Vigilius was excommunicated by both the Patriarch of Constantinople and the synod of North African bishops but he remained pope and died in his bed in 555.
Stephen VI or VII (there are problems with the numbering of the Stephens) was an infamous pope who ordered the mock-trial of a predecessor, Pope Formosus. Formosus had thwarted many of the Italian nobility. To impress them Stephen had the dead Formusus dug up, brought to court and tried by “the cadaver synod”. This back-fired. Some months later the outraged populace (including Formosus supporters) rose up, deposed and imprisoned Stephen. Soon after he was strangled. The position of Bishop of Rome was taken for 4 months by a monk, Romanus, a member of the pro-Formosan faction. He appears to have been ineffective and was probably deposed. We know very little more about him.
Sergius III (904-911) had always wanted to be pope. In 897 he tried to take over the job by force but failed. When in 903, after only 2 months in office, Leo V was overthrown, imprisoned and murdered, by an anti-pope, Christopher, Sergius saw his chance. He imprisoned, overthrew & murdered Christopher. His illegitimate son by a 15 year-old daughter of a Roman noble became Pope John XI (931-935).
John XII (955-964) was elected pope at age 18 because his father, the absolute ruler of Rome, arranged it. His private life was marked by gross immorality (well, boys will be boys) and in 963, at the Emperor’s urging, he was deposed by the Roman synod. He fled with the papal treasury. The synod elected Leo VIII (a very questionable election because John had not resigned). John managed to regain the papal throne and died of a heart-attack the following year (he was 28) in bed with a married woman. The Roman populace refused to hear the emperor’s direction to re-instate Leo and elected Benedict V. However, a month later the emperor turned up with his army, Leo was restored and Benedict spent the remainder of his life living in a monastery in Hamburg.
Benedict IX (1032-44, 1045, 1047-48) has probably the most confusing pontificate in history. In 1044 he left Rome because of continuing hostility to himself, his family and his immoral life-style, but he didn’t resign. The Roman nobility installed Sylvester III. Some months later Benedict made it back to Rome and expelled Sylvester. Some months later he abdicated in favour of his godfather, who became Gregory VI. (We don’t know why – possibly a bribe.) However, he was back in 1247 and remained in office until removed by the emperor in 1248. In 1249 a Lateran synod summoned him to face the charge of simony. He refused to appear, was excommunicated but lived for another 7 and a half years. Gregory VI was taken back to Germany with his friend, who was later to become Gregory VII (who was twice deposed), and ended his days in Cologne.
The Great Schism (1378-1417) saw popes in Rome and Avignon. It is far too complex to treat in a brief article like this but, by 1409, after the Council of Pisa, there were three popes. The Council of Constance (1414-1418) deposed the anti-pope, John XXIII (not to be confused with the pope of 1958-63) and the French/Avignon pope, Benedict XIII. However, the Roman pope, Gregory XII agreed to abdicate on certain conditions. The council declared he would be Bishop of Porto and rank in precedence after the new pope. He was already over 90 and died 3 weeks before the election of Martin V (1417-1431) , the pope who ended the schism. So, as we can see, papal resignation was a complex business.