Today in Christian History
Christian tradition says the Jesus Christ, crucified three days earlier, was raised from the dead -- marking this date as the very first Easter. (The next time Easter falls on April 23rd will be in the year 2079.)
Martyrdom of Adalbert of Prague, Missionary to Prussia, at the hands of a heathen priest. As bishop of Prague, he had sought to extinguish heathen customs and institute moral reforms and, when repulsed, devoted himself to mission work in Germany and Poland. It was he who baptized Stephen of Hungary.
Birth of Martin Rinkart, German clergyman and Latin scholar. Rinkart, a prolific writer, penned the German hymn which begins: "Nun danket alle Gott..." ("Now Thank We All Our God").
Death of Maurice de Nassau, Prince of Orange, who had successfully driven the Spanish from the Netherlands, improving the training and care of armies in the process. He had favored strict Calvinists over Arminians and a centralized state over states' rights, executing his chief rival Johan van Oldenbarnevelt.
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: '"What Thou wilt, when Thou wilt, how Thou wilt." I had rather speak these three sentences from my heart in my mother tongue than be master of all the languages in Europe.'
What is believed to have been the first Catholic newspaper in America, "The Courier de Boston" published its first issue. (The periodical lasted only until October 15th of this same year.)
Fyodor Dostoevsky is arrested, accused of plotting to overthrow the Russian government. After a staged appearance before a firing squad with a last minute reprieve, he will be sent to Siberia where he will take comfort in the Bible. Dostoevsky will include Christian themes in his writing but will suffer all of his life from an inability to control gambling and other impulses.
Death of Japanese Christian Socialist Toyohiko Kagawa.
In Dallas, the ten-million-member Methodist and the seven hundred and fifty thousand-member Evangelical United Brethren churches join together to form the United Methodist Church, which thus becomes at that time the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States (after the Southern Baptists).
Death in North Carolina of Cameron Townsend while battling acute leukemia. He had been a missionary linguist and founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, one of the world's largest mission agencies.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"