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Christian History

Today in Christian History

August 22

August 22, 565: Celtic missionary and abbot Columba reportedly confronts the Loch Ness Monster and becomes the first recorded observer of the creature. "At the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified," wrote his biographer, "and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes" (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).

August 22, 1670: English missionary John Eliot founds a church for Native Americans at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts (see issue 41: American Puritans).

August 22, 1741: George Frideric Handel shuts himself up in his home to begin writing "Messiah." He finished the composition 24 days later. "Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not," he later said.

August 22, 1800: Edward B. Pusey, author of Tracts for the Times and a leader of the Oxford Movement to renew the Anglican Church, is born. He wrote several works promoting a union between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, but the Vatican I Ecumenical Council (1869-70) dashed his hopes when it declared the doctrine of papal infallibility.

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December 4, 749: Greek Orthodox theologian and hymnographer John of Damascus dies near Jerusalem. One of the great theologians of the Eastern Orthodox church, he wrote comprehensively on the theology of Eastern Christianity and fought against those who wanted to rid the church of icons (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy and issue 74: Christians & Muslims)

December 4, 1093: Anselm, called "the founder of Scholasticism" and the greatest scholar between Augustine and Aquinas, is consecrated ...

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