Today in Christian History
Dionysius is elected bishop of Rome. His commentaries had won many to faith, and his labors helped restore a church decimated by severe persecution.
An executioner in Metz cuts off Jean Leclerc's right hand, tears his arms and chest with pincers, and encircles his head with a red-hot band of iron before consigning his body to flames. A wool-carder and Protestant, Leclerc had smashed Catholic images. His last words are, "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands."
French mystic Madame Guyon claims she has achieved union with God on this, St. Mary Magdalene's Day.
Birth of Emily E. S. Elliott, Anglican missions supporter and hymnwriter. Nieceof Charlotte Elliott (who wrote the hymn 'Just As I Am'), Emily penned the words to the hymn'Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne.'
The first large company of Mormon immigrants entered the Salt Lake Valley, in whatwas still Mexican territory. Soon after, Mormon leader Brigham Young founded Salt Lake City,Utah.
Birth of Peter P. Bilhorn, sacred composer. He produced over 1,400 hymns in hislife, including 'I Will Sing the Wondrous Story' and 'Sweet Peace, The Gift of God's Love.'
Ordination of Vladimir Nikolsky to the Orthodox priesthood. Under the name Andronicus he will serve the church faithfully both as a missionary and as an archbishop. The Soviets will execute him in 1918 because of his uncompromising defense of the fallen Tsars and opposition to the atheistic teachings of communism.
Boxers martyr “Blind Chang” at Chaoyang, China. Formerly an alcoholic, thief, gambler, and gangster, he had become blind after abandoning his wife and forcing his daughter into prostitution. He made his way to a mission station where he heard the gospel and was transformed. He returned home to preach, braving thrown rocks and the dogs that villagers sicced on him. When missionaries checked on him, they found he had won 200 souls for Christ. After he learned Braille, he memorized Scriptures and won even more souls. When the Boxers came, Christians hid Chang. The Boxers rounded up fifty Christians in Chaoyang, but were told that as long as Chang lived, Christians would continue to multiply. The Boxers offered to free their captives in exchange for Chang. When told this, Chang volunteered to die in their place. The Boxers tried to force him to sacrifice to Buddha. When he refused, they beheaded him, then fled in terror, saying they had killed a righteous man.
Forty-two delegates meet at Winona Lake, Indiana, to found Youth for Christ International. Torrey Johnson is elected president and recruits Billy Graham as the first full-time evangelist for the movement.
Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca, 23, was sentenced to life imprisonment for hisattempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in May of this year.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"