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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, August 16

1532
Death of John the Constant (Elector of Saxony). He had been a leader of the princes who protested the measures taken by the Catholic-dominated Diet of Speyer in 1529 (thus becoming one of the first to be named a "Protestant"). He signed the Augsburg Confesssion and helped organize the Schmalkaldic League which protected the Protestant Reformation.
1642
John Campanius sails from Stockholm with his family to minister in Delaware. There he will learn the Lenni Lenape tongue and translate religious works into it, keep weather records, and consecrate the first Lutheran church built in the new world.
1795
Ordination of Absalom Jones, formerly a slave, as a deacon in the Episcopal Church. He will become America's first African-American Episcopal priest.
1815
Birth of St. John Bosco, Italian educator. Poverty among the children in the city of Turin led him in 1859 to establish the Society of St. Francis of Sales (the Salesians). Bosco was canonized by Pius XI in 1934.
1851
Repose (death) of Matrona Naumovna Popova who had founded the first hospice in the town of Zadonsk, a disciple of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk.
1852
Birth of Adolf von Schlatter, Swiss Protestant New Testament scholar. His 1921 History of Christ maintained that the success of any systematic theology had to be based on a foundation of solid biblical exegesis.
1875
Evangelist, pastor, and educator Charles G. Finney dies at Oberlin.
1936
Death of hymnwriter Constance Headlam Coote at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, remembered for the hymn "In the Quiet Consecration."
1967
Death in New York City of John Courtney Murray, a Jesuit theologian and educator. He is best-known for his defence of the United States' Constitution and his arguments against any effort by the Roman Catholic Church to bring about change within nations by means other than moral persuasion.
1972
African-American Methodist clergyman from Dominica, West Indies, Philip A. Potter, 51, was named general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Serving until 1984, Potter gave strong spiritual guidance to the work of the WCC.

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