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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, January 1

404
Last known gladiator fight in Rome. Sometime earlier, Telemachus, a monk from the eastern Roman empire, had been killed by spectators in the Roman Coliseum for attempting to separate gladiatorial combatants. According to church historian Theodoret, when Emperor Honorius learned of this, he declared Telemachus a martyr and abolished the games.
1585
Giovanni Gabrieli becomes the leading organist of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. His innovations, such as grouping musicians in separate areas, and marking dynamic changes, will foster a revolution in music.
1622
The Gregorian Calendar, so called because it was promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII, makes January 1st the first day of the year in Catholic countries. Under the Roman calendar, March 25th had been the first day of the year.
1780
Pioneer Methodist bishop and circuit rider Francis Asbury wrote in his journal: 'My God, keep me through the water and fire, and let me rather die than live to sin against thee!'
1802
In reply to the Danbury Baptist Accociation (of Connecticut), which is concerned that Baptists could be forced to belong to an established church, Jefferson declares there is "a wall of separation between Church and State," a phrase which will later be wrested out of context to deny public expression of religious belief on governmental property.
1824
Over breakfast, David Naismith organizes The Glasgow Young Men's Society for Religious Improvement. One object spelled out in its constitution is "to establish and promote throughout the city and suburbs associations of Young Men for Mutual Religious Improvement."
1927
Kawai Shinsui publicly announces that he is establishing the Christ Heart Church, a Japanese denomination independent of the west.
1945
Death of Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah, first native-born Anglican bishop of India. He had relinquished leadership in two mission agencies to work in Dornakal, one of the poorest regions of India. Upon his arrival in Dornakal, Christians had numbered 8,000 with six Indian ministers and one hundred and seventy-two lay-workers. By his death the diocese had one hundred and fifty ministers and about three hundred thousand converts despite the opposition of Mahatma Gandhi.
1977
At the Episcopal Church of All Saints in Indianapolis, Jacqueline Means becomes the first woman ordained to serve as a priest in the Episcopal Church (USA).
1979
Beginning of the Third General Council of the Latin American Episcopate, held in Puebla, Mexico. It will emphasize popular piety and place special emphasis on the poor.

Copyright Statement
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"