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May 12 in Christian History

May 12, 2009 12:36 PM EDT

254 - St. Stephen I began his reign as the Catholic Church's 23rd pope. According to the "Liber Pontificalis," it was Stephen who instituted the rule that clerics should wear special clothes at their ministrations.


1310 - Fifty-four Knights Templars were burned at the stake as heretics in France. Established during the Crusades to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, this military order came into increasing conflict with Rome until Clement V officially dissolved it in 1312 at the Council of Vienna.


1891 - The Presbytery of New York voted to put the Rev. Dr. Charles A. Briggs, the new professor of biblical theology at Union Theological Seminary, on trial for heresy.


1907 - Birth of Sidney N. Correll, founder and first General Director (1946-1971) of United World Mission, Inc. This evangelical missions organization is involved worldwide in evangelism, church planting and Christian education.


1938 - In Holland, the four-day convention at Utrecht ended, at which the Provisional Constitution for the World Council of Churches was adopted.


© 1987-2009, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church