On This Day
1562 – Pope Pius IV reopens the Council of Trent for its third and final session.
The Council of Trent (Latin: Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent, or Trento, in northern Italy. It was an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.
The Council issued condemnations of what it defined to be heresies committed by Protestantism and key statements and clarifications of the Church’s doctrine and teachings, including scripture, the Biblical canon, sacred tradition, original sin, justification, salvation, the sacraments, the Mass and the veneration of saints. The Council met for twenty-five sessions between 13 December 1545 and 4 December 1563. Pope Paul III, who convoked the Council, presided over the first eight sessions (1545–47), while the twelfth to sixteenth sessions (1551–52) were overseen by Pope Julius III and the seventeenth to twenty-fifth sessions (1562–63) by Pope Pius IV.
The consequences of the Council were also significant as regards the Church’s liturgy and practices. During its deliberations, the Council made the Vulgate the official example of the Biblical canon and commissioned the creation of a standard version, although this was not achieved until the 1590s. In 1565, a year after the Council finished its work, Pius IV issued the Tridentine Creed (after Tridentum, Trent’s Latin name) and his successor Pius V then issued the Roman Catechism and revisions of the Breviary and Missal in, respectively, 1566, 1568 and 1570. These, in turn, led to the codification of the Tridentine Mass, which remained the Church’s primary form of the Mass for the next four hundred years.
More than three hundred years passed until the next ecumenical council, the First Vatican Council, was convened in 1869.
Born On This Day
1853 – Marthinus Nikolaas Ras, South African farmer, soldier, and gun-maker (d. 1900)
Marthinus Nikolaas Ras (18 January 1853 – 21 February 1900) was a South African farmer, soldier, and gun-maker who is considered the father of South African Artillery.
He served in the First Boer War in the Potchefstroom commando under General Piet Cronjé. After witnessing the siege on the British fort at Potchefstroom by the Boers, he realized the need for artillery by the Boer forces to be able to successfully mount an assault the British blockhouses and forts. In the early stages of the conflict, the Boers seriously lacked cannons to enable them to assault the six British army forts in the Transvaal. In December 1880, he requested and obtained permission to return home to his farm Bokfontein, near Brits, to build a cannon for the Boer forces.
He built two cannons (named the Ras cannons), the first being a 3 inch caliber, 4½ feet barrel cannon, named “Martienie” and the second a 2 inch caliber, 5½ barrel cannon, named “Ras”. The “Martienie” cannon was used to great effect on a British fort near Rustenburg, firing 93 shots and resulting in the subsequent surrender of the fort.
On 21 February 1900 during the Second Boer War, whilst on the way back to his farm at Bokfontein, he was ambushed and killed at Kaya’s Put by an impi (African war party) of the Kgatla tribal chief Linchwe, an African tribe fighting on the side of the British.
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