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Christian History

Today in Christian History

May 30

May 30, 339: Eusebius dies at age 74. Author of the 10-volume Ecclesiastical History, he is called the father of church history. In his day, though, he was as much a maker of history as a recorder. At the Council of Nicea, he argued for peace between the heretical Arians and Orthodox leaders like Athanasius. When Arianism became hugely popular after the Council, Eusebius was one of the people to depose Athanasius. Though he wasn't an Arian himself, he strongly opposed anti-Arianism (see issue 72: How We Got Our History).

May 30, 1416: Jerome of Prague burns at the stake for heresy. When the Council of Constance arrested and tried his fellow Bohemian reformer Jan Hus, Jerome went to defend him, sealing his own fate (see issue 68: Jan Hus).

May 30, 1431: French mystic and revolutionary Joan of Arc burns at the stake for heresy. Her last words were, "Jesus, Jesus" (see issue 30: Women in the Medieval Church).

May 30, 1672: The governor of Rhode Island cordially entertains Quaker founder George Fox. "Most of the pupils had never heard of Friends before," Fox said, "but they were mightily affected with the meeting, and there is a great desire amongst them after the Truth.

May 30, 1822: A slave betrays the plans of African Methodist (and former slave) Denmark Vesey to stage a massive slave uprising on July 14. Of the 131 African Americans arrested in the plot, 35 were executed (including Vesey) and 43 were deported. Vesey's Charleston, South Carolina, church was closed until 1865 (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).

May 30, 1934: The first synod of the Confessing Church at Barmen ends. Influenced by Karl Barth, the synod produced the Barmen Declaration and marks the formal establishment of the "Confessing Church," led by Karl Barth, Martin Niemoeller, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer in opposition to the Nazi "German Christian" church (see issue 32: Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

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June 23, 1683: English Quaker William Penn, an advocate of peace and religious toleration, signs a treaty with the American Indians of Pennsylvania. Voltaire said the agreement was the only treaty never sworn to and never broken.

June 23, 1780: American troops, using hymnal pages from the First Presbyterian Church for gun wadding, stops the British advance on Springfield, New Jersey (see issue 50: American Revolution).

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