Today in Christian History

March 5

March 5, 1179: Alexander III convokes the Third Lateran Council. Attended by 300 bishops, it gave the college of cardinals the exclusive right to elect the pope (by a two-thirds majority) and enacted measures against the Waldensians and Albigensians.

March 5, 1409: The college of cardinals convokes the Council of Pisa to end the Great Schism, which had divided Western Christendom in 1378 by the election of rival popes. Unfortunately, all the Council of Pisa did was to produce another candidate for the papacy (see issue 68: Jan Hus).

March 5, 1743:The Christian History, America's first religious magazine, is published in Boston in the midst of the Great Awakening. The weekly publication, "containing accounts of the propagation and revival of religion," is not to be confused with our magazine—though we're proud to carry on the name.

March 5, 1797: The three-masted ship Duff arrives in Tahiti's Matavai Bay, completing a 207-day voyage from London. The ship, commanded by Captain John Wilson, had aboard 37 artisans and pastors of the London Missionary Society (L.M.S.) and their families, who were to be resettled in the South Pacific on the islands of Tahiti, Tonga and the Marquesas.

March 5, 1899: Alcoholic-turned-evangelist Sam Jones begins a crusade in Toledo, Ohio, where the mayor was also named Sam Jones. Mayor Jones at first welcomed the publicity, but he worried when evangelist Jones decried the city's immorality (if the Devil were mayor of Toledo, the preacher said, he wouldn't change a thing). Nonetheless, the mayor was reelected the next month by a huge margin.

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March 24, 1208: After England's irreligious King John opposed his choice for Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Innocent III places Britain under an interdict. Innocent had all religious services canceled, churches closed, and the dead were not given Christian burials until John surrendered. Soon after, the king signed the Magna Carta, in which the first article affirms "That the Church of England shall be free . . .

March 24, 1816: Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury, age 71, preaches his last sermon. ...

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