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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, January 8

482
Death in a monastic cell at Favianae (in modern Austria), of Severinus, an early missionary from Africa who preached Christianity along the Danube River.
1198
Lothair of Segnei is elected as Innocent III; he will be the first to consistently title himself "Vicar of Christ" and will take the papacy to its pinnacle of power.
1455
In the bull Romanus Pontifex, Pope Nicholas V transfers Africa’s harbors, rivers, islands, and seas to Portugal’s rulers; and grants Portugal patronage over its churches and authority to sell infidels into slavery.
1539
Tjard Reynders is executed in the Netherlands for sheltering the gentle and holy Anabaptist leader Menno Simons.
1672
Death in Jamaica of Elizabeth Hooten, probably the first convert to George Fox’s Quaker teachings, and one of the earliest Protestant women preachers. She had accompanied him there on a mission trip.
1736
Death of John LeClerc (Clericus), a Swiss theologian who had left Geneva because his critical study of the Bible led him to disagree with Calvin. Settling in Amsterdam, he had become an Arminian.
1800
In London, the first soup kitchens were opened for the relief of the poor.
1879
The Grecian Holy Synod condemns Apostolos Makrakis in his absence to three months' imprisonment. Makrakis, who is popular with the middle class, had preached controversial sermons about Christ and attacked freemasonry, materialism, and simony (the sale and purchase of church positions). The latter charge turned church leaders against him and now they use his view that humans have a soul, spirit, and body to condemn him. In 1880 a court in Athens will absolve him.
1954
The State Convention of Baptists in Ohio was formed, representing 39 Southern Baptist churches in that state.
1956
In Ecuador, Plymouth Brethren missionaries Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully and Pete Fleming were killed by the Auca Indians, while attempting to evangelize their tribe. Elliot's widow Elisabeth later published the story of their work and martyrdom in her book "Through Gates of Splendor" (1963).
1966
Stephen Cardinal Wyszynski, the primate of Poland, was barred by the Polish government from attending the Vatican celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Christianity in Poland.
1969
Death in Florida of Harriet Bedell, who had served as an Episcopal missionary among Native Americans in Oklahoma, Alaska, and Florida.
1979
American Presbyterian apologist Francis Schaeffer wrote in a letter: 'A Christian is a person who has the possibility of innumerable new starts.'
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