December 29 in Christian History

Dec 29, 2008 12:50 PM EST

1223 - Pope Honorius III formally approved the Franciscan religious order. Properly called the Order of the Friars Minor, this Catholic order was founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi.

1841 - Howard College was chartered in Marion, Alabama, under Baptist sponsorship. The campus relocated to Birmingham in 1887.

1849 - The Christmas hymn by Edmund Sears, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," was first published in "The Christian Register." Sears' carol features the American emphasis in Christian living, that is, the social message of "peace on earth, good will toward men."

1876 - Popular American hymnwriter Philip P. Bliss, 38, died when the train in which he and his wife were riding plunged off a bridge into a ravine 60 feet below. Bliss had penned such enduring hymns as: "Wonderful Words of Life, "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning," "I Will Sing of My Redeemer" and "I Gave My Life for Thee."

1938 - In Tambaram, South India, the second world meeting of the International Missionary Council closed at Madras Christian College (having opened Dec. 12th). It was afterward called the IMC's Tambaram Conference.

© 1987-2008, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church