Today in 1530 a supposed 'miraculous' portrait of Saint Dominic appeared in Calabria, in the South of Italy. The image has garnered intense local devotion with many miracles attached to it. It has itself been painted many times and today we look at the story of Dominic and his life, and the mysterious circumstances of the arrival of the painting Dominic Guzman had born in old Castile, Spain, in the 12th century and became a canon of the cathedral at Osma, where there was
Today in 1715 the Benedictine monk and cellar Master Dom Pierre Perignon died at the age of 77. He did not invent the sparkling white wine known as Champagne as popular mythology supposes but he did make important contributions to the production and quality of Champagne wine in an era when the region's wines were predominantly still red. The importance of his work is acknowledged by the winery Moët & Chandon, who named their most famous Champagne Dom Pérignon in his memory.
Today in Christian History we go back to year 1874 and travel to Russia where today the writer Fyodor Doestoevsky finished the first draft for his final novel the Brothers Karamazov. An absorbing mixture of the story of three brothers , a murder mystery and discussion of the validity of religion. It was originally called ‘The Life of a Great Sinner’, the text was altered by a personal tragedy: in May 1878, Dostoevsky's 3-year-old son Alyosha died of epilepsy, a condition inh
Richard Challoner would become the leading figure of English Catholicism for the greater part of the eighteenth century. He was bright but not exceptionally so & had a well-grounded piety that was infectious, and was hard working coupled with an integrity to his life that meant that he was trusted by the traumatised Catholic community which was still semi-underground. As a Bishop, he grew in stature as an effective leader. His integrity and the trust that he had built meant t
Today in the Spanish priest and fierce defender of indigenous peoples Bartolome de la casas ended his term as bishop of Chiapas in Mexico. His extensive writings, the most famous being A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies chronicle the first decades of colonization of the West Indies. He described the atrocities committed by the colonizers against the indigenous peoples. Casas became one of the most influential thinkers of his day. His views on slavery and the r
Today at Yale University, Carl Jung’s Terry lectures on Psychology and Religion were published. He had delivered the lectures in 1938 and had covered three themes in his lectures – The Autonomy of the Unconscious Mind, Dogma and Symbols and the History and Psychology of a Natural Symbol. In his lectures he describes what he regards as the authentic religious function of the unconscious mind. Using a wealth of material from ancient and medieval gnostic, alchemistic, and occu
Michael Novak would become the author of more than forty books on the philosophy and theology of culture, and was most famous for the 1982 publication The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. He was born today in 1933 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Developing a theology of Capitalism, he challenged Max Weber's idea of the Protestant Work Ethic. He wrote “Democratic capitalism is neither the Kingdom of God nor without sin. Yet all other known systems of political economy are worse.
Today in 1989 the journal Science published the results of the work of Francis Collins who identified the gene which explained cystic fibrosis. Collins led the Human Genome project and then set up the BioLogos foundation to promote understanding between science and faith. In his bestselling book The Language of God: he wrote that scientific discoveries were an "opportunity to worship" The quest to understand cystic fibrosis had made slow Progress until 1985 when Lap-Chee Ts
Today we travel to central Nigeria where in the city of Jos terrible riots began today between Christians and Muslims. They were to last nearly two weeks, killing more than a 1000 people. The riots were triggered by the appointment of a Muslim politician, Alhaji Mukhtar Mohammed, as the local coordinator of the federal poverty alleviation program. The fighting quickly spread through various Jos neighbourhoods and to surrounding communities. Religious tensions had simmered in
Today in 1657 the Vatican placed Blaise Pascal’s Provincial Letters on the Index of Prohibited Books. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum ("List of Prohibited Books") was a list of publications deemed heretical or contrary to morality. The Letters defended Jansenism, which was an extreme version of St Augustine's theology which the Vatican had concluded was not very different from Calvinism. Pascals style of writing was very skilful and therefore the book was very popular. Pasca
Today in 1942 the Czech priest Joseph Beran was imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp. He was given number 25844 after the Nazis had targeted him for "subversive and dangerous" behaviour. He would survive the death camp and he was freed in 1945 upon Allied liberation and Pope Pius XII nominated him to head the Prague archdiocese. Following the Communist coup in 1948 in then-Czechoslovakia, Beran publicly opposed the new regime and was put under house arrest and moved
Today in 1941, the abbot of the Sisatovac monastery in Croatia, Rafailo Momcilovic would die, he had been kidnapped by the Ustaše on 25 August and tortured by the Croatian military until he died today at Požega In the East of the country. His burial site has yet to be found. The Serbian Orthodox Church venerates him as a martyr and saint. He was famous as a writer of icons with the iconostasis of Ružica Church in Belgrade painted by him. There is also an art colony in Vojv
Today in 1830 the first complete edition of the Heliand was published by Johann Andreas Schmeller. This was a ninth century epic poem about 6000 lines long which recounts the life of Jesus in Old Saxon. The text is based, not directly on the New Testament, but on a harmony of the Gospels, and was probably written at the request of emperor Louis the Pious around AD 830 to combat Saxon ambivalence toward Christianity. The word Heliand meant saviour in Old Saxon. The preface b
Today we we go back to year 1982 and travel to Redding in Northern California where Seraphim Rose an American priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church died at the young age of 48. He had translated many Orthodox Christian texts and authored several works. Living a hard ascetic life, and becoming obsessed by the apocalypse, his writings have been credited with helping to spread Eastern Orthodox Christianity throughout the West; his renown extended to Russia itself, where his
Edward Dowling was born today in 1898. He would be ordained a priest and become the advisor to Bill Wilson who founded Alcoholic Anonymous. His experience of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola helped to shape the 12 step process that has proven so influential to hundreds of thousands of recovering alcoholics in their quest to achieve sobriety. When Fr Dowling died in the spring of 1960 Wilson wrote. "Father Ed, an early and wonderful friend of AA, He was the grea
Today we remember the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grunewald who died in 1528. Now famous for his religious art that display intense colour and agitated lines he is seen as one of the greatest German painters of all time. Painting in Germany during the turmoil of the emerging Protestant Reformation. His most famous piece, the Issenheim altarpiece is a masterful depiction of the horrific agony of the Crucifixion, with Christ's emaciated body writhing under the pain of