Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, August 16

Death of John the Constant (Elector of Saxony). He had been a leader of the princes who protested the measures taken by the Catholic-dominated Diet of Speyer in 1529 (thus becoming one of the first to be named a "Protestant"). He signed the Augsburg Confesssion and helped organize the Schmalkaldic League which protected the Protestant Reformation. Authority for the date: Standard encyclopedias.
John Campanius sails from Stockholm with his family to minister in Delaware. There he will learn the Lenni Lenape tongue and translate religious works into it, keep weather records, and consecrate the first Lutheran church built in the new world. Authority for the date: "Campanius, John." Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribners, 1958.
Death of Thomas Fuller, a popular preacher of seventeenth-century England. He had written two books which made him famous: A Church History of Britain and Worthies of England. A Royalist during the civil war, he was in such danger that he later remarked "All that time I could not live to study who did only study to live." Authority for the date: Britannica.
A month-old papal brief by Pope Clement XIV is carried into effect, suppressing the Jesuit order in several nations. Forty-one years later Pope Pius VIII will formally restore the order. Authority for the date: Standard encyclopedias.
Ordination of Absalom Jones, formerly a slave, as a deacon in the Episcopal Church. He will become America's first African-American Episcopal priest. Authority for the date: archive.episcopalchurch.org
Birth of St. John Bosco, Italian educator. Poverty among the children in the city of Turin led him in 1859 to establish the Society of St. Francis of Sales (the Salesians). Bosco was canonized by Pius XI in 1934.
Repose (death) of Matrona Naumovna Popova who had founded the first hospice in the town of Zadonsk, a disciple of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk. Authority for the date: orthodoxwiki.org.
Birth of Adolf von Schlatter, Swiss Protestant New Testament scholar. His 1921 History of Christ maintained that the success of any systematic theology had to be based on a foundation of solid biblical exegesis.
Death of early 19th century Presbyterian revivalist Charles G. Finney, 82. Converted at 29, he led revivals for several years before affiliating with Oberlin College in 1835, where he spent the rest of his professional life.
Death of hymnwriter Constance Headlam Coote at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, remembered for the hymn "In the Quiet Consecration." Authority for the date: Cyberhymnal.
Birth of Don Wyrtzen, contemporary Christian songwriter. Among his most enduring sacred compositions are "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" and "Worthy is the Lamb."
Death in New York City of John Courtney Murray, a Jesuit theologian and educator. He is best-known for his defence of the United States' Constitution and his arguments against any effort by the Roman Catholic Church to bring about change within nations by means other than moral persuasion. Authority for the date: Britannica.
African-American Methodist clergyman from Dominica, West Indies, Philip A. Potter, 51, was named general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Serving until 1984, Potter gave strong spiritual guidance to the work of the WCC.
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