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Christian History

Today in Christian History

July 29

July 29, 1030: Viking king Olaf Haraldsson, patron saint of Norway, dies in the battle of Stiklestad. Though limited in his ability to force his countrymen to convert during his reign, his death was later hailed as a miracle-filled martyrdom and, as his legend grew, it spurred on christiansd converting the country. In time, Olaf became one of the most well-known saints of medieval Christendom, and his relics in Norway became one of Europe's most popular pilgrimage destinations (see issue 63: Conversion of the Vikings).

July 29, 1775: The U.S. Army founds its chaplaincy, making it the Army's oldest division after the infantry.

July 29, 1794: In a converted blacksmith's shop in Philadelphia, former slave Richard Allen assembles a group of black Christians who had faced discrimination in the local Methodist Episcopal Church. They formed the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the mother church of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, now known throughout the world (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).

July 29, 1833: English abolitionist William Wilberforce dies a mere three days after England abolishes slavery (see issue 53: William Wilberforce).

July 29, 1968: Pope Paul VI publishes his encyclical "Humanae Vitae," which condemns artificial birth control methods.

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September 24, 787: The Second Council of Nicea begins under Pope Hadrian I. The council condemned iconoclasm. The Roman Catholic Church considers this as the seventh of the 21 ecumenical councils; the Eastern Orthodox churches consider this the last of the ecumenical councils (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

September 24, 1757: Jonathan Edwards, perhaps America's most brilliant theologian and a father of American revivalism, becomes president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). He served ...

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