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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, August 21

1245
Alexander of Hales, 59, died. An English scholastic theologian, Alexander is regarded as the founder of the Franciscan school of theology.
1553
Authorities in Geneva write to Vienna asking for information on Servetus. The authorities in Vienna will reply with a demand for his extradition. The Genevan city council will then offer Servetus the choice of returning to Vienna or staying in Geneva to face blasphemy charges. Servetus chooses to remain in Geneva, and is burned to death there.
1649
Death of English metaphysical poet Richard Crashaw in self-imposed exile in Rome. Poison is suspected because he has gotten entangled in political intrigues. He is just thirty-seven.
1732
At three in the morning, Count von Zinzendorf lays his hands on the heads of Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann, commending them to God as the first Moravian missionaries.
1799
Birth of Alexander R. Reinagle, English church organist. He penned many sacred compositions, including ST. PETER, which afterward became the melody to the hymn, "In Christ There is No East or West."
1815
Joseph Mohr is ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He will write the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night."
1831
Nat Turner, Baptist preacher and former slave, leads a violent insurrection in Virginia.
1843
African-American clergyman Henry Highland Garnet calls on African Americans to rebel against slavery as a moral duty, pointing out that slaveowners forbid them to read the Bible, to rear their children in godliness, and oblige their women to behave as whores. He says that "neither God, nor angels, or just men" can require such servitude.
1866
Birth of Civilla Durfee Martin in Jordan, Nova Scotia, Canada. She will be a school teacher before marrying Walter Martin with whom she will produce a number of Gospel songs, including these popular numbers: "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power," "God Will Take Care of You," and "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
1874
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), a popular Congregational clergyman from Connecticut, is accused of adultery by Theodore Tilton, who sues him for ,000. Beecher will be exonerated by a jury - and by his congregation.

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