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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, May 31

1567
Guido de Brès, author of the Belgic Confession, is hanged for his faith in Valenciennes.
1578
Italian archaeologist Antonio Bosio became the first man in modern times to rediscover the Christian catacombs in Rome. Researchers (e.g., Giovanni B. de Rossi) who followed him dubbed Bosio "the Columbus of the Catacombs."
1638
Colonial clergyman Thomas Hooker, 51, first arrived at the site of New Haven, CT, having migrated there with his church members who repudiated the autocratic rule of Puritanism in Boston. Hooker (the founder of Connecticut) believed Boston had become corrupt, and that church authority should rest in the people's consent.
1680
Death in Bremen of Joachim Neander, German hymnwriter and Pietist.
1752
Death in London of Sidney Griffifth from tuberculosis. She had been a strong supporter of the Calvinist Methodists, going so far as to leave her husband so that she could live with Methodists at Trevecca.
1769
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'He fulfills His promise in making our strength equal to our day; and every new trial gives us new proof how happy it is to be enabled to put our trust in Him.'
1803
Presbyterians appoint Rev. Gideon Blackburn as their first missionary to the American Indians. A flambouyant preacher, he had once held a crowd of fifteen hundred listeners spellbound for two hours in a rainstorm while he preached. As a missionary and pastor, he will found churches and schools from Illinois to Alabama over a period of forty years, working along the western frontier of the United States. However, his reputation will suffer when it is learned he smuggled whiskey and speculated in land.
1821
The first Catholic cathedral in the U.S., the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary was dedicated in Baltimore.
1843
Methodist elder Orange Scott presides over a convention assembled at Utica, New York, to establish a new church, known as the Wesleyan Methodist Connection, because the Methodist Episcopal Church was willing to compromise on such issues as slaveholding but these Methodists were not.
1847
Thomas Chalmers, a highly-regarded leader in the Scottish Free Church, is found dead in bed this morning in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1942
German warplanes bombed Canterbury, England, causing severe damage to the Canterbury Cathedral (seat of Anglicanism), in retaliation for Britain's assault on Cologne, Germany.
2007
Dedication in North Carolina of the Billy Graham Library is attended by two former presidents of the United States: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Bush delivers the keynote address.
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