Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, May 31

1567
Guido de Brès, author of the Belgic Confession, is hanged for his faith in Valenciennes.
1578
Italian archaeologist Antonio Bosio recognizes the importance of the accidental discovery of a subterranean burial place as an entrance to the catacombs of Rome and investigates. He will go on to find and explore many more underground burial places.
1638
Thomas Hooker preaches the opening sermon at First Church of Hartford, Connecticut, declaring that “the foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people.” He will have a hand in producing an early American “constitution,” the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639.
1680
Death in Bremen of Joachim Neander, German hymnwriter and Pietist.
1769
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'He fulfills His promise in making our strength equal to our day; and every new trial gives us new proof how happy it is to be enabled to put our trust in Him.'
1803
Presbyterians appoint Rev. Gideon Blackburn as their first missionary to the American Indians. A flambouyant preacher, he had once held a crowd of fifteen hundred listeners spellbound for two hours in a rainstorm while he preached. As a missionary and pastor, he will found churches and schools from Illinois to Alabama over a period of forty years, working along the western frontier of the United States. However, his reputation will suffer when it is learned he smuggled whiskey and speculated in land.
1821
The first Catholic cathedral in the U.S., the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary was dedicated in Baltimore.
1847
Thomas Chalmers, a highly-regarded leader in the Scottish Free Church, is found dead in bed this morning in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1942
German warplanes bombed Canterbury, England, causing severe damage to the Canterbury Cathedral (seat of Anglicanism), in retaliation for Britain's assault on Cologne, Germany.
2007
Dedication in North Carolina of the Billy Graham Library is attended by two former presidents of the United States: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Bush delivers the keynote address.

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