Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, March 23

1198
Last day for Waldenses and other "heretics" to leave the dominions of Pedro II, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona. Following this date, every "heretic" is liable to burn at the stake and have his/her property confiscated.
1324
Pope John XXII excommunicates Louis IV of Bavaria, Holy Roman Emperor, for exercising imperial rights when the pope had ordered him not to.
1415
Jean Charlier Gerson, speaking at the Council of Constance, asserts that a pope may be forced to abdicate and that general councils are above popes.
1532
Zurich leaders execute two Anabaptists by drowning, Heinrich Karpfis and Hans Herzog. These are the last of six such executions at Zurich.
1540
In a show of growing support for Henry VIII, Waltham Abbey in Essex became the last monastery in England to transfer its allegiance from the Catholic Church to the newly-established Church of England.
1542
Sebastian Castellio is appointed rector of the College of Geneva. He will run afoul of Calvin over personal disagreements and a dispute over the interpretation of the Song of Solomon. Expelled from Geneva, Castellio will suffer eight years of poverty before he is hired to teach at Basel. Calvin will also reject Castellio's arguments for freedom of conscience advanced in Concerning Heretics.
1744
In London, composer George Frederic Handel's famous oratorio "Messiah" was performed for the first time.
1873
Delegates of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church elect Joseph A. Beebe, of North Carolina, and L. H. Holsey, of Georgia, to be bishops.
1877
Mormon fanatic John Doyle Lee was executed by a firing squad for masterminding the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In 1857, a wagon train of 127 Arkansas Methodist emigrants, bound for California, were killed by a party of Mormon settlers and Paiute Indians at Mountain Meadows (near Cedar ity), Utah.
1966
Arthur Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Pope Paul VI meet and exchange greetings in Rome, the first official meeting between heads of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in more than four hundred years.

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