May 20: Today in Christian History

May 20: Today in Christian History

May 20, 1277

Scholarly Pope John XXI is crushed to death at Viterbo, Italy, when his study ceiling collapses on him.

May 20, 1506

Death of Christopher Columbus at Valladolid, Spain. The explorer had opened the Americas to colonization and considered it his mission to bring Christianity to the New World.

May 20, 1521

A cannonball strikes Spanish soldier IƱez "Ignatio" Loyola, breaking his right leg. While recovering, he reads the lives of saints and determines to imitate them. He will write a famous guide to  Christian meditation, the Spiritual Exercises, and found the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

May 20, 1527

Austrian authorities torture and kill the Anabaptist leader Michael Sattler as an archheretic.

May 20, 1535

Pope Paul III makes a cardinal of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. Fisher has long opposed King Henry VIII and even invited Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to invade England. Henry declares that he will send Fisher’s head to Rome to get his cardinal’s hat—and soon will have him beheaded.

May 20, 1560

The scholar John Feckenham is taken to the Tower of London in England for refusing to take the oath of supremacy. He will spend twenty-four years there.

May 20, 1690

Death of John Eliot, missionary to the American Indians, in the parsonage at Roxbury. He had translated the entire Bible into the Algonquin Indian language and published the first Bible printed in America.

May 20, 1732

Death at Ettrick, Scotland, of Thomas Boston, an influential Scottish minister and author of The Crook in the Lot.

May 20, 1930

Orthodox church worker Michael Alexeyevich Golikov, already in prison camp under a sentence of three years, is sentenced to ten years for trying to communicate to the West the terrible conditions of the camps. He will die, still imprisoned, in 1938.

May 20, 1930

Three days after sentencing him to death, Soviets shoot Mark Arsenyevich Dannik, warden of the Orthodox church in Ustyanka, Loktevsky Region. He is executed for anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary propaganda and agitation—that is, for speaking against the wickedness of the Soviet regime.

May 20, 1937

Jesse Overholtzer founds Child Evangelism Fellowship in Chicago.

May 20, 1943

Smith College awards Wu Yi-fang, first Chinese woman to head a Chinese college (Ginling Women’s College), an honorary Doctor of Law degree.

May 20, 1945

The Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship is officially born. Later it will change its name to Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF). Betty Greene, an American wartime pilot, had written an article in which she suggested using planes to help missionaries. Jim Truxton, a Navy pilot, saw it, contacted Betty and suggested organizing to implement her idea.


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