Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, August 21

1245
Alexander of Hales, 59, died. An English scholastic theologian, Alexander is regarded as the founder of the Franciscan school of theology.
1553
Authorities in Geneva write to Vienna asking for information on Servetus. The authorities in Vienna will reply with a demand for his extradition. The Genevan city council will then offer Servetus the choice of returning to Vienna or staying in Geneva to face blasphemy charges. Servetus chooses to remain in Geneva, and is burned to death there.
1732
At three in the morning, Count von Zinzendorf lays his hands on the heads of Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann, commending them to God as the first Moravian missionaries.
1815
Joseph Mohr is ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He will write the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night."
1843
African-American clergyman Henry Highland Garnet calls on African Americans to rebel against slavery as a moral duty, pointing out that slaveowners forbid them to read the Bible, to rear their children in godliness, and oblige their women to behave as whores. He says that "neither God, nor angels, or just men" can require such servitude.
1866
Birth of Civilla Durfee Martin in Jordan, Nova Scotia, Canada. She will be a school teacher before marrying Walter Martin with whom she will produce a number of Gospel songs, including these popular numbers: "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power," "God Will Take Care of You," and "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
1874
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), a popular Congregational clergyman from Connecticut, is accused of adultery by Theodore Tilton, who sues him for ,000. Beecher will be exonerated by a jury - and by his congregation.
1920
Orthodox priest Sergius Frolovich Dmitrievsky, serving in a Cossack parish in Omsk, is arrested by Communists. In October he will be convicted of "counter-revolutionary activity," sentenced to death, and shot.
1930
Pioneer linguistic educator Frank C. Laubach wrote in a letter: 'If this entire universe has a desperate need of love to incarnate itself, then "important duties" which keep us from helping little people are not duties but sins.'
2009
Communist police beat Protestant church leaders Phan Nay, Vong Kpa, and Hnoi Ksor of Ploi Ksing village in Vietnam's Gia Lai Province.

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