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Today in Christian History
The Second Council of Lyons convenes with the goal of reunifying the Roman and Greek churches. Attended by approximately 500 bishops, it is ultimately unsuccessful because, although Orthodox delegates agree to recognize the papal claims and recite the creed with the filioque clause, the union is fiercely rejected by the majority of Orthodox clergy and laity.
Death of Nilus of Sora, a Russian monastic leader who advocated small monastic groups rather than huge monasteries and insisted each monk support himself by useful labor, among which was the copying and correcting of old manuscripts. He advocated mercy toward heretics.
The New Jerusalem Church was formally established in London. More popularly known as Swedenborgianism, its theological tenets were based on the writings of Swedish scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). The first congregation in the U.S. was formed in Baltimore in 1792.
Russian Orthodox bishop John Veniaminov (St. Innocent of Alaska) departs from Irkutsk for Alaska where he will do notable missionary work and translate portions of the Bible into several indigenous languages. He will later serve as Metropolitan of Moscow.
Birth of Elisha A. Hoffman, American clergyman and a prolific writer of Gospel songs. His musical legacy has left the Church such favorites as: "What a Wonderful Savior," "I Must Tell Jesus," "Are You Washed in the Blood?" "Glory to His Name" and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."
While visiting Scotland, Tiyo Soga is baptized. He will become a great South African preacher.
Katharine Drexel becomes a postulant [candidate for acceptance into a religious order] with the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where she prepares to found a congregation to serve African American and Native American people who are oppressed by discrimination and dire poverty.
Amer Presbyterian missionary James Burton Rodgers, 34, preached his first sermon in the Philippines. Rodgers spent the next 35 years in evangelistic and educational ministries, and is regarded as the first Protestant missionary to the Philippines.
William Marrion Branham, who becomes a faith healer in 1946, will later claim that on this day, May 7, he received an angelic visitation commissioning his efforts. He will make many other controversial claims of contact with God and angels as the years go on, and will eventually declare himself to be the end-time Elijah foretold in prophesy.
Religious program "The Circuit Rider" broadcast for the last time over ABC television. Featuring sacred music and biographies of great evangelists, the series had premiered only two months earlier, in March.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"