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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January 24, 1076: Germany's Henry IV convenes the Synod of Worms to secure the deposition of Pope Gregory VII. The Synod charged the pope with serious crimes, called upon Rome to depose him, and issued other anti-papal statements. The pope quickly excommunicated Henry. One year later, Henry traveled to Canossa, Italy, and stood three days in the snow in an attempt to gain Gregory's forgiveness. Gregory granted it, but the two men soon fought again; Henry set up an antipope in Gregory's place.

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