Today in Christian History
Martyrdom of St. Abo in Tsibili, Georgia. A Muslim perfumer from Baghdad, he had become a Christian and attempted to strengthen Christians and win Muslims to Christ.
Theophylact delivers a flattering address in Constantinople before Emperor Alexius that results in an unwelcome “promotion” to the position of archbishop of Ohrid, Bulgaria (now in Macedonia). Homesick, he will write obscure letters to distract his mind.
Columbus and his men celebrate the first mass in the Americas, on Isabelle Island, Haiti.
German Reformer Martin Luther wrote in an Epiphany sermon: 'Though Mary had been conceived in sin, the Holy Spirit takes her flesh and blood and purifies them; and thence He creates the body of the Son of God...Thus He assumed a genuine body from His mother Mary, but this body was cleansed from sin by the Holy Spirit.'
Death of Samuel Johnson, a New England clergyman, educator, and philosopher. In 1724 he had opened the first Anglican church built in Connecticut, after which he had served as a missionary for the Anglican Church, and played an important role in setting the standards and curriculum for King's College, New York, (later known as Columbia University).
Conversion of Charles Spurgeon who will become one of the most notable pastors of all time. He had entered a little Methodist church because of cold and snow where a deacon told him to look to Christ. "I can never tell you how it was but I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe and I did believe in one moment."
Death of Theophan the Recluse, a Russian Orthodox author, priest, and bishop. He had written several works, among them a translation of the Philokalia, a famous collection of the church fathers. Typical of his sayings was, "Attention to that which transpires in the heart and proceeds from it - this is the chief activity of the proper Christian life."
Janani Luwum converts to Christianity in Uganda. He immediately asks his family to pray that he won't backslide, but rather lead a godly life. Eventually he will become an archbishop and will be executed by the brutal dictator Idi Amin.
Death in California of Pentecostal evangelist Tommy Hicks, allegedly of alcoholism. Nineteen years earlier he had packed stadiums in Argentina, winning thousands to follow Christ.
Naimat Ahmer, a Christian educator and poet in Pakistan, is stabbed seventeen times in earshot of students by a Muslim who claims Ahmer has insulted Mohammad. Ahmer taught that Christ is the only way to salvation.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"