Sunday, August 23, 2009

This week in persecuted church history (August 23-29)

Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
Hebrews 13:7b (ESV)

August 23, 2008: Pedro Gomez Diaz , his wife Marcela and their oldest son, Rene are hacked to death in the community of Jolitontic, Chiapas, Mexico by a neighbour who blames them, as evangelicals, for the illness of his daughter. Six of the other Diaz children are seriously wounded.

orissa August 23, 2008: World Hindu Council (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati is assassinated by Maoist rebels.  Hindus, however, blame Christians for the killing and a wave of attacks and killings begin in Orissa that last for several weeks and spreads to other parts of India. Many are killed and injured and thousands are made refugees.

August 24, 410: Alaric and the Goths sack Rome. Pagans blamed pacifist Christians and their God for the defeat. Augustine, in his massive City of God, repudiated this claim and blamed Rome's corruption instead.

August 24, 1572: Catherine de Medici sends her son, young King Charles IX of France, into a panic with threats of an imminent Huguenot (French Protestant) insurrection. Frenzied, he yelled, "Kill them all! Kill them all!" In response, Catholics in Paris butchered the Huguenots who had come to the city for a royal wedding. Between 5,000 and 10,000 Protestants died in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

August 24, 1662: The deadline arrives for all British ministers to publicly assent to the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The Act of Uniformity, passed on May 19, 1662, also required the BCP to be used exclusively from this date forward. The act remains on Britain's Statute Book, though it has been modified over the years.

china_xie_shiguang August 25, 2005: Monsignor Xie Shiguang, the bishop of Mingdong, dies of leukemia at the age of 88.  Between 1955 and 1992, Xie had spent a total of twenty-eight years in prison because of his work with the underground Catholic Church.  From the time of his release until his death, he was under constant police surveillance.

August 25, 1560: Led by John Knox, the reformed Church of Scotland is established on Protestant lines. The Scottish parliament accepts the Calvinistic Scots Confession, forbids the mass, and declares the pope has no jurisdiction in Scotland.

viret August 27, 1565: Pierre Viret was ordered out of France because of his doctrinal teachings, even though he was known for his compassionate and love for those with whom he disagreed. A few years later, Viret and eleven other ministers were captured by the Catholics. Seven were executed. Pierre, however, was allowed to live because the commander had heard so much good about him from other Catholics.

August 27, 1660: Charles II, newly restored to the throne, orders the works of poet John Milton (who supported the Parliament) to be burned by royal decree. Milton though imprisoned for a short while, continues work on his masterpiece, Paradise Lost.

August 27, 1727: Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf's Moravian community at Herrnhut, Germany, begins a round-the-clock "prayer chain." Reportedly, at least one person in the community was praying every minute of the day—for more than a century.

india_thoomkuzhy August 28, 2004: While praying before Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church in Thururhiparambu, Kerela state, India, 71-year-old Father Job Chittilappilly is stabbed in the back and killed. Father Chittilappilly had been facing threats from Hindu militants because a number of Hindus were beginning to attend services at the church and had removed their Hindu idols from their homes.

August 28, 2007: An agreement is announced that the remaining Christian missionaries who are being held hostage by the Taliban since July 19 will be afghanistan_skorea_missionsreleased. By the following morning, at least twelve of the hostages had already been released. In exchange for the release of their citizens, South Korea reportedly agreed to follow through on their plans to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. The officials also agreed to prevent South Koreans from engaging in missionary activity in Afghanistan. Since South Korea was already planning to withdraw their troops by the end of 2007, the deal indicates the kidnapping may have been more religiously-motivated than originally reported.

August 29, 29: Since the fifth century, tradition has this as the date for the beheading of John the Baptist.

(sources: Christianity Today, Glimpses of Church History, The Voice of the Martyrs)

Prayer: “Grant that we, who now remember these before thee, may likewise so bear witness unto thee in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – taken from The Book of Common Prayer, Canada (1962)

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