It is the 15th of October 2020. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I'm Dan van Voorhis.

The year was 1573.

The Reformation and its concomitant movements had been the European event for the past few decades. And as we enter the last decades of the 16th century, we see a decided shift towards pragmatic solutions to religious and civic settlements.

This year saw the end of the 4th French War of Religion. (There were 8 in total.) While heated controversy often led to armed conflict in this century, the French deserve a special award for trying and failing repeatedly. The 4th War of Religion came to an end with the Pacification of Boulogne. This edict ended the conflicts that resulted from the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre from the previous year. Seeing the disastrous effects of the previous peace agreement, this edict restricted Protestant worship to only a few towns in the south of France. Even there, Protestants were only permitted to worship according to their consciences in their own homes.

The year also saw a peace temporarily ending a conflict that began with the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire. The conflict surrounded the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, which had been in the Venetians' hands since the 15th century. The island was not only a metropolitan center but also it was a source of substantial agriculture. Its location made it both a desirable place for trading ports, but the nearby Muslim population had its sights on taking back the island that had, centuries prior, been under their control. The Venetians, along with the Holy League arranged by the Pope, were initially successful in beating back the troops of Selim II at the battle of Lepanto. However, by this year, the Ottomans had successfully struck back and were able to acquire Cyprus as well as a handsome tribute from the European powers.

It is essential for historians of the 16th century in Europe to pay special attention to the Ottoman Empire and that of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Often, the two's fate would be tied together as the old capital of the church, Constantinople, had fallen to the Ottomans and become Istanbul. The events to the East had often caught the attention of the Reformers, who were keen on reading Muslim invasions as divine retribution against the authorities in both church and state. The Eastern church also had a special place in the minds of reformers who saw them as a possible ally. As early as 1519, Martin Luther wrote of the Orthodox Church that they were "the most Christian of all people" and "the best followers of the gospel on earth." Interest was piqued again when the Patriarch of Constantinople sent an emissary to Wittenberg, where he stayed with Phillip Melanchthon for six months, helping him to translate the Augsburg confession into a Greek version that could serve as the basis of Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox dialog. However, the Greek translation never made its way to the Patriarch, that is, until this, the 15th of October, in 1573.

Stephen Gerlach, a Lutheran professor at the University of Tübingen, was made chaplain to the Eastern church's Imperial ambassador. Working under Jakob Andreae, the architect of the Lutheran Book of Concord, Gerlach delivered the Greek translation of the Augsburg confession. It may have been Papal overtures to the Eastern church that hurried the East's contact, but it was undoubtedly the desire to unite the churches opposed to papal authority. The debates fizzled on account of bedrock doctrines for the two churches. The Eastern Orthodox saw the Lutheran emphasis on sin to be a bridge too far, as the Lutherans saw the orthodox as being entirely insufficient when it came to the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone. The relationship between the two churches has been almost non-existent, but the attempt to draw the churches into the union was real. The most promising event is likely the discussion of doctrine, which commenced with Stephen Gerlach's correspondence with the Patriarch, which started on this, the 15th of October, in 1573.

The reading for today comes from Bill Stadick. this is his "The-Sin-Boldly-Bulwark-Never-Failing-Blues."

I just opened the can of worms that will eat my flesh
I just shrugged it’s all good and my nose started Pinocchioing
I just passed my annual physical and failed my annual spiritual
I just peeked into my closet and one of its skeletons whispered It’s me, Uriah
I just vomited after winning a humble pie eating contest
I just tried talking my way out of eternal damnation as I would a parking ticket
I just called to say I’m sorry (I got caught)
I just justified shouting raca at my neighbor because his fallen leaves transgressed boundaries
I just can’t stop myself from saying I just
I just confronted all my demons and they doggedly refused to settle out of court
I just plugged in another household god that’s blaring mea culpa non. mea maxima culpa non
I just remembered 1521
I just reread Habakkuk 2:4
I just ordered me a heaping helping of alien righteousness
I just keep repeating hier stehe, ich kann nicht anders and yum

That was Bill Stadick's "The-Sin-Boldly-Bulwark-Never-Failing-Blues."

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 15th of October 2020 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. The show is produced by a man whose favorite Greek gyros come with feta and tzatziki sauce, Christopher Gillespie. The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis. You can catch us here every day. Remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.