Cloud of Witnesses

Cloud of Witnesses

John Chrysostom and Olympias – Finding Comfort in Troubled Times John Chrysostom was a favorite church father in the Protestant Reformation for many reasons: for his departure from the allegorical interpretation of Scriptures that was popular in his day, for his understanding of law and grace, and...
Kassia – A Bold and Sensitive Byzantine Poet Around the year 830, in Constantinople, that Byzantine Empress Euphroshyne organized a bride-show to find a wife for her newly-crowned sixteen-year old son Theophilos. This was a common match-making system of her times. Kassia – possibly 20 at that time...
Christine de Pizan – Theologian and Mother Christine de Pizan was the first professional woman writer in France, if not Europe. She is normally seen as an early feminist rather than as a theologian and a mother. But many of her writings are based on her study of Scriptures and the church fathers,...
Lydia Mackenzie Falconer Miller – An Inquisitive Woman Some time ago, I wrote an article about Hugh Miller, a Scottish geologist and author who was greatly esteemed by both scientists and common readers during the perplexing times of the Scottish religious Disruption and of Darwin’s new scientific...
Elizabeth Barrows Ussher – Caring for All During the Armenian Resistance In 1915, the buildings belonging to the missionaries in Van, Turkey, turned into fortresses, refugee centers, and hospitals. “Reports come to us of the burning of village after village, with outrages upon the women and...
Diet Eman – Holding on to God’s Promises For Dutch Christians like Diet (pronounced Deet) Eman and her family, the German invasion of the Netherlands generated new, urgent questions. Queen Wilhelmina had left for England, taking her whole government with her. What were the Dutch supposed to do?...
Johann Heermann and the Comfort of the Cross In the spring of 1630, while the Thirty-Year War raged around Europe, pastor and poet Johann Heermann wrote a hymn to inspire his congregation to meditate on Christ’s suffering. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate...
John Donne – Poet of Grace and Comfort In 1623, when a sudden illness brought the poet and preacher John Donne close to death, he expressed his lament with words that may sound relevant during our coronavirus pandemic: “Variable and therefore miserable condition of man! This minute I was well, and...
Paul Gerhardt and His Songs of Confident Hope In 1943, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his lonely prison cell, “I’ve lately learnt for the first time to appreciate the hymn, ‘Beside thy cradle here I stand.’ Up to now I hadn't made much of it; I suppose one has to be alone for a...
Patrick and His Mission Every year, we read articles about the “real” Saint Patrick – the one who didn’t drive out snakes and didn’t use a shamrock to explain the Trinity. His own account of his life, expressed in his Confessions , has become better known, but is still not commonly read. Yet, it...