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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, January 17

1377
Pope Gregory XI enters Rome from Avignon, hoping to put down an Italian revolt against him. He will send Robert of Geneva (later antipope Clement VII) with a company of ferocious Breton adventurers to crush the rebellion with atrocities, but it will continue. In about a year, Gregory will die, leaving the situation worse than it was.
1525
Zurich City Council holds a public debate on infant baptism, which reformer Ulrich Zwingli has mandated as a covenantal act, but which Anabaptists such as Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz oppose, saying that baptism symbolizes a believer's commitment to Christ and therefore must be entered into by adults with understanding.
1562
Edict of St. Germain is issued, allowing Huguenots to preach in France.
1705
Death in Essex, England, of John Ray, a naturalist and theologian. He systematized botanical classification and developed a theology that sought to understand God's wisdom and power by studying created things. His system for classifying plants seems to have been the first to divide flowering plants into monocots and dicots.
1745
Colonial missionary to the American Indians David Brainerd wrote in his journal: 'Oh, how comfortable and sweet it is, to feel the assistance of divine grace in the performance of the duties which God has enjoined on us!'
1932
Death in London, England, of Charles Gore, founder of the Community of the Resurrection, an Anglican monastery. He had been an author, a bishop, and an advocate for social justice.
1945
Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish Lutheran diplomat, is last seen alive by his friends after Soviets take him into custody. His resourcefulness had saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during Nazi occupation. He will be remembered with other Righteous Gentiles in the Episcopal Church calendar on July 19.
1963
The Baptist World Mission was incorporated in Chicago. This independent organization of Baptist tradition is engaged primarily in evangelism, church planting and education in 17 overseas countries.
1967
Death in Madagascar of Clara Clerget, French-born nun (Sister Anne-Marie of the Visitation), who had spent over fifty years as a missionary in Madagascar, most of it working with leprosy patients. Her radiant personality had attracted much attention and so she will be treated with high honors at her funeral.
1977
The Supreme Court of India (Hindu) rules that the successful work of a Christian evangelist is a threat to the "freedom of conscience" guaranteed to all citizens of India.

Copyright Statement
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"