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Today in Christian History
German reformer Martin Luther publicly burns Pope Leo X's bull Exsurge Domine, which demands that Luther recant his "heresies," including justification by faith alone.
Henry van Zutphen, an Augustinian monk who had become a Lutheran minister, is burned to death in Holstein by a drunken mob incited by religious and secular authorities.
Death of Polish-German reformer Kaspar Schwenkfeld, who rejected infant baptism, said that conversion must produce a regenerated character to be real, and taught that Christ had two natures but became progressively more divine. He also held that true believers eat the spiritual body of Christ in Communion.
Death in Wittenberg of Lutheran hymnwriter Paul Eber. Some of his hymns were written for his own children.
Italian archaeologist Antonio Bosio makes his first descent into Christian burial chambers located under the streets of Rome and is almost unable to find his way back out, having forgotten the turns he had taken and used up his candles. Bosio will be dubbed the "Columbus of the Catacombs," and his books will long remain the standard works on the underground tombs of the early Roman Church.
Two hundred and fifty seven defeated Scottish Covenanters are shipwrecked in the Crown of London off the coast of Scotland, their captors having earlier battened the hatches to prevent their escape. After the ship breaks up, only a few survivors reach shore.
Hector Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ receives its first public performance at the Salle Herz, Paris, with Berlioz conducting and soloists from the Opéra-Comique. Berlioz himself had written the words. It will remain a popular Christmas piece into the twenty-first century.
"The Gift of the Magi," a short story by William Sydney Porter, 43, was first published. Known by his pen name, O. Henry, Porter's writings were characterized by trick endings, making him a master of short story telling.
English Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter: 'In so far as the things unseen are manifested by the things seen, one might from one point of view call the whole material universe an allegory.'
Death of Thomas Merton in Bangkok, Thailand. The Trappist monk was famed for writings such as The Seven Storey Mountain and had been an outspoken critic of American involvement in the Vietnam War.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"