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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, March 23

1415
Jean Charlier Gerson, speaking at the Council of Constance, asserts that a pope may be forced to abdicate and that general councils are above popes.
1532
Zurich leaders execute two Anabaptists by drowning, Heinrich Karpfis and Hans Herzog. These are the last of six such executions at Zurich.
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.
1869
The Methodist Episcopal Woman's Board in Boston organizes the Women's Foreign Missionary Society.
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.
1892
Birth of George Arthur Buttrick, English Presbyterian pastor and educator. A teacher at both Union Theological Seminary and Harvard University, Buttrick is best remembered as chief editor of "The Interpreter's Bible" (1952-57).
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"