Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, May 19

363
During the night and early morning, earthquakes accompanied by ball lightening disrupt an attempt to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that was to begin the next day. These forces destroy much of the material gathered for the work. The rebuilding had the backing of the pagan emperor Julian as one of his lines of opposition to Christianity; and the event will be recounted in numerous contemporary and near-contemporary sources - Pagan, Jewish, and Christian.
1125
Death of Vladimir Monomachus. As the Christian ruler of Kiev, he strove to unite Russians and end in-fighting among Russian families. His writings show him to have been pious and to have recognized that faith is only demonstrated by works. "Oh, my children! Give praise to God and love also mankind. Neither fasting, nor solitude, nor monastic life shall save you, but good deeds." He invoked Christ constantly in prayer.
1296
Death of ex-pope Celestine V while in confinement. Following Celestine's resignation, his successor Pope Boniface VIII kept him incarcerated in the castle of Fumone near Anagni to prevent schemers using him to undermine the papacy.
1694
Death of John Mason, rector of Water Stratford, Buckinghamshire, and one of the earliest Anglican writers of hymn lyrics. A learned man, he came to believe he was the Elijah appointed to proclaim Christ's second coming. He gathered a large following who with himself expected Christ to come to Water Stratford. He also predicted he would rise on the third day after his death.
1740
English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter: 'True faith is not merely in the head, but in the heart.'
1780
Some New Englanders believe Judgment Day has arrived when the sky becomes dusky at noon.
1861
Ashbel Green Simonton, a Presbyterian missionary to Brazil, holds his first service in Rio de Janeiro.
1885
The complete Old and New Testament English Revised Version (EV or ERV) of the Bible was first published in England. After a promised 20-year wait, U.S. scholars on the ERV committee published an "Americanized" edition in 1905, known afterward as the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible.
1939
Death of Howard B. Grose, Baptist leader and author of the hymn, "Give of Your Best to the Master."
1971
"Godspell" first opened at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City. The musical by Stephen Schwartz is based on the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, and is still produced by secular and religious theater groups today.

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