December 29: Today in Christian History

December 29: Today in Christian History

December 29, 1170

Archbishop Thomas à Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by knights of King Henry II.

December 29, 1563

Death of Sebastian Castellio at Basle, Switzerland. He will be remembered for his book Concerning Heretics, calling for religious tolerance. 

December 29, 1824

Death of Basiliscus, a founder of monasticism in Siberia.

December 29, 1876

Death of hymnwriter P.P. Bliss in a fiery train wreck, when a bridge near Ashtabula, Ohio, fails and his train plunges into a ravine. He had written many notable hymns, including “Hallelujah, What a Savior!” and “Almost Persuaded.” It will be remarked that the night before his death he sang, “I’m going home Tomorrow.”

December 29, 1899

Sidney Brooks becomes the first victim of the Boxer Rebellion. Assaulted near Tai’an, China, he is beaten and pricked with knives, led about with a rope through his nose, forced to stand in his underwear in freezing conditions, and finally beheaded after he manages to flee to a nearby ravine. The following year, tens of thousands of Chinese Christians and foreign missionaries will perish in massacres by the Boxers.

December 29, 1903

Death in Vineland, New Jersey, of Thomas B. Welch. A fervent Methodist, he had entered the ministry at nineteen but left because of problems with his voice. He had then become a physician and a dentist who sold alloys on the side until that became his main business. A temperance man, he had promised a recovering alcoholic that he would find a way to make a non-alcoholic communion drink. He did so but didn’t succeed in marketing the product. His son Charles will be more successful with Welch’s grape juice.

December 29, 1911

Death of Chicago’s Pentecostal leader William Hamner Piper of a blood infection.

December 29, 1932

Conversion of Allen Yuan, who will become a Chinese evangelist.

December 29, 2000

Argentina declares the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (said to be the oldest Protestant church building in South America) a National Historic and Artistic Monument. The declaration also establishes a Russian Orthodox church and a Jewish synagogue as historic and artistic monuments.

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