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Christian History

Today in Christian History

March 1

March 1, 589 (traditional date): David of Wales, whose ascetic path of restraint earned him the love of all Wales (he is now the patron saint of that country), dies. His final words were, "Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith and do the little things that you have seen and heard from me" (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).

March 1, 1546: After surrendering peacefully, George Wishart, an early leader of Scottish protestants and influential in the life of John Knox, who served in his personal body guard, is executed by Cardinal David Beaton, archbishop of St. Andrews.

March 1, 1562: At the Massacre of Vassy, French Protestants (called Huguenots) are killed by Roman Catholics. The action set off a series of eight religious wars that lasted 36 years (see issue 71: Huguenots).

March 1, 1854: Pioneer missionary Hudson Taylor lands in Shanghai, China. "My feelings on stepping ashore I cannot attempt to describe," he wrote. "My heart felt as though it had not room and must burst its bonds, while tears of gratitude and thankfulness fell from my eyes." Taylor would found the China Inland Mission in 1865, and he popularized the idea that missionaries should live and dress like the people they seek to evangelize (see issue 52: Hudson Taylor).

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April 22, 1418: The Council of Constance ends, having finally ended the Great Western Schism. When the schism began nearly 40 years earlier, three men had reasonable claims to the papacy. The council deposed all three and elected Martin V. (Martin then turned around and rejected further councils' right to depose a pope.) Though that part of the council is regarded as a triumph, the council also hastily condemned Jan Hus, a Bohemian preacher and forerunner of Protestantism, and sentenced him to execution ...

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