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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, March 23

1198
Last day for Waldenses and other "heretics" to leave the dominions of Pedro II, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona. Following this date, every "heretic" is liable to burn at the stake and have his/her property confiscated.
1324
Pope John XXII excommunicates Louis IV of Bavaria, Holy Roman Emperor, for exercising imperial rights when the pope had ordered him not to.
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.
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).
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).
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
Archbishop of Canterbury Arthur Michael Ramsey met and exchanged public greetings with Pope Paul VI in Rome. It was the first official meeting between heads of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in over 400 years.
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