Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Wednesday, 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.
1519
The Swiss Reformation begins when Huldrych Zwingli assumes his duties as priest of Zurich and begins preaching through the Bible.
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.
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."
1832
In Lexington, KY, 12,000 followers of Alexander Campbell, (called "Campbellites") merged with 10,000 followers of Barton W. Stone (known as "Christians") to form the Disciples of Christ (Christian) Church.
1871
An act to disestablish the Church of Ireland goes into effect, meaning it will no longer be the government-run church of that country.
1937
Death of J. Gresham Machen, a gifted Presbyterian scholar and defender of the Christian faith in the United States. Concerned with a rising tide of liberalism among Presbyterians, he had helped found the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
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.
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.
2011
Muslims in Alexandria, Egypt, bomb the crowded Two Saints Coptic Church, killing more than twenty Christian and wounding scores of others.

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