Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, January 16

648
[Approximate year.] Death at Forsheim, France, of St. Fursey who had founded monasteries in England and Gaul. Many years earlier, Fursey, while seriously ill, had fallen into a trance in which he saw visions of heaven and hell that he recorded. These will probably be among the sources from which Dante will draw inspiration for the descriptions of hell and heaven in his Inferno and Paradiso.
1543
British Parliament prohibits the reading of the New Testament in English by "women or artificer's prentices, journeymen, servingmen of the degree of yeoman, or under, husbandmen or labourers..."
1545
Death at Altenburg, Saxony, of Georg Spalatin, a friend of Luther. As confidential secretary, councilor, librarian, historian, archivist, and relic-buyer for elector Frederick the Wise he had been able to promote the Reformation.
1630
Archbishop William Laud consecrates St. Catherine Cree Church, in Leadenhall Street, London, with ritual and ceremony that his detractors consider excessive and counter to Reformation or Puritan tendencies.
1740
English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter: 'If I see a man who loves the Lord Jesus in sincerity, I am not very solicitous to what...communion he belongs. The Kingdom of God, I think, does not consist in any such thing.'
1815
Reformer Henry Thornton dies at William Wilberforce's house in London, England. A banker and Parliamentarian, he had been the financial brains behind the social schemes of the philanthropic and anti-slavery group known as the Clapham Sect.
1899
Death in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, of Charles P. Chiniquy, who had been a Catholic priest but, following disciplinary action, left the church and became a popular American agitator against Catholicism and the author of the anti-Catholic book, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome. He had also blamed Lincoln's assassination on a Catholic conspiracy.
1929
Abraham Odekunle Aiki returns to his home town in Ilero, Nigeria, where for more than forty years he will preach, visit, pray, and study. His church will grow from thirty-nine members to over one thousand, and he will plant several new churches and establish a school where none had previously existed.
1982
Great Britain established full diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
1999
United Methodists disturb many fellow Methodists and other traditional Christians by "blessing" a lesbian couple before fifteen hundred people in Sacramento, California. The women were lay leaders who had lived together for fifteen years.

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