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Today in Christian History
Fabian, a farmer visiting Rome, is elected pope (tradition says after a dove descends on him). He will serve until 250, when he will become one of the first martyrs under Decius, an emperor hostile to the Christian faith.
Death of Pope Agatho, a Sicilian, who had played a decisive part in suppressing the the Monothelite controversy.
Regarding the doctrine of purgatory, German Reformer Martin Luther reported in a "Table Talk": 'God has placed two ways before us in His Word: salvation by faith, damnation by unbelief (Mark 16:16). He does not mention purgatory at all. Nor is purgatory to be admitted, for it obscures the benefits and grace of Christ.'
Death of Juliana of Lazarevo (or Juliana of Murom), considered a saint by the Orthodox Church because as a layperson in Russia she lived a righteous life, helping the poor and needy, amidst her care for her children and others.
Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud is beheaded under a bill of attainder from Parliament. He had been very cruel to Puritans and other dissenters.
Frances Havergal, visiting Germany, writes her first popular hymn, "I Gave my Life for Thee" after seeing a painting of the suffering Christ titled Ecce Homo ("Behold the Man"). Thinking the verses of little worth she throws the paper onto a fire but it falls off. When her father sees the words he composes a tune for them.
Death in New York City of Lyman Beecher, famed anti-Unitarian preacher. In addition to pastoral roles in Connecticut and Massachusetts, he had served as president of Lane Theological Seminary in Ohio.
Death of Elling Eielsen, a lay preacher in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the United States. He had migrated to America in 1839 and won many Norwegian emigrants to Christ, traveling the frontier with the gospel message, an axe, compass, coffee pot, and rain gear. At Fox River, Illinois, he organized America's first Norwegian Lutheran congregation - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall prayed: 'May we resolve, God helping us, to be part of the answer, and not part of the problem.'
A car filled with seven Christian workers plunges into deep water in the Black Umbluzi River but Pastor Phineas Dlamini and the other six escape, some with injuries. Dlamini was a leading pastor in the Church of the Nazarene in Swaziland.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"