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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, March 17

1479
Pope Sixtus IV grants the rector and dean of the University of Cologne the authority to censure printers, sellers, and readers of "heretical" books.
1498
Local authorities, frightened by the pope's threat to interdict the city of Florence, ask Girolamo Savonarola to stop preaching. He will not and soon afterward is executed.
1649
Martyrdom in Ontario of Jesuit priest Gabriel Lalemant, who prays for the souls of the Iroquois as they slowly torture him to death with ingenious torments.
1734
Forty-two families of German Protestant refugees landed in the American colonies. Sponsored by the British Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK), the 78 religious pilgrims soon founded the town of Ebenezer, 30 miles from Savannah, Georgia.
1789
Birth of Charlotte Elliott, English devotional writer. An illness at age 33 left her an invalid her remaining 50 years, during which she devoted herself to religious writing. Of her 150 hymns, "Just As I Am" remains popular today.
1841
Birth of James R. Murray, American sacred music editor. A veteran of the American Civil War, Murray is better remembered today as composer of the hymn tune MUELLER, to which we sing the Christmas carol, "Away in a Manger."
1856
Amanda Smith, living in Pennsylvania, goes to a cellar and prays, saying she will be saved or die. She soon experiences the glory of the Lord.
1890
Birth of Julius R. Mantey, co-author (with H. E. Dana) of a popular intermediate biblical language grammar. Originally published in 1927, the "Dana & Mantey" New Testament Greek Grammar is still popular, and still in print!
1902
Death in New York City of George W. Warren, an outstanding organist who served at several large Episcopal churches in Albany, Brooklyn, and New York City in the second half of the nineteenth century. One of his hymn tunes is still in use, that to which we sing "God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand."
1960
Bishop Kung Ping Mei of Shanghai is sentenced to life imprisonment because he refuses to head a Communist church-control movement.

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