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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, March 30

606
(Probable date) Death on Mount Sinai of John Climacus, an Eastern hermit, author, and abbot. He had authored the popular book Scala Paradisi (The Ladder of Divine Ascent). Twelve centuries later, Danish philosopher-theologian Søren Kierkegaard, writing under the pseudonyms Climacus and Anti-Climacus, will parody this work, loathing any suggestion that humans can ascend to the divine under their own power.
794
Repose (death) of Stephen of Mar Saba, who had been something of a hermit and counseled compassion for nature. The Orthodox Church will recognize him as a saint.
1135
Birth of Moses Maimonides, medieval Jewish scholar. Considered the foremost Talmudist of the Middle Ages, his most important writing was "Guide to the Perplexed" (1190), in which he tried to harmonize Rabbinic Judaism with the increasingly popular Aristotelianism of his day.
1492
The Jews were expelled from Spain by Inquisitor-General Tom's Torquemada (Spanish Inquisition).
1533
Thomas Cranmer is consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury with papal approval.
1555
Bishop Ferrar is burned at St. David's at Carmarthen, the chief town of his former diocese, condemned for violating his vow of chastity. After preaching against Roman Church forms he had been imprisoned by Mary and refused to be reconciled with Rome, saying that he had taken an oath both to Henry VIII and Edward VI never to admit the papal supremacy.
1735
The impious Howell Harris changes course, becoming a leading Welsh revivalist.
1771
English founder of Methodism John Wesley wrote in a letter: 'Suffer all, and conquer all.'
1851
Vietnamese Emperor Tú Dúc issues a severe edict against Christianity; it orders drowning for European priests, and says Vietnamese priests must be cut in half, even if they agree to trample the cross underfoot.
1858
Dudley Tyng speaks to a noon rally of five thousand in Philadelphia, taking as his text, "Go now ye that are men and serve the Lord." He declares that he would rather lose his right arm than fail to deliver God's message to his listeners. Deeply moved, one thousand men respond to his solemn words. Two weeks later one of his arms is yanked from its socket in an accident, infection will develop, and it will have to be amputated. These measures will not save him and in a few days more he will die. His last words will be "Stand up for Jesus, father, and tell my brethren of the ministry to stand up for Jesus." This dying exhortation will inspire the hymn "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus."
1863
Ownership of Wilberforce University in Ohio was transferred to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The school had been founded seven years earlier by the Methodist Episcopal Church.
1876
Death, in California, of James L. Breck, a successful Episcopal frontier missionary and educator.
1899
The steamship Stella strikes some rocks in a fog while sailing to Guernsey. Mary Rogers, a cheerful, kind, and hard-working stewardess, supervises the escape of a large number of women and relinquishes her own lifebelt to the last of them, giving up her place in the lifeboat. Raising her hands to heaven she cries, "Lord, have me!" as the ship sinks beneath her.
1917
All imperial lands, as well as lands belonging to monasteries, were confiscated by the Russian provisional government.
1942
Death in Burbank, California, of Anne S. Murphy, author of the hymn "Constantly Abiding."
2004
Burial of Wilson Rajil Sabiya, a Lutheran defender of Christians and of oppressed tribes. Among his chief opponents were Islamists who sought to incorporate Sharia law into the Nigerian constitution and to control the government, medical, and educational facilities.
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