Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, August 7

44
[possible date] Death in Caesarea of Herod Agrippa, persecutor of the Apostles, who had executed James, the brother of John.
117
Death of Marcus Trajan, 65, Roman emperor from A.D. 98-117. His attitude toward Christianity gradually changed from toleration to persecution. It was during Trajan's rule that Apostolic Father Ignatius of Antioch was martyred.
768
Stephen IV, a Sicilian, is consecrated pope. He will form a close relationship with Pepin, the Frankish king, who will grant him the first of the papal estates.
1409
The Council of Pisa closes. Convened to end the Great Schism (1378-1417) caused by two rival popes, the Council had in fact worsened the situation, by electing a third pope, Alexander V (afterwards regarded as an antipope).
1560
Ratification of the Scots Confession by the Scottish Parliament marked the triumph of the Reformation in Scotland, under the leadership of John Knox. (In 1647, the Scots Confession was superseded by the Westminster Confession.)
1737
Twenty-year-old Benjamin Beddome hears a visiting preacher speak on the text "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent," and is deeply moved. Within two years he will be studying for the pastorate. Under his preaching a revival will break forth in Gloucestershire in 1741, during which forty people will be saved. In 1743 he will accept a different pastorate and will write new hymns for the close of each service.
1814
Pope Pius VII restores the Jesuits who had been suppressed for four decades. They will be strong defenders of the papacy and two hundred years later a Jesuit will, for the first time, become pope.
1865
Repose (death) of Anthony of Optina, a notable monastic leader in the Russian Orthodox Church who had labored to uplift the spiritual tone of the monks under his care until he became too ill to work.
1878
Missouri Synod Lutheran Church founder C. F. W. Walther wrote in a letter: 'Do not deny the Word of God when it speaks to you.'
2012
A Deeper Life Bible Church in Okene, Nigeria, is attacked by three unidentified gunmen, who open fire on a Bible study group with Kalashnikov assault rifles, killing nineteen.

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