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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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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.
1519
The Swiss Reformation begins when Huldrych Zwingli assumes his duties as priest of Zurich and begins preaching through the Bible.
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
Thomas Jefferson, in a letter written to the Danbury [CT] Baptist Association, coined the metaphor, "a wall of separation between Church and State." From 1947, the "wall of separation" concept gained acceptance as a constitutional guideline.
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
The Church of Ireland was formally disestablished. Aligned with Anglicanism from 1537, the Irish Church represented the faith of only 12% of the populace by the mid-19th century.
1927
Kawai Shinsui publicly announces that he is establishing the Christ Heart Church, a Japanese denomination independent of the west.
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.
1977
Jacqueline Means, wife of an Indiana truck driver and mother of four, became the first woman in the U.S. to be ordained a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church.
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.
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