December 7: Today in Christian History

December 7: Today in Christian History

December 7, 396

An imperial edict declares that any privileges granted in ancient law to pagan priests and leaders in the Roman Empire are abolished.

December 7, 416

Co-emperors Honorius and Theodosius II declare that pagans may not become administrators or judges within the Roman Empire.

December 7, 521

Birth of Columba, who becomes an Irish monk, educator, bishop, and missionary. He will undertake evangelization in Scotland and Northern England, founding a monastery on the isle of Iona.

December 7, 1254

Death of Pope Innocent IV. His reign had been marred by perpetual strife with German emperors, a bull allowing the Inquisition to use torture and anonymous denunciations, and pressure on French king Louis IX to undertake disastrous crusades.

December 7, 1542

Emperor Charles V places a reward of one hundred gold guilders on the head of the peacable Anabaptist leader Menno Simon.

December 7, 1562

Death of Roman Catholic composer Adrian Willaert, a founder of the Venetian school. He had composed masses, hymns, psalms, and motets of the highest caliber, developing an antiphonal style (that is, a style in which alternating groups respond to each other).

December 7, 1821

Death of Pomare II, the Christian king of Tahiti.

December 7, 1875

Five Franciscan nuns, exiled by the policies of Bismarck, drown in the wreck of the ship Deutschland off the coast of England during a storm. Gerard Manley Hopkins will write a celebrated poem about the event.

December 7, 1892

African clergy and laypeople write a letter protesting attempts to declare Samuel Adjai Crowther’s service as the first African bishop in Nigeria unsuccessful. They point to thousands of conversions and the establishment of many schools and churches under Crowther. British missionaries had painted the deceased Crowther as unsuccessful so as to convince the Anglican church to maintain white leaders in Nigeria.

December 7, 1965

A joint Catholic-Orthodox declaration from Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I lifts the mutual excommunications that Catholics and Orthodox had placed on each other in 1054 at the start of the great East-West Schism.

December 7, 1990

Pakistani authorities arrest Tahir Iqbal, a Christian paraplegic, declaring he had insulted Mohammed by underlining passages and making margin notes in a copy of a Koran. He died in prison, having declared, “I will kiss my rope, but I will never deny my faith.”

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