27 May 1917

Pope Benedict XV promulgates the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the first comprehensive codification of Catholic canon law in the legal history of the Catholic Church.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law, also known as the Pio-Benedictine Code, was the first comprehensive codification of the ecclesiastical laws of the Roman Catholic Church. Promulgated by Pope Benedict XV on May 27, 1917, and coming into effect on May 19, 1918, it replaced a vast and complex body of ecclesiastical legislation that had developed over centuries.
Background and Development

Historical Context:
Before the 1917 Code, canon law consisted of various decrees, councils’ canons, papal bulls, and other sources dating back to the early Church.
The need for a systematic codification became evident as the Church faced the challenges of modernity and sought to have a clear and accessible legal framework.

Commission and Process:
Pope Pius X initiated the project in 1904, appointing a commission of cardinals and canonists to undertake the codification.
The commission worked for 13 years, under the leadership of Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, compiling and organizing existing laws and decrees into a cohesive system.

Structure and Content

The 1917 Code is organized into five books, each dealing with different aspects of Church law:

Book I: General Norms
This book includes introductory canons defining the scope and application of canon law, the principles of legal interpretation, and guidelines for ecclesiastical governance.

Book II: Persons
This book outlines the rights and duties of the faithful, the clergy, religious orders, and laypeople.
It details the hierarchical structure of the Church, including the roles of the Pope, bishops, priests, and other officials.

Book III: Things
Focuses on the sacraments and other liturgical acts.
Includes canons on the administration of the sacraments, especially baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony.

Book IV: Procedures
Covers canonical processes, including judicial procedures, marriage annulments, and penal law.
Provides regulations for ecclesiastical trials and the imposition of canonical penalties.

Book V: Crimes and Penalties
Defines ecclesiastical offenses and the corresponding penalties.
Establishes guidelines for dealing with clerical misconduct and other violations of Church law.


The 1917 Code brought uniformity and consistency to Church law, making it easier for clergy and laity to understand and follow ecclesiastical regulations.

It reflected the Church’s response to the social, political, and cultural changes of the early 20th century.
The codification aimed to make canon law more accessible and applicable in a rapidly changing world.

The 1917 Code served as the primary legal framework for the Catholic Church until it was replaced by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II.
The principles and structures established in the 1917 Code influenced subsequent developments in Church law.

27 May 1996

First Chechen War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin meets with Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiates a cease-fire.

The First Chechen War was a conflict that took place between Russia and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, which sought independence from Russia. The war began in December 1994 and officially ended in August 1996. It was a significant and highly destructive conflict, characterized by intense fighting, human rights abuses, and widespread devastation.

The roots of the conflict can be traced back to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region located in the North Caucasus region of Russia, declared independence from Russia in 1991 under the leadership of Dzhokhar Dudayev. However, Russia did not recognize Chechnya’s independence and sought to maintain control over the region.

The war started when Russian forces, under the command of President Boris Yeltsin, launched a large-scale military intervention in Chechnya. The Russian government cited reasons such as the need to maintain territorial integrity and combat the spread of separatism and Islamic fundamentalism as justifications for their actions.

Initially, the Russian forces encountered little resistance and expected a quick victory. However, they underestimated the determination and fighting capabilities of the Chechen fighters. The Chechen rebels, known as the Armed Forces of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, employed guerrilla tactics and had local knowledge of the difficult terrain, which worked to their advantage.

The conflict quickly escalated into a full-scale war, marked by fierce urban warfare, heavy bombardment, and numerous human rights violations committed by both sides. Russian forces conducted large-scale airstrikes, artillery bombardments, and ground operations, while Chechen fighters used ambushes, hit-and-run tactics, and suicide bombings.

The war caused immense destruction and loss of life. Both military personnel and civilians suffered greatly. Civilian casualties were particularly high, with estimates ranging from tens of thousands to over 100,000 people. The capital city of Grozny, in particular, was heavily damaged, reduced to rubble by the end of the war.

International criticism of Russia’s conduct during the war was significant, with allegations of indiscriminate bombings, extrajudicial killings, and human rights abuses. The war also witnessed the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Chechen civilians, creating a humanitarian crisis.

