Today in Christian History

January 28

January 28, 814: Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, dies. He was, in his day, not only one of the greatest political rulers of all time, he was, in his day, more influential in church matters than the pope. He saw his task as secular ruler "to defend with our arms the holy Church of Christ against attacks by the heathen from any side and against devastation by the infidels.

January 28, 1547: England's Henry VIII, who split the church of England from Rome and presided over the founding of the Anglican church, dies (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).

January 28, 1769: Thomas Middleton, first Anglican bishop of Calcutta, is born in England. While he oversaw a vast diocese covering all the territories of the East India Company, the church made some great advances, including the establishment of Bishop's College in Calcutta(a training college for missionaries in Asia).

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April 28, 1789: In the South Pacific, a band of hedonistic sailors stages the famous mutiny on the Bounty. The mutineers then sailed to uninhabited Pitcairn Island, where they soon fell into drinking and fighting. Only one man and several women (taken earlier as slaves) and children survived. The man, Alexander Smith, discovered the ship's neglected Bible, repented, and transformed the community. The Bible is still on display in a Pitcairn church.

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