Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, March 20

1473
Kneeling in the confessional, Catherine of Genoa experiences an overpowering sense of her faults and of the world's misery, owing to its sin against the goodness of God, and she nearly swoons. Transported by love for God, she lives the remainder of her life (d.1510) in an unusually heightened spiritual state.
1612
Polish forces attack the Blue Jay Lake monastery near Novgorod and kill Euphrosynus, its founder, because he does not have valuables to turn over to them as ransom for his life.
1653
[Old Style] Oliver Cromwell's government creates a court of forty-three commissioners to examine all ministers who are awarded church positions in England to certify their fitness for ministerial service.
1661
Death at St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, Scotland, of famed Presbyterian preacher and author Samuel Rutherford (March 29 and 30 are also sometimes given).
1739
English founder of Methodism John Wesley wrote in a letter: 'I look upon all the world as my parish.'
1747
American missionary David Brainerd, 28, ended two-andÂone-half years of labor among the colonial Indians of New England, after having been continually plagued with ill health. (Brainerd died of tuberculosis seven months later.)
1799
Believing himself eternally damned, William Cowper writes his last poem "The Castaway," in which he compares himself to a man who has fallen off a ship in a storm and has to be abandoned by his shipmates. Cowper is well-known in English literature as a precursor of the Romantic movement and also wrote such hymns as "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood," and "O for a Closer Walk with God."
1840
Scottish clergyman Robert Murray McCheyne wrote in a letter: 'The more God opens your eyes, the more you will feel that you are lost in yourself.'
1852
American abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, 41, published her classic antislavery novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The controversy it kindled helped lead to the American Civil War, nine years later.
1928
Birth of Fred Rogers, American Presbyterian clergyman and -- since its premiere in 1965 -- host of public television's longest running children's program: "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood."

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