988 Rus’ Grand Prince Vladimir (ca. 958–1015) ordered his people to be baptized into the Orthodox Christian faith. He personally oversaw the baptism of the majority of the population of Kiev, the capital of his realm.
1191 England’s Richard I (the Lionhearted, 1157–1199) set sail for Muslim-controlled Acre in the Third Crusade. After helping Philip II of France to capture the city, Richard took Jaffa and negotiated Christian access to Jerusalem, then in the hands of Muslims.
1305 Bernard de Goth (1264–1314), born in Villandraut, France, was named Pope Clement V on this date. He moved the seat of papal power to Avignon, France, and was there dominated by French King Philip V. The conclave to elect a pope had been deadlocked for over a year. Clement’s highest achievement was the completion of the ecclesiastical laws, a task begun over a century earlier.
1414 Bohemian reformer Jan Hus (ca. 1369–1415) appeared before the Council of Constance. Instead of allowing him to state his beliefs, the council only permitted him to answer charges of heresy. Hus was condemned and burned the following July.
1493 Justus Jonas, German Lutheran lawyer, theologian, reformer and Luther’s co-worker, was born (d. 9 October 1555).
1568 Counts Egmont and Hoorn were beheaded at Brussels by the Spanish overlords of the Netherlands, rousing the country to a fury of resistance and convincing William of Orange to become a Calvinist.
1625 Orlando Gibbons, composer, died at Canterbury (bapt. 25 December 1583).
1661 English mathematician and physicist Isaac Newton (1643–1727) was admitted as a student to Cambridge’s Trinity College, but the “greatest scientific genius the world has ever known” actually spent less of his life studying science than theology, writing 1.3 million words on biblical subjects.
1798 Alexis F. Lwoff (also spelled Lvov), Russian soldier and church musician, was born in Reval, Estonia (d. 28 December 1870). While serving at the Imperial Chapel (1837–1867), he edited a well-received collection of church music based on the Greek Orthodox Church’s ecclesiastical seasons of the year.
1818 The Society for Promoting the Gospel among Seamen was organized in New York.
1822 Francis (Franz) Arnold Hoffmann was born in Herford, Kreis Minden, Westphalia in the Kingdom of Prussia (d. 23 January 1903).
1826 Carl Maria von Weber (b. 18 November 1786), famed German operatic composer, died.
1838 Karl Theophil Ewald Rhenius, missionary to India, died in India (b. 5 November 1790).
1860 The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Synod was organized by Swedish and Norwegian Lutherans concerned about unionistic and rationalistic tendencies among other Scandinavian Lutherans, adopting the name “Augustana Synod.”
1865 Sabine Baring-Gould‘s (1834–1924) hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” premiered in Horbury, England.
1879 Ludvig Olsen Fossum, Mid-East Lutheran missionary, was born in Wallingford, Iowa (d. 10 October 1920).
1949 Carl Frederick Graebner, Australian Lutheran leader and president of the Adelaide seminary, died (b. 8 October 1862).
1950 W. Gustave Polack, Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) professor and a founder of Concordia Historical Institute, died (b. 7 December 1890).
1959 The secretary of state for ecclesiastical affairs in Poland wrote a letter to the Polish episcopate forbidding Bishop Czeslaw Kaczmarek (1895–1963) from further exercise of his functions. Kaczmarek was the most outspoken and aggressive of the anti-Communist Polish bishops.
1960 Luther’s Small Catechism was translated and issued in Taiwanese.
1971 Adolph Theodore Esaias Haentzschel, professor at the University of Wisconsin and Valparaiso University, died (b. 24 December 1881).