Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, April 7

1321
Muslims near Bombay challenge Franciscan Thomas of Tolentino to say what he thinks of Muhammad. When he responds that "Muhammad is the son of perdition and has his place in hell with the devil his father..." they kill him and his companions, who will become known as the Four Martyrs of Tana. Jordanus of Severac survives to bury them and to conduct mission work in India for about ten years.
1541
On his thirty-fifth birthday, Jesuit priest Francis Xavier preaches in Portugal while his ship prepares to sail for India. Word is brought him of a youth mortally wounded in a duel. Xavier hurries to the young man's side and pleads with him to forgive his opponent. The dying duelist is unwilling. "Will you pardon him if God grants you life?" asks the priest. "Yes," whispers the dying youth. "Then you will recover," says Xavier, and the young man does.
1628
Arrival in what is now New York of Dominie Jonas Michaelius, the first Dutch Reform pastor in the New Nederlands.
1845
Death in Calcutta from cholera of Mahendra Lal Basak, a promising minister and educator who had given up caste, family, and friends to follow Christ.
1884
Birth of C. H. Dodd, English clergyman and Bible scholar. Dodd became the most influential British New Testament scholar of the mid-20th century, and penned over a dozen books, including "The Parables of the Kingdom" (1934).
1924
Death in California of John Norton Loughborough, a leader in the early Seventh-day Adventist movement, and its first historian.
1933
"German Christians" apply the Nazis' Aryan clause to the church, effectively barring Jews (and individuals of Jewish descent) from holding church offices.
1938
Japanese soldiers shoot Herman Liu in front of his home where he is waiting for a bus with his son. Liu, educated in the West, had become the first Chinese president of the Baptist University of Shanghai. After Japanese occupation, he had resisted them and helped war refugees. Urged by friends to flee he had replied, “I will not desert.”
1947
Repose (death) of Savvas the New, patron saint of the Greek island Kalymnos. An ascetic, he had been priest and spiritual father of the nuns of the Convent of All Saints but was also known for painting icons.
1953
Swedish statesman Dag Hammarskjld, 47, was elected Secretary General of the United Nations. Hammarskjld endeared himself to Christians, after his death in 1961, through the 1964 publication of his spiritual journal, "Markings."

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