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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, November 20

303
Because his prisons are full, Diocletian offers amnesty to all Christians who will sacrifice to the Roman gods.
870
(traditional date) Martyrdom of Edmund, King of the East Angles. Danish invaders had offered him peace at the cost of renouncing Christ but he refused, fighting to preserve his throne and his faith. Captured, he was tortured and murdered.
1542
At the urging of Bartolomeo de las Casas, Spain passes new laws to protect American Indians.
1583
Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II issues a Tomus on the question of the Gregorian calendar, which the Orthodox Church rejects, sticking with the traditional Julian calendar.
1652
The King of Warri [in Nigeria] writes the pope, pleading that missionaries be sent to his country. In response, the pope will dispatch Capuchin friars who will criss-cross the small country for four years.
1806
Death of Isaac Backus, an influential Massachusetts Baptist leader, soulwinner, and advocate of religious freedom.
1847
Death of Francis Lyte, Scottish clergyman and hymnwriter, who wrote "Jesus I My Cross Have Taken." He also penned the hymn, "Abide with Me, Fast Falls the Eventide." His last words are "Joy! Peace!"
1850
Francis "Fanny" J. Crosby becomes a Christian following a disconcerting dream in which a dying friend makes her promise to meet him in heaven. Attending a Methodist revival service, she seeks assurance at the altar and she is flooded with joy, and leaps up, shouting "Hallelujah." She will go on to write hundreds of beloved hymns such as "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine."
1938
Father Charles Coughlin, a Canadian-born Catholic priest, populist radio broadcaster, and ardent supporter of Franklin Roosevelt, defends Kristallnacht, a Nazi attack on Jewish property, as a necessary retaliation for Jewish atheists in the communist government of Russia which had killed millions of Christians and confiscated Christian property. He would consistently blame Jews and Communists for the Second World War rather than the Nazis who launched it.
1961
The Russian Orthodox Church joined the World Council of Churches.

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