Sorry for missing last week - after nearly completing the posting for the week, I lost the material and did not get around to redoing it. The login troubles that I have with this site have taught me to prepare a word document which I can save and then copy and paste onto the site page…
May 31, 1579: Accidental Discovery of Roman Catacombs - “Forbidden to bury their dead in regular burial grounds, the Christians of Rome interred them in underground vaults used by the poor. Called catacombs, these were built outside the city…” (Christianty.com)
This vast labyrinth of underground burial chambers stretched for hundreds of miles into the volcanic rock that formed the foundations of Rome.They were developed through the first 3 centuries of persecuted Christendom and now provide a treasure trove of historical insights into the lives and culture of those first Christians whose remains were interred in them.
[As an interesting side-note, there were three layers of strata laid down by volcanic activity and the Roman catacombs had their beginning in the second layer in a mixture of rock and earth. Below them, rock was quarried out to build Rome. The upper layer of strata was comprised of pozzolana which, when pulverized and mixed with lime in the correct proportions and then with water, formed concrete! Although discovered by the Greeks, it took Roman ingenuity to perfect this technology and put it to work in building an empire. Many ancient Roman structures still stand today, with underwater pier and cementworks being as sound as they were when constructed 2100 years ago. How will our concrete structures look even 100 years from now!?]
What becomes abundantly clear from the inscriptions or epitaphs on the graves is the transformation of the lives and relationships of those whose remains lay within. These words, etched into the stone tiles used to seal the burial chamber, speak of the love, purity and unity that characterized the earthly life of the believer. Some spoke of the changed social relationships between slave and owner, statesman and common person, all because of their shared love, faith and experience in one person - the Lord Jesus Christ.
These burial grounds lost their protected status after the fall of Rome to the Goths (circa 400) and eventually, through the Middle Ages, the catacombs were forgotten. However, after their rediscovery on this date in 1579, there began a serious exploration, cataloguing and eventual mapping of these seemingly endless and confusing tunnels, first by Antonio Bosio and then by hundreds of others who followed his footsteps down these “hallowed halls” through the centuries since then.
As a result of their dedication to studying the contents of the catacombs, we now have a much fuller and more accurate view of the personal lives of our early Christian predecessors and how they stood in contrast to the culture and conditions in which they lived. A contrast, the records show, which cost many of them their lives as they would not capitulate to the demands of a corrupt and viscous secular society.http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 30027.html http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03417b.htm
June 1, 1793: “Birth of Henry Francis Lyte, Scottish clergyman who wrote the hymns 'Abide with Me' and 'Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken.'” (StudyLight.org)
June 2, 597: “Augustine, missionary to England and first archbishop of Canterbury, baptized Saxon king Ethelbert. Afterward, the Christian faith spread rapidly among the Angles and Saxons.” (SLO) Ethelbert went on to become the first English king to develop a written law code. Eventually, this code extended protection to the Church and to the civil liberties of the people; especially noteworthy is the Code’s mention of women’s rights and those of servants and slaves.
Then this: June 3, 1647: The Puritan British Parliament bans Christmas and other holidays." (ChristianityToday)
June 4, 1820: Birth of Elvina M Hall, who wrote the words to the hymn “Jesus Paid it All” while the pastor prayed a particularly long prayer on Sunday morning…
June 5, 754: “English monk Boniface, missionary to Germany, dies with 50 other Christians in an attack by angry pagans. The missionary, famous for smashing pagan idols, also established a monastery at Fulda that is still the center of Roman Catholicism in Germany.” (CT)
Boniface is remembered for his legendary fearlessness in confronting the pagan beliefs of his day. Perhaps the most notable of his feats was when, in Lower Hessia (in west-central Germany), he felled a massive oak tree dedicated to the god Thor. With every blow of the axe, he is said to have preached the Gospel to the fearful onlookers. Finally, the tree crashed to the ground and Boniface used its wood to build a chapel. The locals, astounded that he was not struck dead by a lightning bolt, then believed that the God he proclaimed was the true God.
Yet his mission work was made challenging by the people’s relentless drift back into paganism, heretical beliefs and ungodly living. Is the work of the disciples of Christ any less challenging today? And is our faith based on the spectacular and miraculous, or is it grounded in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord regardless of our circumstances? Only time and testing will tell...http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29751.html
Nothing will...separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus... (Rom 8:39b)
June 6, 1844: English merchant George Williams founds the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) out of his London meetings for prayer and Bible reading. (CT)
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.