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Christian History

Today in Christian History

June 14

June 14, 1811: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin and daughter of Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher, is born in Litchfield, Connecticut. When she met Abraham Lincoln in 1863, he reportedly said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!" (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).

June 14, 847: Methodius, an Eastern church leader who fought vigorously for icons to be preserved and venerated, dies of dropsy. He had earlier survived seven years of imprisonment with a decaying corpse, as ordered by officials under iconoclastic Emperor Theophilus. Upon Theophilus's death his wife, Theodora, took Methodius's side, and he was named Patriarch of Constantinople (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

June 14, 1936: English writer G.K. Chesterton dies at age 62. Authors from T.S. Eliot (who penned his obituary) to H.G. Wells, a longtime friend and debating opponent, expressed their grief. After the funeral, Pope Pius XI declared the rotund writer (a convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism) Defender of the Faith (see issue 75: G.K. Chesterton).

June 14, 1954: On flag day in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill adding the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

June 14, 1966: The Vatican announces that its "Index of Prohibited Books" (created in 1557 by the Congregation of the Inquisition under Pope Paul IV) no longer carried the force of ecclesiastical law. But the announcement made clear that the Index retains moral force.

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July 28, 1148: Too weak to retake Edessa from the Muslims, the armies of the Second Crusade besiege Damascus. They blundered and were forced to retreat within five days. Believers throughout Christendom were shocked and devastated that a crusade preached by a moral exemplar (Bernard of Clairvaux) and led by royalty (King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III of Germany) would fail (see issue 40: The Crusades).

July 28, 1727: Moody, stiff young preacher Jonathan Edwards marries Sarah Pierrepont, ...

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