May 19: Today in Christian History

May 19: Today in Christian History

May 19, 363

During the night and early morning, earthquakes accompanied by ball lightning disrupt an attempt to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that was to begin the next day. These forces destroy much of the material gathered for the work. The rebuilding had the backing of the pagan emperor Julian as one of his lines of opposition to Christianity; and the event will be recounted in numerous contemporary and near-contemporary sources—Pagan, Jewish, and Christian.

May 19, 988

Death of Archbishop Dunstan of Canterbury who had attempted to integrate the Danes fully into the English church and nation.

May 19, 1125

Death of Vladimir Monomachus. As the Christian ruler of Kiev, he strove to unite Russians and end in-fighting among Russian families. His writings show him to have been pious and to have recognized that faith is only demonstrated by works. “Oh, my children! Give praise to God and love also mankind. Neither fasting, nor solitude, nor monastic life shall save you, but good deeds.” He invoked Christ constantly in prayer. 

May 19, 1296

Death of ex-pope Celestine V while in confinement. Following Celestine’s resignation, his successor Pope Boniface VIII kept him incarcerated in the castle of Fumone near Anagni to prevent schemers using him to undermine the papacy.

May 19, 1382

(or the 21st) An earthquake shakes London about 2 pm as a synod, led by Archbishop William Courtnay, meets to condemn John Wycliffe for his efforts to reform the church.

May 19, 1536

Henry VIII has his wife Anne Boleyn beheaded on allegations of adultery and witchcraft. The presence of an extra finger on one hand and an extra nipple were used against her in the trial. Anne had been sympathetic to the Reformation. Her real crime was to miscarry two sons, leaving King Henry VIII without a male heir, but she was mother of Queen Elizabeth I.

May 19, 1662

The Cavalier Parliament passes “An Act for the Uniformity of Public Prayers  and Administration of Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies; and for establishing the Form of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in the Church of England.” The act requires reordination of many pastors, gives unconditional consent to the Book of Common Prayer, advocates the taking of the oath of canonical obedience, and renounces the Solemn League and Covenant. Great persecution will follow and about two thousand Puritan ministers will be ejected from their positions.

May 19, 1694

Death of John Mason, rector of Water Stratford, Buckinghamshire, and one of the earliest Anglican writers of hymn lyrics. A learned man, he came to believe he was the Elijah appointed to proclaim Christ's second coming. He gathered a large following who with himself expected Christ to come to Water Stratford. He also predicted he would rise on the third day after his death.

May 19, 1780

Some New Englanders believe Judgment Day has arrived when the sky becomes dusky at noon.

May 19, 1833

Newly arrived Presbyterian minister Jeremiah Porter delivers his first sermon in Chicago, then a community of about three hundred people. He takes as his text John 15:8, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” The following month Presbyterians found the First Presbyterian Church of Chicago, consisting of twenty-six members. The following year, they will establish the Ottawa Presbytery for Northern Illinois.

May 19, 1861

Ashbel Green Simonton, a Presbyterian missionary to Brazil, holds his first service in Rio de Janeiro.

May 19, 1939

Death of Howard B. Grose, Baptist leader and author of the hymn, “Give of Your Best to the Master.”

May 19, 1979

Businessman Carlos Annacondia gives his life to Christ in San Justo, Argentina, at an evangelistic meeting led by Manuel A. Ruiz of Panama. He will become an evangelist who preaches on five continents, and eventually will head the Message of Salvation Christian Mission Team, connected with the Assemblies of God.

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