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Today in Christian History
Death of eighty-two-year-old Roman Emperor Justinian. He had reunited the Eastern and Western empires politically and religiously, erected several basilicas and created the Justinian Code. This code of law will influence the development of canon law in the Middle Ages and secular law codes into modern times.
Death of Gregory Palamas, a fourteenth-century Byzantium monk. He had advocated repetitive prayer and devotion to Mary. Having fled from Mt. Athos to escape the Turks, he became bishop of Thessalonica, was excommunicated during power struggles, and eventually rehabilitated.
Dutch Anabaptist reformer Menno Simons wrote in a letter: 'We ought not to dread death so. It is but to cease from sin and to enter into a better life.'
Death at Hanover, Germany, of the Lutheran philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz who refused lucrative positions that would have forced him to change faith. A mathematical genius, the symbols he developed will be used in calculus.
English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in his journal: 'We can preach the Gospel of Christ no further than we have experienced the power of it in our own hearts.'
In Wales, English revivalist George Whitefield, 27, married widow Elizabeth Burnell, 36. (Whitefield apparently did not allow marriage to interrupt his evangelistic activities, since he was not home when their first child was born.)
Consecration of American clergyman Samuel Seabury as a bishop of the Anglican Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Church of England had refused to perform the ceremony because he would not swear loyalty to the crown. The following year he formally becomes America's first Anglican bishop. Five years later, he will help reorganize America's Anglicans as the Episcopal Church.
At a convention of the Northern association of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in New York City, the United States Christian Commission is formed. It will minister to the material and spiritual needs of soldiers during the American Civil War.
Death of Elizabeth Maria Thompson, founder of the Lebanon Evangelical Mission. She had gone to Lebanon to comfort the widows and orphans created by a Muslim massacre of the Christian males at Damascus.
C.H.S. Matthews sails from Liverpool to Australia to become a bush parson. There he will become founder of the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"