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Today in Christian History
Vasco da Gama and his sailors capture Kilwa, an African city state, granting the lives only of those Moors who do not resist. After marching through the city singing a Te Deum, they loot its wealth.
Don Fr. Francisco de Cisneros, archbishop of Toledo and general inquisitor of Spain, issues an order empowering all bishops in New Spain to investigate, imprison, prosecute, and punish heretics.
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."
A small congregation of English Separatists, led by John Robinson, began theiremigration to the New World. Today, this historic group of religious refugees has come tobe known as the 'Pilgrims.'
Death of James Varick, first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
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.
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"