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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, 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.
1536
Henry VIII has his wife Anne Boleyn beheaded on allegations of adultery and witchcraft. The presence of an extra finger on one hand and an extra nipple were used against her in the trial. Anne had been sympathetic to the Reformation. Her real crime was to miscarry two sons, leaving King Henry VIII without a male heir, but she was mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
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.
1740
English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter: 'True faith is not merely in the head, but in the heart.'
1861
Ashbel Green Simonton, a Presbyterian missionary to Brazil, holds his first service in Rio de Janeiro.
1885
The complete Old and New Testament English Revised Version (EV or ERV) of the Bible was first published in England. After a promised 20-year wait, U.S. scholars on the ERV committee published an "Americanized" edition in 1905, known afterward as the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible.
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"