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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, August 15

718
Saracen leader Moslemah raises his siege of Constantinople, after a brilliant defense by Emperor Leo III, who thereby becomes the first Christian ruler to significantly thwart the advance of Islam. Because it is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the Byzantines ascribe their victory to the mother of Christ. After forsaking the siege, many of the Arab ships involved will be destroyed by a storm and others will burn when ashes from the volcano of Santorini fall on them.
1038
Death in Esztergom, Hungary, of St. Stephen, first king of Hungary. Baptized and reared a Christian, he had founded many monasteries and churches and sent Christian missionaries throughout his realm.
1534
Ignatius of Loyola founds "the company of Jesus," describing their organization as similar to that of fur traders but focused on God's will, not beaver skins. In 1540 it will gain the approval of the pope, who will name it the Society of Jesus. More often they will be known as "Jesuits."
1579
Repose (death) of the venerable Gerasimus, a much-traveled ascetic, priest, and abbot of the Orthodox church.
1613
Birth of Jeremy Taylor, Anglican clergyman and devotional writer. Two of his works became classic expressions of Anglican spirituality: "The Rule and Exercise of Holy Living" (1650) and "The Rule and Exercise of Holy Dying" (1651).
1790
Father John Carroll is ordained by Bishop Charles Walmesley in Dorset, England, as the first Roman Catholic bishop of the United States. Eighteen years later he will become the nation's first archbishop.
1901
Death of poet Julie Katharina von Hausmann near W
1917
An All-Russian Church Council convenes in Moscow. It will restore the Patriarchial form of church government abolished by Peter the Great almost two hundred years earlier in 1721.
1964
A truck-load of rebel soldiers takes over the hospital compound at Nobobongo, Congo, which they will occupy for five months. Among the women held by them is medical missionary Dr. Helen Roseveare who will live to tell a tale of severe abuse and terror. (For example, she will be repeatedly raped and a local chief will be found "guilty" by a "people's court" and flayed alive and eaten.)
1988
Pope John Paul II addresses the role and importance of women in an apostolic letter, but reaffirms the male-only priesthood for certain church rituals such as the mass.

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