Today in Christian History

March 20

March 20, 687: Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne and a vocal supporter of Celtic practices over Roman ones, dies. Shortly thereafter the Lindisfarne Gospels monks created created in his honor (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).

March 20, 1747: Severely ill with tuberculosis, Presbyterian missionary David Brainerd ends his work among the Native Americans of Delaware (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).

March 20, 1852: Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of famous Congregational minister Lyman Beecher, publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin (which had been serialized in an antislavery newspaper). The book sold one million copies and was so influential in arousing antislavery sentiment that Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said upon meeting Stowe in 1863: "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!" (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).

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February 24, 1208: Francis of Assisi experiences a vision in the church of Portunicula, Italy. Though not his first vision, it convinced him to begin a mission of preaching repentance, singing, caring for lepers, and aiding the peasants. Most notably, he and his followers renounced wealth and followed absolute poverty (see issue 42: Francis of Assisi).

February 24, 1582: Gregory XIII issues a bull requiring all Catholic countries to follow October 4 with October 15 and replace the Julian calendar ...

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