May 21: Today in Christian History

May 21: Today in Christian History

May 21, 1382

A great earthquake in England destroys some churches in Kent and damages Canterbury Cathedral.

May 21, 1535

Henry Phillips betrays William Tyndale to Roman Catholic authorities in Antwerp. Phillips, an agent of Henry VIII, already has a long track record of villainy. Tyndale will be strangled and burned.

May 21, 1536

William Farel preaches so effectively in Geneva that its people swear an oath with lifted hands “to live in the holy evangelical law and the word of God as it has been announced to us desiring to abandon all masses, images, idols and all which may pertain thereto to live in union and obedience to justice.” They also vow to set up a school for poor children and to educate their children.

May 21, 1872

Death on the Isle of Mull of hymnwriter Mary Macdougal Macdonald. The daughter of a Baptist cleric, she wrote in Gaelic. Her best known hymn is “Child in the Manger.”

May 21, 1874

Ira Sankey first sings “The Ninety and Nine” (the “Lost Sheep” song). His audience is deeply moved.

May 21, 1884

Fourteen-year old Matrona Petrovna Frolova enters the Krasnoslobodsky Trinity women's monastery in Penza province. Four years later she will become a nun at Kazan. In 1907 she will receive a Red Cross medal for her work during the Russo-Japanese war. She becomes abbess of a Kazan monastery, where she will make every possible defense against its dismantling by the Soviets. She will be arrested many times in succeeding years, deprived of her right to vote, and shot in her old age.

May 21, 1891

George Louis Williams is ordained as a Congregational minister at Oberlin College, Ohio. He will become a missionary to China where he and his wife will work among opium addicts. Williams will be murdered in the Boxer Rebellion but his wife will heroically continue the mission work.

May 21, 1921

Baptism of Jeremiah Mahalu Kisula. He will become the first bishop in Tanzania for the Africa Inland Mission, recognized as a prayer-warrior, church planter, and author.

May 21, 1972

Laszlo Toth, wielding a hammer, and shouting “I am Jesus Christ—risen from the dead,” attacks Michaelangelo’s sculpture the Pieta, chipping the nose and left eye of the Madonna, and breaking off her left arm.


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