Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, March 31

1376
Gregory XI issues an interdict against the city of Florence, which had joined a league to abolish the pope's secular power. This interdict gives anyone the right to plunder the city and to make slaves of its people wherever they might be found.
1492
Queen Isabella, having compelled Muslims to convert to Christianity or leave Spain, now signs a similar decree relating to her Jewish subjects, ordering them to convert to Christianity or face expulsion. It will not actually be issued for another month and will allow three months for compliance.
1515
Needing money to rebuild St. Peter's basilica, Pope Leo X announces a sale of indulgences to run for eight years beginning this day. Albert of Brandenberg, deeply in debt after purchasing his position as archbishop, is allowed to keep half the proceeds, but will not profit as greatly as he hopes because the indulgence will anger the friar Martin Luther, who will post his Ninety-Five Theses in response. The Reformation will result.
1748
Isaac Backus is called to be pastor to Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He will become a notable Baptist evangelist and an advocate of religious freedom.
1783
On Easter Sunday, Fra Junipero Serra founds San Buenaventura, the ninth Spanish mission in California.
1816
Death near Fredericksburg of Francis Asbury, one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. He had preached his last sermon in Richmond, Virginia, just a week earlier.
1836
Death of Anglican bishop Henry Ryder, the first of the 19th-century evangelicals to become a bishop of the Church of England.
1879
Death of Russian Orthodox archbishop John Veniaminov (St. Innocent of Alaska), a missionary evangelist to Alaska and archbishop of the far western territories of Russia. He had also served as Metropolitan of Moscow.
1950
American missionary and martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: 'How the Savior suffered in the sinner's place! What tormented him in time menaces the sinner for eternity.'
1976
American Presbyterian apologist Francis Schaeffer wrote in a letter: 'You must not lose confidence in God because you lost confidence in your pastor. If our confidence in God had to depend upon our confidence in any human person, we would be on shifting sand.'

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