November 15: Today in Christian History

November 15: Today in Christian History

November 15, 655

King Oswy of Northumbria gives his daughter into the charge of the influential abbess Hild (aka Hilda) of Whitby.

November 15, 1136

Death of Margrave Leopold III, who will later be named patron saint of Austria. During a period of wars and religious factions, he had kept Austria at peace, increasing its prosperity, and had founded several religious houses.

November 15, 1280

German theologian Albertus Magnus, teacher of Thomas Aquinas and defender of his theology (as well as a brilliant writer on Aristotelian thought), dies at age 87. Declared a doctor of the church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII proclaimed him the patron of natural scientists in 1941

November 15, 1397

Thomas Parentuchelli, who would later take the name Nicholas V and is considered the best of the Renaissance popes, is born. As pope he led a blameless personal life, loved the new studies in arts and sciences, restored many ruined churches, and founded the Vatican Library.

November 15, 1621

In his bull Aeterni Patris Gregory XV prescribes that in the future only three modes of papal election are to be allowed: scrutiny, compromise, and quasi-inspiration. A later bull “Decet Romanum Pontificem” contains a ceremonial which regulates these three modes of election in every detail.

November 15, 1630

Death of Johann Kepler, the Lutheran astronomer who had discovered the laws of planetary motion. His arguments for the unity of religion and science were often printed as if by Galileo.

November 15, 1670

Death of Jan Amos Comenius, influential author, educator, and leader of the persecuted and exiled Moravians.

November 15, 1794

Death near Princeton of John Witherspoon, the Scottish born pastor-educator, who had become president of Nassau Hall (Princeton University). Because of his influence in the American Revolution, it was said of him “the American colonies have run off with a Presbyterian pastor.” He was the only clergyman to sign the American Declaration of Independence.

November 15, 1794 

Death of Orthodox leader Paissy Velichkovsky, notable for having translated large numbers of Greek spiritual texts into Slavonic. He revived monasticism in Moldavia.

November 15, 1836

Death of the Russian Orthodox monk Herman, one of ten original monks sent to open a mission at Kodiak, Alaska. He had become the mission’s steward, and had been notable for his gentle disposition and his attempts to protect the native population.

November 15, 1848

An assassin stabs Pope Pius IX’s premier, Count Pellegrino Rossi, in the neck, killing him. Rossi was detested because of how slowly he introduced democratic reforms into the papal states.

November 15, 1869

Elisabeth of Wied, whose pen name is “Carmen-Sylva,” marries Karl I. In 1881 she will become the first Queen of Romania when that nation becomes a monarchy. She will be involved in many charitable endeavors, write hymns and novels, and collect Romanian folklore.

November 15, 1878

Death of Jane Montgomery Campbell, who translated a number of hymns from German into English, including “Silent Night,” “We Plow the Fields,” and others.

November 15, 1885

Mwanga, ruler of Buganda (now part of Uganda), beheads recent Anglican convert and royal family member Joseph Mukasa. Mukasa opposed the massacring of Anglican missionary bishop James Hannington and his colleagues in October. The bloodbath continued through January 1887 as the ruler killed Mukasa's Christian pages and other Anglican and Catholic leaders. Collectively, the martyrs of Uganda were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.

November 15, 1893

Missionary to India and prolific writer Charlotte Tucker made the last entry in her diary (she died on December 2). Her nom de plume or pseudonym was A.L.O.E. (A lady of England).

November 15, 1917

Death of Oswald Chambers, while serving as chaplain to British troops in Egypt during World War I. His widow, Gertrude (Biddy), will compile the bestselling devotional My Utmost for His Highest from his lessons and sermons.

November 15, 1957

Patriarch Ignatius Yacoub III officially establishes the Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the U.S. and Canada. Archbishop Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel is appointed primate of the new archdiocese, and will take up residence in Hackensack, New Jersey.

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