Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, August 15

The proconsul of Africa proclaims unity of the African church under Gratus after years of conflict between the Catholic Church and the stricter Donatists. Donatus withdraws into exile. Authority for the date: Frend, W. H. C. The Early Church. Philadelphia: Fortress Pr., 1965.
Saracen leader Moslemah raises his siege of Constantinople, after a brilliant defense by Emperor Leo III, who thereby becomes the first Christian ruler to significantly thwart the advance of Islam. Because it is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the Byzantines ascribe their victory to the mother of Christ. After forsaking the siege, many of the Arab ships involved will be destroyed by a storm and others will burn when ashes from the volcano of Santorini fall on them. Authority for the date: Finlay, George. A History of Greece from its Conquest by the Romans to the Present Time. Volume II, The Byzantine E
Death in Esztergom, Hungary, of St. Stephen, first king of Hungary. Baptized and reared a Christian, he had founded many monasteries and churches and sent Christian missionaries throughout his realm. Authority for the date: Britannica.
The armies of the First Crusade set out from Europe to deliver Jerusalem from the occupying forces of Islamic Turks. Championed by Peter the Hermit in 1093, Pope Urban II had sanctioned the crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095.
The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) was founded by Ignatius of Loyola, 43. Created to foster reform within Catholicism, and to undertake education and missionary work, this colorful religious order was formally approved by Pope Paul III in 1540.
The first Christian missionaries to reach Japan landed at Kagoshima (on the coast of Kyushu, southernmost of the four main islands of Japan). They were a band of Spanish Jesuits, led by pioneer Catholic missionary Francis Xavier, 43.
Agnes Prest is burned to death at Southern Hay by Queen Mary's government because of her rejection of the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. Authority for the date: Standard encyclopedias.
Repose (death) of the venerable Gerasimus, a much-traveled ascetic, priest, and abbot of the Orthodox church. Authority for the date: http://oca.org.
Birth of Jeremy Taylor, Anglican clergyman and devotional writer. Two of his works became classic expressions of Anglican spirituality: "The Rule and Exercise of Holy Living" (1650) and "The Rule and Exercise of Holy Dying" (1651).
Father John Carroll, 55, was consecrated by Pius VI as the first Roman Catholic bishop (later, in 1811, the first archbishop) of the United States.
Death, from inflammation of the brain, of Frederick W. Robertson, a prominent Anglican clergyman. His ministry had been mainly among the working classes but his writings were widely read and especially cherished by evangelicals. He had been ordained bishop of Winchester in 1840. Authority for the date: Dictionary of National Biography.
Death of poet Julie Katharina von Hausmann near Wösso, Estonia. She was the author of the hymn "So nimm denn meine Hände" ("O Take My Hand, Dear Father"). Authority for the date: Cyberymnal.
An All-Russian Church Council convenes in Moscow. It will restore the Patriarchial form of church government abolished by Peter the Great almost two hundred years earlier in 1721. Authority for the date: Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church.
A truck-load of rebel soldiers takes over the hospital compound at Nobobongo, Congo, which they will occupy for five months. Among the women held by them is medical missionary Dr. Helen Roseveare who will live to tell a tale of severe abuse and terror. (For example, she will be repeatedly raped and a local chief will be found "guilty" by a "people's court" and flayed alive and eaten.) Authority for the date: Roseveare, Helen. Give Me This Mountain. InterVarsity Press, 1995.
Latin American bishops issue the “Message of the Bishops of the Third World” denouncing structural oppression in society. It is part of the development of what is called “liberation theology.” Authority for the date: History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
Pope John Paul II addresses the role and importance of women in an apostolic letter, but reaffirms the male-only priesthood for certain church rituals such as the mass. Authority for the date: APOSTOLIC LETTER MULIERIS DIGNITATEM
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