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Birthdays on March 2

John S. B. Monsell (1811 to 1875)
Church of England
Felled by a Church Stone

John Samuel Bewley Monsell was born in Londonderry, Ireland. Ordained as an Anglican clergyman in 1834, he was accidentally killed in 1875 by a stone which fell when repairs were being made on the roof of his church, St. Nicholas Church in Guildford, England. He published eleven volumes of poetry, including nearly 300 hymns. A strong advocate of vigorous congregational singing, he urged that hymn singing should be "more fervent and joyous. We are too distant and reserved in our praises; we sing, not as we should sing to Him Who is Chief among ten thousand." Two of his hymns, still sung in Anglican churches, are "Fight the Good Fight of Faith" and "Sing to the Lord of Harvest."

Eugenio Pacelli (1876 to 1958)
Roman Church
Pope Pius Urged Literal Interpretation of Scripture

Birth of Eugenio Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII. He was a peace negotiator before World War II and traveled widely as pope. In 1939 he announced his plan of "Five Peace Points" which got nowhere with the world powers. He urged literal interpretation of Scripture where possible while acknowledging some passages must be interpreted more liberally. He defined the doctrine of the assumption of the Virgin Mary and sought to open relations with Orthodox and Uniat churches.


This Day in Church History

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