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Christian History

Today in Christian History

August 5

August 5, 642: Oswald, the king of Northumbria who first began the official establishment of Christianity in England, is "martyred" in battle against the pagan Penda of Mercia. Converted at Iona, Scotland, Oswald erected a wooden cross before one of his earliest battles and commanded his soldiers to pray. When he defeated the English king in that battle, Oswald commissioned the Irish monk Aidan to begain establishing Christianity(see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).

August 5, 1570: Spanish Jesuits, intent on converting the Native Americans, arrive in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. Six months later, Native Americans massacred the group, and the Jesuits ended their work in the region.

August 5, 1604: John Eliot, the "Apostle to American Indians," is baptized. He succeeded in converting over 3,600 Native American, publishing the Bay Psalm Book (the first book printed in America), and forming the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

August 5, 1656: Eight Quakers from England arrive in Boston, where Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony immediately imprisoned them without trial. They were held until the ships that brought them were ready to take them back to England (see issue 41: The American Puritans).

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September 20, 1224: On or about this date, on Italy's secluded Mount Alvernia, Francis of Assisi reportedly prayed, "O Lord, I beg of you two graces before I die—to experience in myself in all possible fullness the pains of your cruel passion, and to feel for you the same love that made you sacrifice yourself for us." Soon his heart was filled with both joy and pity, and wounds appeared on his hands, feet, and side. He reportedly carried these scars (called stigmata) until his death in 1226 ...

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