1208 Pope Innocent III (who served 1198-1216) placed Britain under an interdict after England’s King John opposed the Pope’s choice for Archbishop of Canterbury. Innocent canceled all religious services until John surrendered. Soon after his surrender, the king signed the Magna Carta, in which the first article affirms “That the Church of England shall be free.”
1267 King Louis IX of France (1215–1270) called his knights to Paris in preparation for the Eighth Crusade (his second) directed against Tunis in North Africa.
1603 Queen Elizabeth I of England died (b. 7 September 1533). The daughter of Henry VIII, Elizabeth took the final steps to make the Anglican Church the state church of England.
1603 King James VI of Scotland acceded to the English throne and was known thereafter as James I of England (1566–1625). His descent from Henry VIII (through his great-grandmother Mary Tudor and his mother Mary Queen of Scots) made him the nearest heir to the English throne when Queen Elizabeth I died. (The two kingdoms of England and Scotland were not united until 1707.) At the 1604 Hampton Court Conference James I authorized the translation project that became the 1611 King James (authorized) Version of the Bible.
1654 Samuel Scheidt, German Lutheran organist and composer, died (b. 3 November 1587).
1812 Johann Jakob Griesbach (b. 4 January 1745), German New Testament scholar, died.
1820 Fanny J. Crosby, popular American hymn writer, was born in Putnam County, New York (d. 12 February 1915).
1821 Jeannette Threlfall, hymnist, was born in Blackburn, Lancashire (d. 30 November 1880).
1844 Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen, Danish sculptor, died (b. 19 November 1770). His monument at the tomb of Pope Pius VII in St. Peter’s Basilica is the only one in the basilica by a Protestant.
1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet and hymnist, died (b. 27 February 1807).
1890 Harold Henry Rowley, English Old Testament scholar, was born at Leicester (d. 4 October 1969). After serving as a pastor for five years, he taught at Christian University in Shantung, China (1924-1929), the University of Cardiff (1930-1934), the University of Bangor (1935-1945) and Manchester University (1945-1959). He authored and edited many valuable contributions to biblical linguistics. Among his most highly acclaimed writings are the The Aramaic of the Old Testament (1929) and The Growth of the Old Testament (1950).
1918 Roy A. Suelflow was born in Germantown, Wisconsin (d. 2 February 1981).
1921 James Cardinal Gibbons (b. 23 July 1834), Archbishop of Baltimore and first chancellor of the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., died.
1940 Samuel McCrea Cavert of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America officiated at a Protestant Easter service in New York City. This was the first religious program broadcast on television. It was televised over NBC affiliate station W2XBS in New York City.
1980 Óscar Arnulfo Romero, archbishop of El Salvador, was assassinated (b. 15 August 1917).