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About this commemoration
Elie Naud was a French Huguenot (French Reformed) born in 1661. It was an era when French Roman Catholicism was increasingly dominant and the persecution of Protestants was becoming more violent. Naud fled France and landed in England, where he sojourned briefly before settling permanently in New York. During his early years in New York, he traveled frequently to Europe to raise money for Huguenot causes, having to survive in stowage because he was not a Roman Catholic. His unwillingness to renounce his French Reformed faith resulted in his imprisonment for nearly two years in the infamous Chateau d’If.
In New York he became acquainted with Episcopalians and fell in love with The Book of Common Prayer. He became a member of Trinity Church, Wall Street, where he served for fifteen years as a catechist among black slaves and native Americans, preparing them for baptism. He was later a member of L’Eglise du Saint-Esprit, a French speaking Episcopal parish in New York City.
Naud founded a school for the children of the poor and for the children of slaves. Upon the recommendation of the Rector of Trinity Church, the Bishop of London, acting for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), licensed Naud as a missioner “to slaves and ragged people in the New World.” Naud also got involved in colonial politics by trying to influence Parliament for the passage of British laws that would demand Christian instruction for the children of slaves and Native Americans as well as the formation of schools for their education. It was only through these means, he believed, that an equal and free society could be created. During the New York slave riot of 1712, Naud remained faithful to his vision. The outraged people of New York who believed education of slaves fueled such uprisings threatened him with death.
Naud continued to write hymns and poetry in his native French throughout his life. He died on September 7, 1722, and was buried in the churchyard at Trinity Church, Wall Street.
I. Blessed God, whose Son Jesus calmed the waves and knelt to serve his disciples: We give thee honor for the witness of the Huguenot Elie Naud, remembered as Mystic of the Galleys and Servant of Slaves; praying that, with him, we may proclaim Christ in suffering and joy alike, and call others to join us in ministry to those littlest and least, following Jesus who came not to be ministered to but to minister; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
II. Blessed God, whose Son Jesus calmed the waves and knelt to serve his disciples: We honor you for the witness of the Huguenot Elie Naud, remembered as Mystic of the Galleys and Servant of Slaves; and we pray that we, with him, may proclaim Christ in suffering and joy alike, and call others to join us in ministry to those littlest and least, following Jesus who came not to be ministered to but to minister; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Preface of Baptism
Text From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
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