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Today in Christian History
Pope Boniface IV dedicates the Pantheon as a Catholic church and introduces the Festival of All Saints. The bones of martyrs from various Roman cemeteries are brought in a solemn procession of twenty-eight carriages to the new church.
Sentence is pronounced against the Talmud in Paris. Following this decision, fourteen cartloads of books will be burned, followed by another six. The Inquisition had taken note of blasphemies of Christ in Jewish writings, prompting the pope in 1239 to order the rulers of several European nations to seize Jewish books.
Execution in the Hague of John Barneveld, Dutch statesman, at seventy one years of age. He had advocated free states and taken the Arminian side against the Calvinists.
A statute was enacted in Rhode Island, offering freemanship with no specifically Christian requirements, thus effectively enfranchising Jews.
Cotton Mather, who will be an influential pastor in New England, is ordained in Boston's North Church.
Death in Rome of Cardinal Joseph Fesch, uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte, influential figure in French religious politics and a collector of masterworks of art.
In Tallahassee, Florida, the State legislature passed a bill requiring daily Bible readings in all public schools.
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands arrives in England, fleeing the German invasion of the Netherlands. A Christian, she will rally her people through weekly radio broadcasts. Three years after the war, she will abdicate in favor of her daughter, taking the name Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.
A Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca, who belongs to the extremist group the "Gray Wolves," shoots Pope John Paul II as he waves to a crowd in St. Peter's Square. Bullets rip the pope's abdomen, right arm, and left hand.
Death in Hamden, Connecticut, of Jaroslav Pelikan, a Christian scholar and church historian who had written nearly forty books and over a dozen reference works on numerous aspects of Christian history. Late in life he had joined the Eastern Orthodox Church.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"