Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, July 4

325
A jewel-encrusted Emperor Constantine appears before the Council of Nicea that he has assembled, declaring that "Division in the church is worse than war."
431
A large crowd descends on a church in Constantinople chanting, “Many years to Pulcheria! Many years to the empress!” expressing support for the Christological line Pulcheria has pressed at the Council of Ephesus.
1187
Saladin defeats Christians in Palestine at the Battle of Hattin.
1533
John Frith (Fryth) is burned at the stake in Smithfield by King Henry VIII of England. A Protestant and fellow translator with William Tyndale, he had been accused of heresy.
1755
Death of John Cennick, English clergyman. Born of Quaker parents, he had been raised in the Anglican Church, worked within the Methodist movement under John Wesley, left Wesley to work with George Whitefield, and finally, in 1845, joined the Moravian Brethren. Cennick had published several collections of hymns during his lifetime.
1765
English poet and hymnwriter William Cowper observed in a letter: 'How naturally does affliction make us Christians!'
1831
Baptist clergyman Samuel Francis Smith penned the American patriotic hymn,'America' ('My Country, 'tis of Thee'). Smith was unaware that the tune, ironically, was also that of England's national anthem: 'God Save the Queen'!
1887
Excommunication of Roman Catholic priest Edward McGlynn takes effect. He was viewed as insubordinate for taking socialist positions not authorized by the church, including supporting Henry George for mayor of New York City, and then failing to obey a summons to present himself in Rome. Pope Leo XIII will lift the excommunication in 1892.
1986
The Baptist convention of Nicaragua issues an appeal against United States intervention in Nicaragua and against an embargo of their nation's Sandinista Communist regime.
1998
An "Orthodox Congress" demonstrates in Jerusalem, working with the Palestine Authority to take control of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

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