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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, February 2

1594
Death in Italy of Roman Catholic composer Giovanni di Palestrina. He had sustained high quality and originality in writing one hundred and five masses and two hundred and fifty motets (settings of biblical texts).
1650
Beheading of Jordan of Trebizond in Constantinople by Muslims after he had mocked their prophet and refused to convert to Islam when brought to trial.
1738
Young George Whitefield departs for Georgia, intending to become a permanent missionary to the American colony.
1784
Death in New Hampshire of Henry Alline, an American Free Will Baptist evangelist who had fostered growth of the "New Light" movement Canadian and New England churches.
1881
The first formal church youth organization was established in the Williston Congregational Church in Portland, Maine, by the Rev. Francis E. Clark, 29. Originally called "Christian Endeavor," it became the prototype of the modern denominational "youth fellowship."
1900
Death in Pennsylvania of temperance leader Annie Wittenmeyer. She had been active in home missions, founded orphanages, edited Christian periodicals, written hymns, and authored several books. Among her significant roles was as the first president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union which grew to 1,000 chapters under her leadership.
1902
Macedonian rebels release Ellen Stone, an American missionary to Turkey from the Congregational Church. They had held her and an associate for five months demanding a large ransom. Friends and the American public raised the money.
1907
In a letter written to American statesman William Jennings Bryan, Christian Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy counseled: 'The most important thing is to know the will of God concerning one's life, i.e., to know what he wishes us to do and fulfill it.'
1911
College teacher Eliza George of Texas has a vision of Africans passing before the judgment seat of Christ, weeping and moaning, "But no one ever told us You died for us." Two years later she will leave her teaching position and establish a mission in Liberia.
1944
German theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letter from prison: 'There is a kind of weakness that Christianity does not hold with, but which people insist on claiming as Christian, and then sling mud at it.'

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