Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, December 18

1542
Death in Suzdal, Russia, of Solomonia Yuryevna Saburova, forced into a nunnery because of her failure to bear a son and heir for Grand Prince Vasili III of Muscovy. A woman of exemplary character, she will be recognized as a saint.
1666
Covenanter minister Hugh McCall is brought into court, found guilty, and condemned to hang for his resistance to the authority claimed by the king over the Scottish church. The verdict will be carried out four days later and on the way to the scaffold, McCall will assure his father that his death will do more good for the cause of God's people than twenty more years in the pulpit.
1819
Birth of Isaac Thomas Hecker, American Roman Catholic leader. He entered the Redemptorist Order in 1845, and in 1858 founded the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (the Paulist Fathers). He was superior general of the Paulist Society during his last 30 years (1858-88).
1834
Emory College was chartered in Oxford, GA, under Methodist auspices. In 1915 it changed its name to Emory University and in 1919 the campus was relocated in Atlanta, GA.
1892
Rabbi H. Rosenberg was expelled from Temple Beth-Jacob in Brooklyn, NY, for eating pork.
1904
Indian mystic Sundar Singh, 15, was converted to Christianity through a vision. Baptized into the Church of England in 1905, Singh afterward donned the robe of a Sadhu (holy man) in an endeavor to present Christianity in a Hindu form. (He disappeared in April 1929, while undertaking a strenuous work in Tibet.)
1925
Death in England of Edith Warner, from pleursy and complications, after thirty-three years of service in the Niger.
1943
German theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letter from prison: 'The man who finds God in his earthly happiness...does not lack reminder that earthly things are transient...and...there will be times when he can say in all sincerity, "I wish I were home."'
1975
Elder Seraphim (Romantsov) takes ill during a vigil, and is forced to go to bed, where he will die on the last day of the year. He had lived a life of ascetism, humility, and prayer, giving wise spiritual council to all who requested it. Under the Soviets, he had been sent with convicts to canal construction and afterward had been forced to hide for twelve years.
1979
The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith withdraws Hans Küng's missio canonica, which had permitted him to teach in the name of the church. Küng had amassed evidence against the papal claim to speak infallibility (when pronouncing officially on matters of morals and doctrine) and had made statements repugnant to Catholic theology, as that in certain circumstances a lay person could consecrate the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

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