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Today in Christian History
Death of St. Sabas, a hermit who had become the leader of an early monastic movement and traveled widely preaching against heresy. He founded a monastery in Palestine, Mar Saba, that will still be standing in the twenty-first century. Authority for the date: Morgan, Robert J. On This Day. Nelson, 1997.
Innocent VIII issued his famous "Witch Bull," ordering an inquisition to systematically discover, torture and execute witches throughout Europe. It led to the ease with which witchcraft was charged and punished, even in the American colonies two centuries later.
Anabaptist leader Hans Schlaffer is arrested by persecutors in Austria. Refusing to recant his opposition to infant baptism, he will subsequently be burned alive. Authority for the date: Littell, Franklin H. The Origins of Sectarian Protestantism. New York: Macmillan, 1972.
Missionary Wilhelm Tobias Ringeltaube lands at Tranquebar, India, serving under the auspices of the London Missionary Society, and will labor there and at Travencore with much success until 1816, when he will move on to Ceylon. Authority for the date: Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.
The first public performance of Hector Berlioz's Requiem takes place in a church in Paris in honor of General Damremont and other soldiers who had died during a siege in Algeria. Authority for the date: Berlioz, Hector. Life of Hector Berlioz as Written by Himself.
Death of Joseph Mohr, 56, Austrian Roman Catholic vicar and author in 1818 of the enduring Christmas hymn, "Stille Nacht" ("Silent Night").
Death of Priscilla Jane Owens, who had been an American Methodist school teacher and author of several popular hymns, including "Jesus Saves" and "We Have an Anchor." Authority for the date: www.hymntime.com.
German theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letter: 'It is only when one loves life and the earth so much that without them everything seems to be over that one may believe in the resurrection and a new world.'
American missionary martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: 'How sadly and how slowly I am learning that loud preaching and long preaching are not substitutes for inspired preaching.'
Televangelist Jim Bakker was charged by a federal grand jury with mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the public through the sale of thousands of lifetime memberships to PTL theme park, Heritage U.S.A. (Bakker was convicted the following year and sentenced to prison.)
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"