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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, March 23

1324
Pope John XXII excommunicates Louis IV of Bavaria, Holy Roman Emperor, for exercising imperial rights when the pope had ordered him not to.
1540
In a show of growing support for Henry VIII, Waltham Abbey in Essex became the last monastery in England to transfer its allegiance from the Catholic Church to the newly-established Church of England.
1542
Sebastian Castellio is appointed rector of the College of Geneva. He will run afoul of Calvin over personal disagreements and a dispute over the interpretation of the Song of Solomon. Expelled from Geneva, Castellio will suffer eight years of poverty before he is hired to teach at Basel. Calvin will also reject Castellio's arguments for freedom of conscience advanced in Concerning Heretics.
1593
After languishing in English prison seven years, John Greenwood and Henry Barrowe are brought to trial, charged with "publishing and dispensing seditious books." While in prison they had written against Queen Elizabeth's ecclesiastical supremacy. They will be hanged in April.
1744
In London, composer George Frederic Handel's famous oratorio "Messiah" was performed for the first time.
1754
Death in Amsterdam of Johann Jakob Wettstein, a notable theologian and Bible scholar, accused of heterodox views by Reformed scholars but accepted by Remonstrants (Arminians).
1873
Delegates of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church elect Joseph A. Beebe, of North Carolina, and L. H. Holsey, of Georgia, to be bishops.
1877
Mormon fanatic John Doyle Lee was executed by a firing squad for masterminding the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In 1857, a wagon train of 127 Arkansas Methodist emigrants, bound for California, were killed by a party of Mormon settlers and Paiute Indians at Mountain Meadows (near Cedar ity), Utah.
1929
Jonas Ahui (by his claim) is ordained the successor of West African prophet William Wadé Harris, who gives him a Bible and sacred objects. Ahui will gather a large number of Harris followers into l'Eglise Harriste which will still be strong and active in the twenty-first century.
1966
Arthur Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Pope Paul VI meet and exchange greetings in Rome, the first official meeting between heads of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in more than four hundred years.

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