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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, July 31

1556
Death of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, of an acute gallbladder attack. He had spent the day before in prayer.
1765
Ordination of John Fawcett. He had been scrupulous about going into the ministry, wanting to make sure it was God's will. After his writings bring him fame, he will be called to London from a poor church in Wainsgate and will not pray about the move before he begins packing. With breaking heart his wife asks him to reconsider, and he does, deciding Wainsgate is where the Lord wants him. Out of that experience he will write the hymn "Blest be the Tie that Binds."
1773
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'Duty is ourpart; the care is His.'
1834
Slaves that have been freed in the West Indian Islands hold midnight prayer and thanksgiving services.
1847
Death of Methodist elder Orange Scott. He had presided over the convention that created the Weslyan Methodist Connexion, whose members felt that the Methodist Episcopal Church compromised on too many issues, including slavery.
1871
Death in Newport, Rhode Island of Phoebe Cary. She had written religious poetry, including the hymn "One Sweetly Solemn Thought."
1874
Patrick Francis Healy was inaugurated president of Georgetown University, theoldest Catholic university in America. Healy at the same time became the first African-American to head a predominantly white university.
1900
Martyrdom of evangelist Liu Fengshi, formerly a gambler and opium addict. When the Boxers come to Taigu, China, he offers to die first. His wife and daughter-in-law are also beheaded. By the end of the summer, eighty of Taigu's one hundred and twenty Christians will be martyred.
1978
In Minshiet Demillo, Province of Kaliobia, Egypt, a Muslim mob murders two Sunday school teachers, Dr. Emad Barbari and his brother Boushra Barbari, and throws their bodies into the river. The suspects will confess to the murders but no formal charges will be brought against them.
1986
Death of Chiune Sugihara, an Orthodox Japanese diplomat, who, with his wife, Yukiko, had rescued thousands of Jews by providing them with Japanese visas so they could escape from Lithuania, where Chiune was Japanese Consul. His action had violated official Japanese diplomatic policy and he was eventually dismissed from his country's service. He will be remembered with other Righteous Gentiles in the Episcopal Church calendar on July 19

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