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Today in Christian History
Death of King Oswy of Northumbria. Oswy was involved in the treacherous murder of his main rival, Oswin, who had raised forces to oust him. However, under Oswy's rule much of the middle of England converted to Christianity and his armies were triumphant against sizable pagan forces.
Baptism of Jagiello (Jagaila), King of the Lithuanians, in Poland.
Death in Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel of Michael Praetorius, German composer, on his fiftieth birthday. He wrote many beautiful pieces of Christian music, such as "In Dulci Jubilo."
John Campanius, Lutheran pastor and missionary to the American Indians, arrives in America (New Sweden on the Delaware River).
Five slaves on St. Thomas Island, writing in behalf of 650 persecuted Christian brothers and sisters, address a letter to the king of Denmark telling of the violence they have experienced from white owners; their owners also burn their books and declare that a "baptized black is no more than kindling wood for the fires of hell."
Anglican hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule even our mistakes to His glory and our own advantage.'
Wheaton College was chartered in Illinois under Methodist sponsorship. (The following year the school passed into Congregational control. Today, Wheaton is non-denominational.)
Death at Crawfordsville, Indiana, of Lew Wallace, author of Ben Hur. The novel had been conceived on a train ride while arguing about Christ's divinity with famous agnostic Robert Ingersoll. It sold more than 300,000 copies in a decade, making it one of the best-selling religious books of the 1800s.
Death of Franklin L. Sheppard, 78. He served on the editorial committee of the 1911 edition of the Presbyterian Hymnal, but is better remembered for composing the hymn tune TERRA BEATA, to which "This Is My Father's World" is most commonly sung.
Repose (death) of Anthimus of Chios. After years of ascetic living and service to others, he had founded the Monastery of Panagia Voithia on the Island of Chios to take women and nuns displaced in a population swap between Turkey and Greece.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"