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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, April 1

1229
Martyrdom of Abraham of Bulgaria. While living as an Islamic merchant, he converted to Christianity and is killed by Muslims for changing religions.
1375
Catherine of Siena, an Italian mystic and peacemaker, claims to have received the stigmata (body marks corresponding to Christ's wounds on the cross), visible only to herself. She will be known for persuading Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome and for The Dialogue of Divine Providence, written (according to friends) while conversing with God in ecstatic states. In 1970, Pope Paul VI will declare her a doctor of the church.
1693
Colonial clergyman Cotton Mather's first-born son died at the age of four days. Mather suspected witchcraft as the cause, and had previously published "Wonders of the Invisible World," affirming his belief in spectral phenomena.
1743
David Brainerd arrives at Kaunaumeek, about 20 miles northwest of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he will serve as a missionary among the Housatonic Indians. He will start a school for Indian children and translate some Psalms.
1787
Richard Allen, an ex-slave and African-American preacher, organizes the Free African Society, a self-help and mutual aid organization.
1868
Hampton Institute opens in Virginia to begin its task of training freed slaves "hand, head, and heart," that is, with a vocation, academics, and faith.
1872
Death in London of Christian Socialist F. D. Maurice who had a strong influence on his generation, including men like James Clerk Maxwell.
1925
On Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem, British statesman Lord (Arthur James) Balfour dedicated Hebrew University.
1932
German scholar Gerhard Kittel published the first partial volume of "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament." With WWII and Kittel's death in 1948 intervening, this monumental 10-volume work was not completed until the late 1960s.
1956
Death of William Reed Newell, author of the gospel hymn "At Calvary." He will be buried in Flordida.

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