Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, December 7

374
Early Church Father, Ambrose, 34, was consecrated Bishop of Milan, Italy. His influential works on theology and ethics made Ambrose (along with Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great) one of the "four doctors" of the Western (Latin) Church.
521
(traditional date) Birth of Columba, who becomes an Irish monk, educator, bishop, and missionary. He will undertake evangelization in Scotland and Northern England, founding a monastery on the isle of Iona.
1254
Death of Pope Innocent IV. His reign had been marred by perpetual strife with German emperors, a bull allowing the Inquisition to use torture and anonymous denunciations, and pressure on French king Louis IX to undertake disastrous crusades.
1542
Emperor Charles V places a reward of one hundred gold guilders on the head of the peacable Anabaptist leader Menno Simon.
1562
Death of Roman Catholic composer Adrian Willaert, a founder of the Venetian school. He had composed masses, hymns, psalms, and motets of the highest caliber, developing an antiphonal style (that is, a style in which alternating groups respond to each other).
1661
Under pressure from the British Parliament, the American Colony of Massachusetts suspended its Corporal Punishment Act of 1656, which had imposed harsh penalties on Quakers and other religious Nonconformists.
1875
Five Franciscan nuns, exiled by the policies of Bismarck, drown in the wreck of the ship Deutschland off the coast of England during a storm. Gerard Manley Hopkins will write a celebrated poem about the event.
1965
A joint Catholic-Orthodox declaration from Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I lifts the mutual excommunications that Catholics and Orthodox had placed on each other in 1054 at the start of the great East-West Schism.
1973
In Atlanta, the Presbyterian Church in America formally instituted its missionary organization, PCA Mission to the World. It was an outgrowth of the newly established denomination.
1990
Pakistani authorities arrest Tahir Iqbal, a Christian paraplegic, declaring he had insulted Mohammed by underlining passages and making margin notes in a copy of a Koran. He died in prison, having declared, "I will kiss my rope, but I will never deny my faith."

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