Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, December 21

1406
(probable date) Martyrdom of Juliana of Viazma. Youri, Duke of Smolensk, had tried to seduce her and when he could not, stabbed her husband during a feast and hacked her to death. She became venerated as a saint by the Orthodox Church because of her virtue.
1620
After a stormy and dangerous voyage and several weeks of reconnoitering in New England, the passengers of the Mayflower land on Plymouth Rock to begin settlement. Because of bad weather, house building will not begin until two days later.
1672
Birth of Johann Christoph Schwedler, German clergyman and author of the hymn, "Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know." Schwedler penned more than 500 hymns during his life, many stressing the joyÂfilled confidence available to every Christian believer.
1776
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'It is necessary that our sharpest trials should sometimes spring from our dearest comforts, else we should be in danger of forgetting ourselves and setting up our rest here.'
1835
Oglethorpe University was chartered in Milledgeville, Georgia under Presbyterian auspices. In 1913 the campus was moved to Atlanta.
1843
Irish Catholic religious Frances Ward, 33, first arrived in the U.S. in Pittsburgh, where she afterward helped establish successive convents of the Sisters of Mercy, both in Chicago and in Loretto, Pennsylvania.
1856
Death in London of John Harris, a preacher, educator, and author. His most famous book was The Great Teacher: Characteristics of Our Lord's Ministry. He evoked hostile reactions with another book, Mammon, or Covetousness the Sin of the Christian Church. His works were more popular in the United States than in his native Britain.
1896
After fighting against spiritual conviction for months, fifteen-year-old Walter Wilson yields to Christ in Kansas City, Missouri, noticing an immediate change in his own attitudes and behavior. The following year, he will begin holding evangelistic street meetings, eventually becoming a medical doctor and lay evangelist.
1939
Death of Frederick Barnabas Van Eyk, a notable Pentecostal preacher in Australia. He had recently divorced his wife and married a younger woman. Bitten by a tse-tse fly, he refused medical treatment, trusting to faith healing, and died.
1941
The BBC airs the first play in Dorothy Sayers' cycle The Man Born to Be King. Before it goes on air, some Christian groups call it blasphemous because an actor is to speak Christ's lines. However, its reception among Christians will prove generally good.

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