Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, May 21

1382
A great earthquake in England destroys some churches in Kent and damages Canterbury Cathedral.
1535
Henry Phillips betrays William Tyndale to Roman Catholic authorities in Antwerp. Phillips, an agent of Henry VIII, already has a long track record of villainy. Tyndale will be strangled and burned.
1536
William Farel preaches so effectively in Geneva that its people swear an oath with lifted hands "to live in the holy evangelical law and the word of God as it has been announced to us desiring to abandon all masses, images, idols and all which may pertain thereto to live in union and obedience to justice." They also vow to set up a school for poor children and to educate their children.
1740
English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter regarding Jesus' character; 'He was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again.'
1864
Belgian missionary priest Father Damien, 24, was ordained on the Island of Hawaii. Born Joseph de Veuster, the Picpus Father began a work among the lepers on the island of Molokai in 1873. Contracting the disease in 1884, Father Damien succumbed to it five years later.
1872
Death on the Isle of Mull of hymnwriter Mary Macdougal Macdonald. The daughter of a Baptist cleric, she wrote in Gaelic. Her best known hymn is "Child in the Manger."
1874
Ira Sankey first sings "The Ninety and Nine" (the "Lost Sheep" song). His audience is deeply moved.
1884
Fourteen-year old Matrona Petrovna Frolova enters the Krasnoslobodsky Trinity women's monastery in Penza province. Four years later she will become a nun at Kazan. In 1907 she will receive a Red Cross medal for her work during the Russo-Japanese war. She becomes abbess of a Kazan monastery, where she will make every possible defense against its dismantling by the Soviets. She will be arrested many times in succeeding years, deprived of her right to vote, and shot in her old age.
1891
George Louis Williams is ordained as a Congregational minister at Oberlin College, Ohio. He will become a missionary to China where he and his wife will work among opium addicts. Williams will be murdered in the Boxer Rebellion but his wife will heroically continue the mission work.
1972
Laszlo Toth, wielding a hammer, and shouting "I am Jesus Christ - risen from the dead," attacks Michaelangelo's sculpture the Pieta, chipping the nose and left eye of the Madonna, and breaking off her left arm.

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