Church News of the Month: UNVEILING OF A PICTURE OF KING CHARLES THE MARTYR.
At the Church of the Evangelists, Philadelphia, on the evening of January 29th, was unveiled a life-sized portrait of King Charles the Martyr. The beautiful Church, rich in its polished marble, frescoes and images, was in festal garb and at the time of the service the candles on all the altars were lighted. First entered the choir and took their places, Hymn 428 was then begun and the clergy came in procession through the Lady Chapel followed by the Rt. Rev. William Stevens Perry, D.D., L.L. D., D. C. L., Bishop of Iowa, and, by appointment of General Convention, Historiographer of the American Church. He wore his rochet and chimere and his Oxford hood of Doctor of Divinity, of which he is the senior holder in the United States. He was attended by the Rev. R. T. Nichol, C.W.R., as his chaplain, who wore over his surplice, suspended by a “puce colored ribbon,” the medal of the Order of the White Rose, of which he is Prior for North America. Last came the Rt. Rev. Leighton Coleman, D.D., L.L. D., Bishop of Delaware, wearing a cloth of gold cope, and attended by his chaplain, Rev. M. L. Cowl, C. S. S. S., who acted as proxy for the Rev. Wm. McGarvey, Superior of the C. S. S. S., kept away by illness.
The bishops took their places in the choir and the clergy in the choir and in the front pews of the nave. Before the bishops was carried a crucifix. A third procession then entered from the sacristy composed of the Celebrant of Vespers, the Rev. Charles W. Robinson, Priest in charge of the parish, in alb and red damask cope, attended by the Rev. A. G. Mortimer, D.D., Rector of St. Mark’s Church, as deacon, and the Rev. G. H. Moffett, Rector of St. Clement’s, as subdeacon, vested in albs and tunicles, preceded by their acolythes. These, having kneeled at the Altar to say their private prayer, took their places in the sanctuary and Vespers was sung. The Proper Psalms were cxlviii, cxlix, cl. The First lesson, Wisdom iv. 7.16; and the Second Lesson, Rev. vii, 9.
At the Magnificat the Altar was censed, after that the Celebrant, then the Bishop, next the Clergy, then the choir and last of all the people. For the Collect was said the following prayer, licensed for the occasion by the Bishop of Pennsylvania, and adapted from the English Prayer Book.
Blessed Lord, in Whose sight the death of Thy Saints is precious, we magnify Thy Name for Thine abundant grace bestowed upon thy Servant and Martyr Charles; by which he was enabled so cheerfully to follow the steps of his blessed Master and Saviour in a constant meek suffering of all barbarous indignities, and at last resisting unto blood; and even then, according to the same pattern, praying for his murderers. Let his memory, O Lord, be ever blessed among us, that we may follow the example of his courage and consistency, his meekness and patience, and great charity. Through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
Vespers being done, a procession was formed to the picture which hangs against the wall of the nave on the gospel side about twenty feet from the entrance door. In procession was sung Mr. Keble’s Hymn to King Charles, found in “The Christian Year.” Here the effect was highly dramatic, for arrived at the picture a Station was made. The cross bearer with his candle bearers standing immediately beneath the picture. The deacon and sub deacon facing each other, on either side one, the acolythes and the Celebrant with the censer, then the Bishop, pontificating with his chaplain, the Bishop of Iowa with his chaplain standing by his side. The choir lined the nave to the altar facing each other. The picture was then unveiled, and the following office of benediction sung.
¶ Then shall the Bishop unveil the picture after which he shall say—
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Answer. Who hath made heaven and earth.
Bishop. The King shall rejoice in thy strength, O God.
Answer. Exceeding glad shall he be of thy salvation.
Bishop. Right dear in the sight of the Lord.
Answer. Is the death of his Saints.
Bishop. Lord hear our prayer.
Answer. And let our cry come unto thee.
Bishop. The Lord be with you.
Answer. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
(Licensed for use by the Bishop of Pennsylvania.)
O Almighty God, Who didst command Thy servant Moses to make images of the cherubim of glory, and to set them of old in Thy holy Tabernacle: Bless, we beseech thee, our work in setting up to Thy glory in this Thine house a likeness of Thy servant and martyr Charles; and grant that all they that visit this temple may be moved by the sight thereof to a faithful copying of his constancy even unto death, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This being done, the singing of the hymn was resumed the procession returned to the choir, and the Bishop of Iowa ascended the pulpit and began his panegyric, as follows:
“The scene we recall to night rises before our eyes. A king had been condemned to die. Not by any sufficient, legal tribunal. He had been, as it were, sold to the party and the forces who at that moment controlled the English nation. He could have lived had he given up the Church, hated no less than he was himself. He laid his head upon the block a willing martyr to the faith and practice of England’s Church.
“We have no Congregation of Rites. Our hagiography though full of saintly striking names, numbers few since Reformation day, who have been officially ennobled in the Church’s Calendar with the honor and dignity of those who in the earlier days died in faith after lives of heroic devotion to the church and cause of Christ. But the martyrdom of King Charles I has been recognized by Convocation and by parliament alike. The King and the three estates, clergy, lords, and commons united in this act and throughout the mother land and in this daughter Church across the sea, the martyr’s dead was duly observed till within a few short years.
“The details of the last sad scene of earth are full of pathos. Old time cavaliers even in this far distant land were quick to notice how the king when about to die, was made perfect by suffering as was his Lord and Master.”
The Bishop then passed on to consider King Charles’s generous and tolerant treatment of the American colonies, and concluded thus:
“The source of the much vaunted Maryland toleration was no other than the martyr who laid his head on the block rather than give up the Church to his foes.”
