Christian History Institute

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Christian History

It Happened Today: Alexander of Hales’s Fateful Turn (1245)

The Bible ws no longer his basic text.

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Devotional (2016 church year): Why do gifts vary so greatly?

“Important duties” which keep us from helping little people are not duties...

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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.

Authority for the date:

Moss, Vladimir. Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Urals, Siberia and Central Asia.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), a popular Congregational clergyman from Connecticut, is accused of adultery by Theodore Tilton, who sues him for $100,000. Beecher will be exonerated by a jury—and by his congregation.

Authority for the date:

Dorrien, Gary J. The Making of American Liberal Theology.


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.”

Authority for the date:



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.

Authority for the date:


Nat Turner, Baptist preacher and former slave, leads a violent insurrection in Virginia.

Authority for the date:

Standard encyclopedias.


Joseph Mohr is ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He will write the beloved Christmas carol “Silent Night.”

Authority for the date:

New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.


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.

Authority for the date:

Robert Liardon. God's Generals: The Missionaries.


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.

Authority for the date:

Standard encyclopedias.


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.

Authority for the date:

J. Steven Wilkins. “Calvin vs. Servetus.”


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. 

Authority for the date:

Henry Charles Lea. A History of the Inquisition of Spain.