Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, December 17

630
Death of Modestus of Jerusalem who had become acting Patriarch of Jerusalem and then patriarch in his own right when the Persians captured the city and slaughtered or imprisoned many Christians, including Patriarch Zacharias.
693
Death of Begga, a daughter of Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace of Austrasia. Following the death of her husband, she had become a nun, founded seven churches, and built a convent where she was abbess.
1559
Matthew Parker is made Archbishop of Canterbury and supports Reformation under Elizabeth I. Implementing Elizabeth's policies, he will be cruel with Puritans and other dissenters. In an effort to undermine the legitimacy of his apostolic succession and the validity of Anglicanism, Catholics will later assert his consecration was invalid.
1801
Ordination of William Bengo Collyer. At eighteen he had accepted the pulpit of the Presbyterian Church of Peckham, Surrey, which had been declining under Arian teaching. Under Collyer's faithful and articulate preaching, the congregation will increase tenfold, attracting large crowds. Later he will preach at Salter's Hall, another church destroyed by Arian teaching and it, too, will come back to a flourishing state.
1843
Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published. The "social conversion" of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve may be seen as a literary symbol (based on the events of the first Christmas night) of the human potential released through spiritual conversion.
1917
The Bolsheviks in Russia confiscate church lands, cancel state subsidies for the church, make marriage a civil ordinance, and nationalize the schools, abolishing all religious instruction.
1934
Birth of Kurt Kaiser, contemporary American Christian songwriter and composer. His abiding works include: "Oh, How He Loves You and Me," "Pass It On" and "Master Designer."
1961
Death in Asyut, Egypt, of Lillian Trasher, an Assemblies of God missionary, known as the "Mother of the Nile" for her development of a large orphanage complex in Egypt which also accepted widows and blind people.
1976
The Moravian Church in Southwest Tanzania officially starts with its first synod at Utengule, at which delegates elect Tulinawo Luhomano Msinjili as their first provincial chairman.
1999
Speaking to an international symposium, Pope John Paul II expresses regret "for the cruel death inflicted on Jan Hus," commending Hus's "moral courage in the face of adversity and death."

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