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Today in Christian History
Lucy, a young Christian virgin, is executed for her faith in Syracuse, Sicily, an attempt having been first made to force her into prostitution. Within a century she will be one of the most popular saints, and Scandinavians will later become her strongest followers.
Death in Rome of Pope Calixtus II. He had defeated Emperor Henry V in battle, making possible a resolution to the controversy between church and state over investiture.
Death of Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon), 69, medieval Jewish scholar and author. His greatest writing, "Guide of the Perplexed" (1190) attempted to harmonize Aristotelian philosophy with rabbinic Judaism.
To the shock of the Christian world, Pope Celestine V resigns the papacy, having first issued a controversial constitution allowing popes the right to do so.
Birth of William W. How, Anglican clergyman. Shunning the glory of higher ecclesiastical positions, How was known for his work among the poor in East London. He also wrote 50 hymns, of which "We Give Thee But Thine Own" and "For All the Saints" remain two of his most popular.
Birth of Phillips Brooks, American Episcopal clergyman. Though he produced ten volumes of sermons, he is better remembered today as author of the Christmas carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem," written in 1868 for the children of his Sunday School.
Death of Father Herman, the soul of the Orthodox mission to the Kadiak of Alaska. He had been devoted to Mary, to whom he prayed, and he considered sin of little consequence to the Christian. "A true Christian is made by faith and love of Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the word of the Savior Himself...Sin, to one who loves God, is nothing other than an arrow from the enemy in battle. "
Birth of E.O. Excell, American sacred chorister. Excell published 50 gospel songbooks and wrote and composed 2,000 hymns, including "Since I Have Been Redeemed, "Count Your Blessings" and "I'll Be a Sunbeam for Jesus."
American missionary martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: 'I think God is to be glorified by asking the impossible of Him.'
John Ajayi Agbona founds the Christ Apostolic Mission Church Oke-Igbala in Nigeria. Many miracles accompany his ministry and the denomination spreads into several other countries.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"