Today in Christian History

November 21

November 21, 235 (traditional date): Anterus is elected pope, a position he would hold for only a few weeks. According to the Liber pontificalis, he was martyred for ordering the "acts of the martyrs" to be written down and put in the church library.

November 21, 1620: Pilgrims sign the Mayflower Compact, a typical church covenant of the time (see issue 41: The American Puritans).

November 21, 1638: A General Assembly at Glasgow abolishes the episcopal form of church government and establishes presbyterianism, creating the Church of Scotland (see issue 46: John Knox).

November 21, 1768: Friedrich E.D. Schleiermacher, a hugely influential, liberal, German theologian and philosopher, is born in Breslau. The author of On Religion and The Christian Faith, he placed a strong emphasis on feeling as the basis of religion.

November 21, 1964: The third session of Vatican II closes with the approval of three documents. One of these, the "Decree on Ecumenism," declared both Catholics and Protestants to blame for past divisions and called for dialogue, not derision, in the future.

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October 26, 899: Alfred the Great, ruler of Wessex, England, from 871, dies. His defeat of the Danes ensured Christianity's survival in England, but he is also known for his ecclesiastical reforms and his desire to revive learning in his country.

October 26, 1466: According to some accounts, Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus was born on this date. The first editor of the Greek New Testament, he also wrote In Praise of Folly (a satire of monastic and ecclesiastical corruption) and many other works ...

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