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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, August 21

1245
Alexander of Hales, 59, died. An English scholastic theologian, Alexander is regarded as the founder of the Franciscan school of theology.
1552
Trial ends for Juan Gil, aka Doctor Egidio, founder of a little Protestant community at Seville. He had preached to the nuns of Santa Clara on the uselessness of external works, rejected prayer to saints, and disparaged image-veneration as idolatry. He is obliged publicly to abjure some propositions, is sentenced to a year of confinement, forbidden to leave Spain, told that for a year after release he may not celebrate mass, and suspended from preaching, confessing, and participating in disputations for ten years.
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.
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.
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.
1920
Orthodox priest Sergius Frolovich Dmitrievsky, serving in a Cossack parish in Omsk, is arrested by Communists. In October he will be convicted of "counter-revolutionary activity," sentenced to death, and shot.
1930
Pioneer linguistic educator Frank C. Laubach wrote in a letter: 'If this entire universe has a desperate need of love to incarnate itself, then "important duties" which keep us from helping little people are not duties but sins.'

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