Today in Christian History
Augustine of Hippo, 32, was baptized on this Eve of Easter. He told the story of his Christian conversion from a profligate life in his "Confessions," written between 397-401.
Election and consecration of Pope Nicholas I. He will demonstrate integrity, iron will, faith, and masterful defenses of marriage and the papacy, becoming one of the strongest medieval popes. He will support missions, exercise authority over remote churches and communicate Christian doctrine to Bulgaria. King Lothair II of Lotharingia (a portion of Charlemagne's former empire) will advance against Nicholas with an army and pin him in St. Peters for two days without food after the pope demands he return to his lawful wife.
Birth of St. Vincent de Paul, French Catholic priest. He founded several religious orders during his lifetime, including the Lazarists (or Vincentians) in 1625.
Pope Sixtus V is elected. He administers stern justice, clearing the countryside of brigands that have flourished under his predecessors. He also founds the Vatican library and various colleges.
Death in Paris of James Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow. A Roman Catholic, he had left Scotland during the Reformation but was employed as ambassador to France by the Scottish monarchs. The Scottish parliament, although Protestant, held him in such high esteem that before his death they restored all his honors and dignities.
Jean de Brebeuf sails for New France, where he will be one of the longest lasting Jesuit priests before his martyrdom in his early fifties.
Death in Mosul of Asahel Grant, pioneer missionary to Persia.
Death of Eliza P. Hewitt, 69, American Presbyterian S.S. teacher and hymnwriter. Many of her verses are still sung today, including "More About Jesus," Sing the Wondrous Love of Jesus" and "Sunshine in My Soul."
In deciding the legal case "United States v. Ballard," the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the general principle that "the truth of religious claims is not for secular authority to determine."
Courageous Chinese Christians, stripped of their churches, meet in the Zhongguancun public square in Beijing to hold Easter worship services. Hundreds are detained and their worship leaders and pastors are jailed.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"