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Today in Christian History
Pope Sixtus IV launched the Spanish Inquisition, placing it under joint direction of the Church and state. Tomas de Torquemada, 63, was appointed Grand Inquisitor in charge of removing Jews and Muslims from Spain.
Pope Clement VII orders humane treatment of the Jews.
Birth of German scholar Johann Gerhard, most influential of the 17th century Lutheran theologians. His writings attained a European circulation second only to the Bible and Thomas a Kempis' "Imitation of Christ."
Death of Sir Philip Sidney from a wound recieved while fighting beside Dutch reformers. He had loaned his armor to a soldier without any. Tradition has it that, aflame with thirst from bleeding, he nonetheless gave his last water to a dying soldier on the battlefield.
French scientist Blaise Pascal wrote in a letter: 'Jesus Christ suffered and died to sanctify death and suffering; he has been all that was great, and all that was abject, in order to sanctify in himself all things except sin, and to be the model of every condition.'
John Fletcher is inducted into the Vicarage of Madeley. A Methodist of deep faith and purpose, he is designated to be Wesley's successor, but precedes him in death.
Birth of John Bowring, English statesman, linguist, merchant, theologian and author of the hymn, "In the Cross of Christ I Glory."
Martyrdom of Alexander Ivanovich Shchukin, Archbishop of Semipalatinsk, shot by the Soviets for preaching against destroyers of churches.
Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Death of Yokana Mukasa Balikudembe, Anglican bishop of Mityana in Uganda. At the time of his ordination, Mityana Diocese had only eight poor parishes but by his retirement had thirty rich parishes largely through his zealous efforts. In addition to organizing parishes, he had written Christian works in the Lugnanda language of his people and had won respect by urging all denominations of Christians to treat one another with respect.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"