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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, March 19

1587
William Allen, exiled head of England's Roman Catholics, exhorts King Philip II of Spain by letter to undertake an invasion of England and declares that the Catholics there are clamoring for him to punish Queen Elizabeth, "hated by God and man."
1612
Sophia Olelkovich Raziwell died, the last descendent of the Olelkovich-Slutsk dynasty. Passionate for Orthodoxy, she had refused to convert to Catholicism and had obtained a law allowing landowners of the region (modern-day Belarus) to remain Orthodox. Because of her efforts, the region around Slutsk will become a bastion of Orthodoxy, and in 1983 she will be canonized by the Orthodox Church.
1641
A General Court ended which declared the Colony of Rhode Island a democracy. The Court also adopted a constitution granting religious freedom to all its citizens.
1656
Death in Helmstadt, Germany, of Georg Calixtus who had been the most influential perpetuator of Melanchthon's Lutheran theology in the seventeenth century.
1711
Death at Longleat, England, of Thomas Ken, notable in his generation as one of seven bishops who had been sent to the Tower of London for refusing to publish King James II's Declaration of Indulgence. He will be remembered by succeeding generations as the author of the doxology "Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow."
1799
In Vienna, the first public performance of Franz Joseph Haydn's oratorio Creation takes place. Tickets have been sold out long in advance. A public rehearsal and a private performance for the elite had taken place almost a year earlier, also in Vienna.
1875
American poet William Cullen Bryant writes his Christmas hymn "Look from Thy Sphere of Endless Day" for the fiftieth anniversary of the Church of the Messiah in Boston.
1879
Death in Racine, Wisconsin, of James De Koven, an Episcopal priest and a leader of Anglican ritualism.
1907
Charles Harrison Mason experiences baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. An African-American, he will become founder and head of the Church of God in Christ, Inc.
1987
Following disclosures of a 1980 sexual liaison with church secretary Jessica Hahn, Jim Bakker steps down as head of the PTL ministry. He will later go to prison on charges of financial fraud.

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