Today in Christian History

July 20

July 20, 1054: Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius, having been excommunicated from the Roman church four Days earlier, excommunicates Pope Leo IX and his followers. This precipitates the Great Schism (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

July 20, 1910: The Christian Endeavor Society of Missouri begins a campaign to ban all motion pictures that depicted kissing between nonrelatives.

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August 21, 1741: George Frideric Handel shuts himself up in his home to begin writing "Messiah." He finished the composition 23 days later. "Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not," he later said.

August 21, 1874: Henry Ward Beecher, a popular Congregational clergyman from Connecticut, is accused of adultery. Sued for $100,000 by the alleged adulteress's husband, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe (and son of evangelical leader Lyman Beecher) would eventually be ...

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