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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, May 23

1381
Metropolitan Cyprian of Moscow is received with rejoicing after long being denied the position because he is a Serbian. He will be declared a saint by the Russian church.
1430
Joan of Arc is taken captive by Burgundians during a sally from Compiegne, where she was besieged. For a large payment, the Burgundians will surrender her to the English who will execute her.
1551
Philip Neri, who has already been doing spiritual work for many years in Rome, is ordained. He will found the Oratian order and develop the musical form known as the oratorio.
1568
Battle at Heiligerlee. Dutch Protestant rebels beat the forces of Catholic Spain in Friesland.
1832
Execution of Baptist deacon and ex-slave Samuel Sharpe, who had led a recent uprising (the Baptist War) against slavery in Jamaica in which as many as 60,000 slaves participated.
1854
As Seventh-day Adventist evangelist James Waggoner prepares to board a train in Jackson, Michigan, with his wife Ellen, she feels a premonition of danger. A group of friends prays. Aboard the train, Ellen feels compelled to leave their car and move to the rear of the train. Soon afterward, the train derails, killing engineer and fireman instantly and injuring many passengers. The Waggoners' car is unharmed, having inexplicably uncoupled from the wreck without breaking the chain or bolt that secured it to the other cars.
1862
Birth of Hermann Gunkel, the German Protestant biblical scholar who pioneered the analytical approach to understanding Scripture afterward known as "form criticism." Gunkel applied its formulas primarily to the Old Testament, in his commentaries on Genesis (1901) and on the Psalms (1926-28).
1887
Death in Christiana, Norway, of Ludvig Mathias Lindeman. He had contributed greatly to the cause of good church music among the Scandinavians, so that it was said he had taught the Norwegian people to sing.
1903
Death of American Congregational missionary Henry Blodget. He had served forty years in China and helped translate the New Testament into colloquial Mandarin.
1941
The scarred and disfigured body of the Orthodox bishop Platon of Banja Luka is found in the village of Kumsale, Croatia. Along with thousands of others he was killed in ethnic cleansing by the Ustashe, a Croatian fascist organization.

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