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We Remember Ascension Day (1858)

Jesus said to his bereaved disciples, “If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I go to my Father” (John...



Election of Jeremias II as patriarch of Constantinople. The Turks will remove him from office twice and imprison him once. More than most patriarchs, he will interact with the West. He will also make the Russian Orthodox Church self-governing.

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Antonio Homem, a Christian theologian from Coimbra University, is burned at the stake in an auto da fé in Lisbon, Portugal. A Jew by ancestry, his family had been forced to convert to Christianity in the sixteenth century and the Portuguese Inquisition accused him of Jewish sympathies and secret Jewish worship, in part because he had recited some of the more Jewish-sounding Psalms from the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible.

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Death of Jean Astruc, a pioneer in the study of venereal diseases and of biblical criticism. In an effort to defend the books of Moses, he noted the different contexts of Elohim and Yahweh (Hebrew names for God) and proposed the documentary hypothesis, that Genesis was based on several ancient sources.

Authority for the date: Standard encyclopedias.


Death of James Ireland, a Baptist preacher who had undergone severe incarceration and several attempts upon his life at the hands of the established church in Virginia.

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A General Conference of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (later renamed the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) meets in Augusta, GA. Its principal achievement will be establishment of a financial system that assesses twenty cents per year on each member, to be divided in this way: for bishops, eight cents; missions, three cents; education, three cents; publishing interests, three cents; Israel Church and Miles Chapel, three cents. The system will work well and be retained with variations for many years.

Authority for the date: Phillips, C. H. History of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America, 1925.


Death of Alexander McLaren, a non-conformist preacher who had preached from the original languages of the Bible and witnessed deep transformations in the churches he pastored. He had thought his sermons fell short, but posterity will regard them as among the clearest ever published.

Authority for the date: Vincent, Benjamin. Haydn’s Dictionary of Dates. Putnam, 1911.


Arrest of the Orthodox bishop, Platon of Banja Luka, in Croatia by the fascist group known as the Ustashe. He had been ordered to leave but appealed for time to set his church affairs in order. He will be killed along with hundreds of thousands of other individuals, mostly Serbs, in a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

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Orthodox Russians in  Yekaterinburg (Russia’s fourth largest city and located in the Ural Federal District)  burn a number of books by “liberals” such as Alexander Men (sometimes called the C. S. Lewis of the Soviet Union), Nicolas Afanasiev, Alexander Schmemann, and John Meyendorff, deeming them heretical.

Authority for the date: Plekon, Michael. Living Icons: Persons of Faith in the Eastern Church. University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

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