“But this kindly temper towards the American colonists shown to the ‘Maryland Pilgrims’ is seen in other instances.” …
“But even this was not all that the House of Stuart had done for American liberty. The New England charters so prized by the Puritans were from this source.” … “From this source, so often deemed tyrannical, opposed to personal liberty, caring only for prerogative, usurpation, and self-will, came the charter of Rhode Island, which in its broad, tolerant, principles required no change till my own day and under which I was born. In fact the American colonists mindful of benefits received never rebelled against the House of Stuart as they did so shortly against the House of Hanover.
It is with reference to the attitude taken by the martyred monarch, towards the settlers of this continent; it is in memory that this much-vilified King gave to Maryland its charter of toleration, in view of his grant of constitutional freedom to Virginia, in consideration of his kindly dealings with the New England Puritans, who abused him in life and maligned him when he in his clemency and toleration had given them,) that we who have entered into his labors in Church and State may well accord to him our meed of praise. In deeds such as we have reviewed briefly and in his heroic martyr death we may accord to him a loving remembrance; we may question and refute partizan and prejudiced decisions;—we may accord to him the martyr’s palm for in life as well as in death he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible and ‘after life’s fitful fever he’ our martyr and our saint ‘sleeps well’ in Paradise.”
The panegyric being ended Fr. Robinson read a formal blessing sent by the Rt. Rev. George F. Seymour, D.D., LL.D., Bishop of Springfield, as follows:
“As requested by the clergy of the Church of the Evangelists, Philadelphia, we invoke God’s blessing upon their efforts to vindicate the memory of Charles the First, King of England, known and recognized in the English Prayer Book, as ‘the Blessed King Charles, the Martyr,’ and we pray that God may bring the English speaking people to exalt him with honour for his great and loyal service and devotion, to the upholding of God’s Church, and the principles, as then understood and embodied in the English Constitution of Law and Order.” He also announced that the Rt. Rev. Dr. Nicholson, Bishop of Milwaukee sent also his blessing, and wrote:
“It would delight me to be with you and assist in the pious commemoration of our martyr king.”
Fr. Robinson also read as follows: “The Rt. Rev. Dr. McLaren, Bp. of Chicago, expresses his ‘regrets’ at not being able to be present, and adds that ‘it is an encouragement to think of Charles as a man of sanctified character.’
“The Rt. Rev. Dr. Starkey, Bp. of Newark, expresses his ‘entire and profound sympathy with he effort to do justice to the grand memory of King Charles.’
“The Rt. Rev. Dr. Whitehead, Bp. of Pittsburgh, writes: ‘It would give me great pleasure to be present at so interesting a service.’
“The Rt. Rev. Dr. Williams, the Presiding Bishop, writes: ‘I have no doubt that I entirely agree with you in your esteem of King Charles I.’
“The Rt. Rev. Dr. Scarborough, Bp. of New Jersey, regrets that he will not be able to attend, and speaking of Charles says: ‘There is much in the life and character of the Martyr King to admire and commend. His death was horrid murder, and the Puritans who brought it about deserve only the scorn and contempt which history has laid upon them for it.’
“The Rev. Dr. Dix, President of the Lower House of General Convention, writes: ‘Unfortunately, it is impossible for me to be present with you, but I am in cordial sympathy with the occasion, and if I could so I should certainly accept your invitation.’
“The Rev. Wm. McGarvey, Superior of the Congregation of the Companions of the Holy Saviour, regrets very greatly being kept away at the last moment by illness.”
“The Rev. Fr. Sargent, Superior of the Order of the Holy Cross, who had also expected to have been present, has been unavoidably detained at Norwalk, Conn., where he is giving a mission. He writes to assure us of his sorrow, and that his prayers hall be with us.”
After the singing of Hymn 440, “Blessed Feast of Blessed Martyrs,” the Bishop of Delaware said a collect and gave his blessing from the Altar.
The function was most dignified and impressive. The church was so crowded that the doors had to be closed, but were open again after the processions, when the aisles were filled, and it is greatly to be hoped that many will learn from this service to hold juster views of one who, whatever may have been his weaknesses as a statesman and king, was a model of purity, making the English Court a marked contrast to that of France at the time, who was scrupulous in the performance of his religious duties, and who died rather than relinquish Episcopacy.
Among the clergy present besides those already mentioned, we noticed the Rev. Arthur Cocks, Vicar of St. Bartholomew’s, Brighton, England, who read the First lesson; the Rev. Dr. Christian, of Newark, who read the Second Lesson; the Rev. Daniel Odell, Rector of the Annunciation, Philadelphia; the Rev. Robert Ritchie, Rector of St. James the Less; the Rev. G. E. Magill, Rector of Holy Innocents, Hoboken, and the Rev. R. G. Dennison, Rector of St. Timothy’s, Roxborough.
The picture is very well painted, having been executed by Mr. Oswald Fleuss in London. Mr. Fleuss had requested permission to copy the Van Dyck in the private apartments of Windsor Castle, and when the Queen heard the final destination of the picture she ordered her private artist to make an exact water-colour copy, which by her command was sent to Mr. Fleuss, and which in some respects he followed. The expenses of obtaining the picture were defrayed through the Rev. R. T. Nichol, who first thought of having such a picture in one of our churches and afterwards raised the necessary funds by his own gifts and those of his friends who he asked to assist him.
While no doubt many of those present shared the Martyr’s political opinions, at least in some degree, every care was taken to exclude from the occasion anything of a political or local character. It was not Charles the king and statesman of England that was being honored, but Charles “the model husband, the model father, the modest Christian,” (as Clarendon styles him), Charles the Martyr for Episcopacy, Charles the Saint of the whole Church of God, by whose prayers may we be helped both now and evermore.
From Catholic Champion, New York, February 1897, Volume IX, Number 3., pp. 51-53.