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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, February 12

1049
Bruno is enthroned as pope, taking the name Leo IX. Among his first acts will be countering threats from antipope Benedict IX. He will endeavor to improve the papal finances which are in woeful condition and correct the abuses of simony and sexual misconduct that are rife among churchmen.
1220
Jordan of Saxony, who becomes an early leader of the Dominicans, is accepted into that order.
1322
During the night of this, the eve of St. Ermenilda's day, the central tower of Ely Cathedral collapses.
1481
The first Auto da Fe (ie: Act of Faith, a public confession and implementation of sentences) is conducted by the Spanish Inquisition and takes place in Seville. Twelve men and women are burned alive, charged with relapsing into the practice of Judaism.
1593
An Orthodox synod meeting in the Church of Theotokos Paramythia in Constantinople endorses the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II to raise the Metropolitan of Moscow to Patriarchal rank. The Russian patriarch thus becomes the fifth ranking patriarch, after that of Jerusalem.
1797
The Emperor's Hymn (Austrian National Anthem) with music by Franz Joseph Haydn is first sung, on this, the birthday of Francis II, who has been Holy Roman Emperor for about five years. In future, the tune will often be used for the hymn "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken."
1807
Anglican missionary to Persia Henry Martyn wrote in his journal: 'Amazing patience, He bears with this faithless foolish heart and suffers me to come, laden with sins, to receive new pardon, new grace, every day! Why does not such love make me hate sin that grieves Him and hides me from His sight?'
1891
Katharine Drexel of Pennsylvania, having given up a large inheritance, founds the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to serve African American and Native American people who are oppressed by discrimination and dire poverty. She uses her fortune to fund the society's work and will found Xavier University in New Orleans.
1938
Death of Iosif Trifa, an Orthodox priest in Romania, who had founded the successful revival movement The Lord's Army. The Orthodox Church will refuse him burial with priestly honors, a position it will later acknowledge as wrong.
1952
The Roman Catholic program "Life is Worth Living" debuted on television. Hosted by (then-) Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, the half-hour program aired on Tuesday nights. It became the longest-running religious TV series of its day, and ran through February of 1957.

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