Tuesday, October 14, 2014Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky
Bishop of Shanghai
b.May 6, 1831
d.October 15, 1906
A native of Russian Lithuania, Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky went to Germany as a young man to study for the rabbinate, but there became a Christian.He emigrated to America and trained for the priesthood.
His ties to New York City are strong. After a stint in Pittsburgh, he entered the General Theological Seminary in Manhattan's West Chelsea. He received deacon's orders in St. George's Church, New York, July 7, 1859, from the first Bishop Boone, and was sent that same year to China, where he devoted himself from 1862 to 1875 to translating the Bible into Mandarin Chinese.
Returning to the United States, he received the doctorate in divinity from Kenyon in 1876, and from Columbia the following year. In 1877, he was elected Bishop of Shanghai, and he was consecrated in Grace Church, New York, by Bishops Bosworth Smith, Henry Potter, Bedell, Stevens, Kerfoot, and Lyman.
In Shanghai, he founded St John's University, and began his translation of the Bible into Wenli (another Chinese dialect). But along the way he developed Parkinson's disease, becomng mostly paralyzed. He resigned his position as Bishop of Shanghai, and spent the rest of his life completing his Wenli Bible, the last 2000 pages of which he typed with the one finger that he could still move.
Four years before his death in 1906, he said: "I have sat in this chair for over twenty years. It seemed very hard at first. But God knew best. He kept me for the work for which I am best fitted."
O God, who in thy providence didst call Joseph Schereschewsky from his home in Eastern Europe to the ministry of this Church, and didst send him as a missionary to China, upholding him in his infirmity, that he might translate the Holy Scriptures into languages of that land: Lead us, we pray thee, to commit our lives and talents to thee, in the confidence that when thou givest unto thy servants any work to do, thou dost also supply the strength to do it; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.