Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, May 5

1572
Election of Jeremias II as patriarch of Constantinople. The Turks will remove him from office twice and imprison him once. More than most patriarchs, he will interact with the West. He will also make the Russian Orthodox Church self-governing.
1766
Death of Jean Astruc, a pioneer in the study of venereal diseases and of biblical criticism. In an effort to defend the books of Moses, he noted the different contexts of Elohim and Yahweh (Hebrew names for God) and proposed the documentary hypothesis, that Genesis was based on several ancient sources.
1806
[some sources say 1808] Death in Virginia of James Ireland, a Baptist preacher who had undergone severe incarceration and several attempts upon his life at the hands of the established church in Virginia.
1815
Birth of New England musical artist Ithamar Conkey. In addition to being a well-known church organist and bass soloist, Conkey also penned the hymn tune RATHBUN, to which we sing today, "In the Cross of Christ I Glory."
1899
The Religious Tract Society, founded in 1799, celebrated its 100th anniversary in Exeter Hall, London. The Society had by then published and distributed Christian literature in over 270 languages and dialects.
1910
Death in Edinburgh, Scotland, of Alexander McLaren, a non-conformist preacher who had preached from the original languages of the Bible and witnessed deep transformations in the churches he pastored. He had thought his sermons fell short, but posterity will regard them as among the clearest ever published.
1925
High school biology teacher John T. Scopes, 24, was arrested for teaching the theory of evolution in his Dayton, Tennessee classroom.
1941
Arrest of the Orthodox bishop, Platon of Banja Luka, in Croatia by the fascist group known as the Ustashe. He had been ordered to leave but appealed for time to set his church affairs in order. He will be killed along with hundreds of thousands of other individuals, mostly Serbs, in a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
1988
Eugene Antonio Marino, 53, was installed as the archbishop of Atlanta, becoming the first black Roman Catholic archbishop in the U.S.
1998
Orthodox Russians in Yekaterinburg (Russia's fourth largest city and located in the Ural Federal District) burn a number of books by "liberals" such as Alexander Men (sometimes called the C. S. Lewis of the Soviet Union), Nicolas Afanasiev, Alexander Schmemann, and John Meyendorff, deeming them heretical.

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