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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, May 25

Death at Salerno, Italy, of Pope Gregory VII "Hildebrand," one of the most powerful medieval popes, who had excommunicated the German emperor, Henry IV.
(probable date) Synod of Sens opens. At the insistence of Bernard of Clairvaux, this council pronounces selections from theologian Peter Abelard's writings erroneous and heretical.
Death in Lyon, France, of Cardinal Georges D'Amboise, minister of Louis XII, an able strategist and administrator, who had reduced taxes. He had also been a reformer of monasteries and the French judiciary and was known for his charity. In 1503 he was in position to seize the papacy by military force, but dismissed his troops and abided by the decision of the cardinals which went against him.
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V pronounced Martin Luther an outlaw and heretic for refusing to recant his teachings while at the Diet of Worms (held the previous month).
Stephen T. Badin, 25, was ordained in Baltimore, MD ÀÀ the first Catholic priest to be ordained in the newly independent United States of America. Badin afterward served as a frontier missionary, and played a key role in establishing Catholicism in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee during the early nineteenth century.
Death in Lincolnshire of William Paley. He had developed an influential apologetic based on natural history. He will become closely associated with the argument from design, using the analogy of a clockmaker and watch.
Frederick Barker arrives in Australia where he will become the second Anglican bishop of Sydney.
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland (org. 1743) united with the Free Church of Scotland (org. 1843) to form the new Free Church of Scotland. (In 1929 the Free Church merged with the Mother Church, afterward retaining the name Church of Scotland.)
The Supreme Court decides the case United States v. Macintosh, finding against theologian Douglas Clyde Macintosh, who had sought to become a naturalized citizen of the United States with the caveat that he would fight only in a just war. Some years later the Supreme Court will reverse itself. Meanwhile, Macintosh teaches at Yale. His theology stresses religious experience guided by faith in God and practice of Christian virtues rather than creeds or doctrinal purity.
Thirty-six-year-old Zhang Xiuju is dragged from bed and beaten all night because of her Christian faith. Her dead body, with rope marks and signs of torture is returned two days later with the claim she died trying to jump from a moving police car.

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© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"