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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, April 4

397
Death of Ambrose of Milan, a bishop of many talents. He will later be considered one of the four Latin fathers. He had been one of the "tools" God used to lead Augustine of Hippo to Christ.
814
Death in Constantinople of Platon, an uncle of Theodore the Studite. The funeral oration Theodore composes for his uncle will become one of the most important sources for the history of Theodore's family. (Theodore will be famous as a champion for the restoration of icons.)
1081
Emperor Alexius Comnenus is crowned emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine). He will do much to restore its strength and his appeal to the West for military assistance will be a major factor in instituting the crusades.
1523
Leonard Kopp helps twelve nuns escape from their cloister at Nimschen in Saxony, hidden in his fish barrels. One of them, Katherina von Bora, will wed Martin Luther.
1541
Spanish ecclesiastic reformer and mystic Ignatius Loyola, 50, was elected the first General of the Jesuit Order, which he had helped establish the previous year.
1634
Death in Amsterdam of Episcopius, leading Arminian theologian.
1660
King Charles II of England, still in exile, issues the Breda Declaration, making promises that he will violate soon after his return to England, among them "We do declare a liberty to tender consciences; and that no man shall be disquieted, or called in question, for differences of opinion in matters of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom." He will be a great persecutor of Presbyterians and of Independents such as John Bunyan.
1840
Death of John Campbell, a Scottish businessman, missionary, preacher, and philanthropist. He had founded a tract society, numerous Sunday schools, societies for disgraced women, and a Bible society. At the request of the London Missionary Society he had even inspected mission work in South Africa. Among his charitable activities he brought Africans to Britain for training and advocated the abolition of the slave trade.
1889
Death from pneumonia of Asa Mahan, an American holiness leader and the first president of Oberlin College and of Adrian College. One of the last things he said to his wife Mary was, "Let us praise God, my dear, for all his goodness today before you go."
1968
Assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, of Baptist minister the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a vocal advocate of civil rights.

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