Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, May 19

988
Death of Archbishop Dunstan of Canterbury who had attempted to integrate the Danes fully into the English church and nation.
1125
Death of Vladimir Monomachus. As the Christian ruler of Kiev, he strove to unite Russians and end in-fighting among Russian families. His writings show him to have been pious and to have recognized that faith is only demonstrated by works. "Oh, my children! Give praise to God and love also mankind. Neither fasting, nor solitude, nor monastic life shall save you, but good deeds." He invoked Christ constantly in prayer.
1296
Death of ex-pope Celestine V while in confinement. Following Celestine's resignation, his successor Pope Boniface VIII kept him incarcerated in the castle of Fumone near Anagni to prevent schemers using him to undermine the papacy.
1382
(or the 21st) An earthquake shakes London about 2 pm as a synod, led by Archbishop William Courtnay, meets to condemn John Wycliffe for his efforts to reform the church.
1662
The Cavalier Parliament passes "An Act for the Uniformity of Public Prayers and Administration of Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies; and for establishing the Form of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in the Church of England." The act requires reordination of many pastors, gives unconditional consent to the Book of Common Prayer, advocates the taking of the oath of canonical obedience, and renounces the Solemn League and Covenant. Great persecution will follow and about two thousand Puritan ministers will be ejected from their positions.
1694
Death of John Mason, rector of Water Stratford, Buckinghamshire, and one of the earliest Anglican writers of hymn lyrics. A learned man, he came to believe he was the Elijah appointed to proclaim Christ's second coming. He gathered a large following who with himself expected Christ to come to Water Stratford. He also predicted he would rise on the third day after his death.
1780
Some New Englanders believe Judgment Day has arrived when the sky becomes dusky at noon.
1861
Ashbel Green Simonton, a Presbyterian missionary to Brazil, holds his first service in Rio de Janeiro.
1939
Death of Howard B. Grose, Baptist leader and author of the hymn, "Give of Your Best to the Master."
1971
"Godspell" first opened at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City. The musical by Stephen Schwartz is based on the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, and is still produced by secular and religious theater groups today.

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