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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, February 20

536
(or the 19th) Pope Agapetus, sent as ambassador to the eastern emperor by Theodahad, king of the Ostrogoths, enters Constantinople. He will die there two months later.
1620
Death of Rasmus Jensen, first Lutheran pastor in North America, at Port Churchill, Hudson Bay, Canada.
1737
Death at Frome in Somerset, England, from apoplexy of author Elizabeth Singer Rowe. Her poems and fiction were Christian-themed, and she will be considered a pivotal figure in the development of the English novel, to which she contributed the figure of the chaste heroine.
1864
Charles Cardwell McCabe, the Methodist chaplain whose singing made Julia Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" famous, sings it for President Abraham Lincoln in the White House. Lincoln cries, "Sing it again." Afterward, the president remarks, "Take it all in all, the song and the singing, that was the best I ever heard." McCabe will later be elected a Methodist bishop.
1878
Election of Pope Leo XIII. He will be one of the longest-reigning popes, promoting the rosary, embracing the concept of Mary as mediatrix, issuing a famous encyclical on modernism, and much more.
1919
Led by Lucy Peabody and Helen Montgomery, women unite for a day of prayer for missions. This develops into an annual worldwide prayer event.
1942
Death of Barlaam, Archbishop of Perm, who had been restricted and imprisoned at various times by Soviet authorities for his religious activities. In August 1941 he had been condemned to be shot, but the sentence was commuted to ten years in prison camps.
1950
American missionary and martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: 'One may know God's work for his soul without understanding it all... Let the heart be warm, at all costs to the head, in the getting of Christianity.'
1960
Death in London of Sir Leonard Woolley, an outstanding archaeologist who leaves behind him groundbreaking work on biblical peoples and places - the Hittites, ancient Sumeria, Sinai, and Ur of the Chaldees.
1976
Death of Kathryn Kuhlman, 69, popular American radio and TV evangelist. A member of the American Baptist Convention, Kuhlman's preaching emphasized the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

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