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Today in Christian History
Death of Sebastian Castellio at Basle, Switzerland. He will be remembered for his book Concerning Heretics, calling for religious tolerance.
Death of Basiliscus, a founder of monasticism in Siberia.
Howard College was chartered in Marion, Alabama, under Baptist sponsorship. The campus relocated to Birmingham in 1887.
The Christmas hymn by Edmund Sears, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," was first published in "The Christian Register." Sears' carol features the American emphasis in Christian living, that is, the social message of "peace on earth, good will toward men."
Death of hymnwriter P.P. Bliss in a fiery train wreck, when a bridge near Ashtabula, Ohio, fails and his train plunges into a ravine. He had written many notable hymns, including "Hallelujah, What a Savior!" and "Almost Persuaded." It will be remarked that the night before his death he sang, "I'm going home Tomorrow."
Sidney Brooks becomes the first victim of the Boxer Rebellion. Assaulted near Tai'an, China, he is beaten and pricked with knives, led about with a rope through his nose, forced to stand in his underwear in freezing conditions, and finally beheaded after he manages to flee to a nearby ravine. The following year, tens of thousands of Chinese Christians and foreign missionaries will perish in massacres by the Boxers.
Conversion of Allen Yuan, who will become a Chinese evangelist.
In Tambaram, South India, the second world meeting of the International Missionary Council closed at Madras Christian College (having opened Dec. 12th). It was afterward called the IMC's Tambaram Conference.
Argentina declares the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (said to be the oldest Protestant church building in South America) a National Historic and Artistic Monument. The declaration also establishes a Russian Orthodox church and a Jewish synagogue as historic and artistic monuments.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"