October 31: Today in Christian History

 October 31: Today in Christian History

October 31, 415

Co-emperors Honorius and Theodosius II issue penalties against Montanists and against any land-owner who permits them to assemble on his property. Montanist meeting places are to be turned over to orthodox churches. 

October 31, 1503

Election of Julian Rovere to be pope. He takes the name Julius II.

October 31, 1517

Martin Luther nails a challenge to a debate on the Wittenberg church door. It consists of ninety-five statements, or theses, against the practice of indulgences—theses which he is willing to defend. The theses will be widely distributed and precipitate the Reformation. 

October 31, 1731

Catholic archbishop Leopold von Firmian of Salzburg, Austria, issues an edict expelling all Lutherans from his territory. About twenty thousand people have to leave. Many have nowhere to go and freeze to death in the coming winter.

October 31, 1754

Provost Acrelius writes to the Consistory of Upsala, requesting the suspension of Rev. John Lidenius from the Swedish ministerial office because he preaches in English.

October 31, 1772

Thomas and Samuel Green of New Haven publish “A Sermon” by Indian preacher Samson Occum which he had given the month before at the hanging of an Indian man for murder. The sermon becomes wildly successful, going through ten editions in eight years.

October 31, 1816

Robert Moffat sails for South Africa where he will establish a mission work. Mission leaders had been reluctant to send him, believing he was unqualified. He will become a world-famed mission leader.

October 31, 1825 

George Muller, who founded orphanages in Great Britain that would house more than 10,000 orphans, converted to Christianity at a Moravian mission. Muller's living-by-faith approach to finances became a key inspiration for Hudson Taylor (China Inland Mission) and other "faith" mission leaders.

October 31, 1832

George Washington Doane is consecrated Episcopal bishop of a diocese in New Jersey. He will be remembered by Christians for his hymns, especially “Softly Now the Light of Day.”

October 31, 1871

Vasilii Ivanov is baptized in Tbilisi, Georgia, in the Kura River, an event considered the starting point of the Baptist movement in Azerbaijan, because he will spread the Baptist faith throughout Baku province.

October 31, 1877

Samuel Schereschewsky is consecrated Anglican Bishop of Shanghai. Developing Parkinson’s disease, he will resign his position, and spend the rest of his life completing a translation of the Bible into Wenli (a Chinese dialect), typing hundreds of pages with the one finger that he could still move.

October 31, 1879

Death of Jacob Abbott, American Congregationalist author. He wrote many groundbreaking works of children’s fiction, including the instructional Rollo series and the warm Franconia novels.

October 31, 1920

Baptism of Spetume Florence Njangali in Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Hoima, Uganda. She will become a leader in the effort to obtain theological education for women and their ordination as deaconesses in the Anglican church of Uganda.

October 31, 1992

Pope John Paul II formally admits the Roman Catholic Church's error in condemning Galileo Galilei in 1633 for believing the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe

October 31, 1997

Bishop Shenouda is chosen by lot to be the 117th Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. 

October 31, 1999

Catholics and Lutherans issue a joint statement on justification in Augsburg, Germany, declaring that “a consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification exists between Lutherans and Catholics.”

October 31, 2010

Al Qaida terrorists besiege Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Baghdad, massacring most of the 120 worshipers inside, including a three year old boy who pleads with them to stop killing.


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