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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, May 19

363
During the night and early morning, earthquakes accompanied by ball lightening disrupt an attempt to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that was to begin the next day. These forces destroy much of the material gathered for the work. The rebuilding had the backing of the pagan emperor Julian as one of his lines of opposition to Christianity; and the event will be recounted in numerous contemporary and near-contemporary sources - Pagan, Jewish, and Christian.
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.
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.
1740
English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter: 'True faith is not merely in the head, but in the heart.'
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.
1979
Businessman Carlos Annacondia gives his life to Christ in San Justo, Argentina, at an evangelistic meeting led by Manuel A. Ruiz of Panama. He will become an evangelist who preaches on five continents, and eventually will head the Message of Salvation Christian Mission Team, connected with the Assemblies of God.

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