March 12, 2014

Bishop for the New World

Bishop James Theodore Augustus Holly was consecrated as the first Bishop of Haiti at Grace Church in New York City, on November 8, 1874. When he attended the 1878 Lambeth Conference he broke the color bar there, and preached at Westminster Abbey.

He served his diocese well and faithfully, for almost forty years, founding many churches, as well as clinics and other ministries.

Most gracious God, by the calling of your servant James Theodore Holly thou gave us our first bishop of African American heritage. In his quest for life and freedom, he led your people from bondage into a new land and established the Church in Haiti. Grant that, inspired by his testimony, we may overcome our prejudice and honor those whom you call from every family, language, people, and nation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

icon sketch by Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Jesse said...

What a splendid person! I see from another site that his wife, his mother, and two of his children died during his first year in Haiti but that he determined to stay on and continue to minister to the people there. He was obviously of heroic virtue.

But I have a question. You, Tobias, are obviously not responsible for this, seeing that you have faithfully followed a contemporary photograph. But what do you reckon the good bishop is wearing on his head? It defies classification with any of the ecclesiastical headgear I've come across.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thank you, Jesse. A great man.

I too wondered about the unusual headgear. At first I thought it might just be the way it angle and that it was a biretta of some sort, but as I worked more on the icon -- which involves of course looking very closely -- I became more curious as it didn't seem to fit. I suppose it is possible that it isn't really an ecclesiastical item at all, but some sort of ordinary headgear -- the 19th century gentleman could sport all sorts of exotic hats: the fez and bukharian kippah were both popular. So this remains a bit of a mystery... and any insight is appreciated!