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Today in Christian History
St. Stephen I began his reign as the Catholic Church's 23rd pope. According to the "Liber Pontificalis," it was Stephen who instituted the rule that clerics should wear special clothes at their ministrations.
Burial of St. Epiphanius of Salamis in a new church he had built. An Orthodox bishop, he had opposed the use of icons that was creeping into the church, famously tearing down a curtain that depicted one. In his writings he had rejected Arianism and cataloged eighty other heresies. He also wrote directives for the translation of the Bible. The Seventh Ecumenical Council (787) while authorizing the use of icons, will name him a father and teacher of the Church.
Death of Pope Sylvester II. Because of his interest in science, he had been accused of being in league with Satan. He had tutored the young Otto III, who upon ascending to power elevated Sylvester to the papacy - the first Frenchman to become pope. Sylvester's main political achievement had been to form an alliance that drove the Saracens out of Italy.
Fifty-four Knights Templars were burned at the stake as heretics in France. Established during the Crusades to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, this military order came into increasing conflict with Rome until Clement V officially dissolved it in 1312 at the Council of Vienna.
William Carey publishes An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians, to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.... The pamphlet forces many Protestants to rethink missions and becomes their manifesto.
Death in New Haven, Connecticut, of Ezra Stiles, a Congregationalist pastor, theologian, and the seventh president of Yale. He had been an advocate of Hebrew studies.
Death in Windsor, New South Wales [Victoria], of Samuel Marsden, missionary to New Zealand known as "Greatheart of the Maori."
In Holland, the four-day convention at Utrecht ended, at which the Provisional Constitution for the World Council of Churches was adopted.
Pope John Paul II is approached at Fatima by a bayonet-wielding priest.
Christians of the Nazarene Church of Maputo, Mozambique take literally 2 Chronicles 6:28-30 and humble themselves and pray for their nation, plagued by war and famine. Led by Salom
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"