Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, August 21

1245
Alexander of Hales, 59, died. An English scholastic theologian, Alexander is regarded as the founder of the Franciscan school of theology.
1552
Trial ends for Juan Gil, aka Doctor Egidio, founder of a little Protestant community at Seville. He had preached to the nuns of Santa Clara on the uselessness of external works, rejected prayer to saints, and disparaged image-veneration as idolatry. He is obliged publicly to abjure some propositions, is sentenced to a year of confinement, forbidden to leave Spain, told that for a year after release he may not celebrate mass, and suspended from preaching, confessing, and participating in disputations for ten years.
1553
Authorities in Geneva write to Vienna asking for information on Servetus. The authorities in Vienna will reply with a demand for his extradition. The Genevan city council will then offer Servetus the choice of returning to Vienna or staying in Geneva to face blasphemy charges. Servetus chooses to remain in Geneva, and is burned to death there.
1732
At three in the morning, Count von Zinzendorf lays his hands on the heads of Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann, commending them to God as the first Moravian missionaries.
1815
Joseph Mohr is ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He will write the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night."
1831
Nat Turner, Baptist preacher and former slave, leads a violent insurrection in Virginia.
1843
African-American clergyman Henry Highland Garnet calls on African Americans to rebel against slavery as a moral duty, pointing out that slaveowners forbid them to read the Bible, to rear their children in godliness, and oblige their women to behave as whores. He says that "neither God, nor angels, or just men" can require such servitude.
1866
Birth of Civilla Durfee Martin in Jordan, Nova Scotia, Canada. She will be a school teacher before marrying Walter Martin with whom she will produce a number of Gospel songs, including these popular numbers: "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power," "God Will Take Care of You," and "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
1874
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), a popular Congregational clergyman from Connecticut, is accused of adultery by Theodore Tilton, who sues him for ,000. Beecher will be exonerated by a jury - and by his congregation.
1920
Orthodox priest Sergius Frolovich Dmitrievsky, serving in a Cossack parish in Omsk, is arrested by Communists. In October he will be convicted of "counter-revolutionary activity," sentenced to death, and shot.

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