Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, February 21

1076
Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV sends a sneering letter to Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII) who is in council. The bishops scream for the messenger's death but Hildebrand shields the man with his own body.
1173
Pope Alexander III canonized Thomas Becket (1118-70). As Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket had been martyred three years earlier on orders of English King Henry II a former friend until Becket was elevated to Archbishop in 1162.
1431
Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beauvais, begins his interrogation of Joan of Arc. She will eventually be condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake.
1595
Robert Southwell is hanged, drawn, and quartered. A Jesuit, he had lived secretly in London, providing priestly services for several years during the reign of Elizabeth I. After his capture he had undergone thirteen tortures.
1795
Freedom of worship was established in France under the constitution that came out of the French Revolution of 1789.
1831
Death in Bristol of the Baptist preacher Robert Hall. The depth of his ideas had been such that he is said to have held large audiences spellbound despite a weak voice. His mental breakdowns had occasionally resulted in stays in asylums.
1896
Walter Grand Taylor converts to Christianity in a hotel room. The conversion is brought on by his realization that his young wife, a Christian, who has just died, is already in heaven, while he is doomed. Twenty years later he will become head of the Pacific Garden Mission.
1953
Death of Ekvtime Takaishvili, a Georgian Orthodox historian and archaeologist who recovered lost information on the history of Georgia, founded a democratic party in his country and suffered in exile under the Soviets, while preserving a large and valuable collection of artifacts relating to Georgian history. The Georgian Orthodox Church will declare him a saint.
1954
Appointment of Bonaventure Dlamini, of the Franciscan Familiars of St. Joseph, as South Africa's first black Catholic bishop.
2009
The Vatican announces that Father Damien, famed for his work with lepers on Hawaii, will be canonized.

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