In August 1996, a ceasefire was brokered, leading to the signing of the Khasavyurt Accord between the Russian government and Chechen separatist leaders. The agreement established a temporary cessation of hostilities and provided for negotiations on the future status of Chechnya.

The First Chechen War officially ended with the signing of the peace treaty known as the “Moscow Peace Treaty” in May 1997. The agreement granted a degree of autonomy to Chechnya within the Russian Federation but fell short of granting full independence. However, the conflict did not resolve the underlying grievances and tensions, and Chechnya remained a volatile region.

The First Chechen War had a significant impact on the subsequent conflicts in the region. It set the stage for the Second Chechen War, which began in 1999 and lasted until 2009, as well as ongoing instability and violence in the North Caucasus region.

27 May 1933

The Walt Disney Company releases the cartoon Three Little Pigs, with its hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”

[rdp-wiki-embed url=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who%27s_Afraid_of_the_Big_Bad_Wolf%3F’]

27 May 1883

Alexander III is crowned Tsar of Russia.

On 1 March 1881 Alexander’s father, Alexander II, was assassinated by members of the terrorist organization Narodnaya Volya. As a result, he ascended to the Russian imperial throne in Nennal on 13 March 1881. He and Maria Feodorovna were officially crowned and anointed at the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow on 27 May 1883. Alexander’s ascension to the throne was followed by an outbreak of anti-Jewish riots.

Alexander III disliked the extravagance of the rest of his family. It was also expensive for the Crown to pay so many grand dukes each year. Each one received an annual salary of 250,000 rubles, and grand duchesses received a dowry of a million when they married. He limited the title of grand duke and duchess to only children and male-line grandchildren of emperors. The rest would bear a princely title and the style of Serene Highness. He also forbade morganatic marriages, as well as those outside of the Orthodoxy.

27 May 1199

John is crowned the King of England.

On the 27th May 1199 King John was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The previous king, his brother Richard, had died after being shot in the shoulder by a crossbow. John ruled for seventeen years before contracting dysentery while in Kings Lynn, an illness from which he later died. John’s reign saw him lose control of the Angevin Empire, lose the crown jewels in the mud of East Anglia, and lose significant monarchical power under the terms of the Magna Carta.

John’s claim to the throne wasn’t entirely clear-cut since Arthur, the son of John’s older brother Geoffrey, was another possible heir. His claim was also supported by a large contingent of French nobles, and the French king Phillip II himself, who hoped to fragment the Angevin Empire. This laid the foundations for John’s ongoing struggles in mainland Europe, which gradually eroded his control over the lands of the Angevin Empire.

The fact that John succeeded in his bid to be crowned was significant. Medieval monarchs got their legal authority from their coronation, where they swore the coronation oath and were then anointed, girted, crowned, invested and enthroned. However, although the coronation gave the King the legal authority to rule the country, it was still based on him abiding by the coronation oath. Rebellious barons argued that John failed to do this since, like his predecessors, he sometimes took executive decisions on the basis that the king was above the law. This set in motion calls for a ‘law of the land’ that was to result in the Magna Carta.

27 May 1907

The Bubonic plague breaks out in San Francisco.

In the summer of 1899, a ship sailing from Hong Kong to San Francisco had had two cases of plague on board. Because of this, although no passengers were ill when the ship reached San Franscisco, it was to be quarantined on Angel Island. When the boat was searched, 11 stowaways were found the next day two were missing. Their bodies were later found in the Bay, and autopsy showed they contained plague bacilli. Despite this scare, there was no immediate outbreak of disease. But rats from the ship probably had something to do with the epidemic that hit San Francisco nine months later.

On March 6, 1900, a city health officer autopsied a deceased Chinese man and found organisms in the body that looked like plague. In 1894, two research physicians had simultaneously and independently identified the bacillus that causes bubonic plague. Shibasaburo Kitasato published his findings in Japanese and English; Alexandre Yersin published in French. People in different parts of the world credited one or the other with the discovery, depending which journals they had read. That the plague had an identifiable “germ” was known. But other recent findings had not been disseminated — or believed. Most people felt that the germ infected humans through food or open wounds. Disinfection campaigns were the order of the day. In some places they ran carbolic acid through sewers, actually spreading the disease faster because it flushed out rats that had lived there.