January 17: Today in Christian History


January 17: Today in Christian History

January 17, 1377

Pope Gregory XI enters Rome from Avignon, hoping to put down an Italian revolt against him. He will send  Robert of Geneva (later antipope Clement VII) with a company of ferocious Breton adventurers to crush the rebellion with atrocities, but it will continue. In about a year, Gregory will die, leaving the situation worse than it was.

January 17, 1525

Zurich City Council holds a public debate on infant baptism, which reformer Ulrich Zwingli has mandated as a covenantal act, but which Anabaptists such as Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz oppose, saying that baptism symbolizes a believer’s commitment to Christ and therefore must be entered into by adults with understanding.

January 17, 1562

Edict of St. Germain is issued, allowing Huguenots to preach in France.

January 17, 1677

Trial of Ludovick Muggleton, a fanatic religious leader who had gathered many followers and annoyed London authorities by claiming to be one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 and publicly cursing opponents. He will be sentenced to stand in the pillory for three days in three sections of London, to pay a £500 fine (or go to jail), and to have his books publicly burned. The sect of Muggletonians had arisen under his teaching.

January 17, 1705

Death in Essex, England, of John Ray, a naturalist and theologian. He systematized botanical classification and developed a theology that sought to understand God’s wisdom and power by studying created things. His system for classifying plants seems to have been the first to divide flowering plants into monocots and dicots.

January 17, 1932

Death in London, England, of Charles Gore, founder of the Community of the Resurrection, an Anglican monastery. He had been an author, a bishop, and an advocate for social justice.

January 17, 1945

Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish Lutheran diplomat, is last seen alive by his friends after Soviets take him into custody. His resourcefulness had saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during Nazi occupation. He will be remembered with other Righteous Gentiles in the Episcopal Church calendar on July 16.

January 17, 1967

Death in Madagascar of Clara Clerget, French-born nun (Sister Anne-Marie of the Visitation), who had spent over fifty years as a missionary in Madagascar, most of it working with leprosy patients. Her radiant personality had attracted much attention and so she will be treated with high honors at her funeral.

January 17, 1977

The Supreme Court of India (Hindu) rules that the successful work of a Christian evangelist is a threat to the “freedom of conscience” guaranteed to all citizens of India.


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