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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, March 12

417
Death of Pope Innocent I, who acted in international affairs, such as excommunicating Pelagius, defending Jerome, and negotiating with barbarians.
604
Death of Pope Gregory the Great, known for his Dialogues, his teachings, his revision of the worship service, and promulgation of Gregorian chant, as well as the evangelization of England.
1022
Death at Paloukiton (across the Bosphorus from Constantinople) of Symeon the New Theologian, of dysentery, after thirteen years of exile. He had emphasized the importance of experiencing directly the grace of God and described his own mystical experience with "Divine Light." Although contemporary church authorities had condemned his teachings, later generations in the Eastern Orthodox Church will declare him a saint and honor him with the rare title "theologian."
1607
Birth of Paul Gerhardt, German clergyman and hymnwriter. He lost four of his five children in childhood, yet also composed over 130 hymns, including "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded." (Gerhardt's music marks the transition in Lutheran hymnody from confessional and high-church hymns to hymns of devotional piety.)
1622
Gregory XV issues the bull "Decet Romanum Pontificem" which regulates the ceremonial for papal elections and introduces the secret vote. It is the second bull the pope has issued to bring order to - and break deadlocks in - papal elections. The same title had also been used for a bull excommunicating Luther.
1672
Death of evangelical hymnwriter Ludaemilia Elisabeth Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Countess of Schwarzburg, from measles. The best known of her two hundred hymns was "Jesus, Jesus, Only Jesus."
1710
Birth of Thomas A. Arne, considered one of the outstanding English composers of the 18th century. Today, Arne is best remembered for his hymn tune ARLINGTON, to which we commonly sing, "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?"
1734
Protestant refugees from the Catholic city of Salzburg land in Georgia where five days later they will found the town of Ebenezer.
1908
J. Wilbur Chapman and Charles Alexander attempt city-wide evangelization of Philadelphia, dividing the city into forty-two districts, sending an evangelist-musician team to each. The result is about 8,000 conversions.
1947
Death in Yorkshire of British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, a notable Pentecostal speaker and faith healer.

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