Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Thursday, August 15

347
The proconsul of Africa proclaims unity of the African church under Gratus after years of conflict between the Catholic Church and the stricter Donatists. Donatus withdraws into exile.
1038
Death in Esztergom, Hungary, of St. Stephen, first king of Hungary. Baptized and reared a Christian, he had founded many monasteries and churches and sent Christian missionaries throughout his realm.
1534
Ignatius of Loyola founds "the company of Jesus," describing their organization as similar to that of fur traders but focused on God's will, not beaver skins. In 1540 it will gain the approval of the pope, who will name it the Society of Jesus. More often they will be known as "Jesuits."
1549
The first Christian missionaries to reach Japan landed at Kagoshima (on the coast of Kyushu, southernmost of the four main islands of Japan). They were a band of Spanish Jesuits, led by pioneer Catholic missionary Francis Xavier, 43.
1579
Repose (death) of the venerable Gerasimus, a much-traveled ascetic, priest, and abbot of the Orthodox church.
1613
Birth of Jeremy Taylor, Anglican clergyman and devotional writer. Two of his works became classic expressions of Anglican spirituality: "The Rule and Exercise of Holy Living" (1650) and "The Rule and Exercise of Holy Dying" (1651).
1790
Father John Carroll is ordained by Bishop Charles Walmesley in Dorset, England, as the first Roman Catholic bishop of the United States. Eighteen years later he will become the nation's first archbishop.
1853
Death, from inflammation of the brain, of Frederick W. Robertson, a prominent Anglican clergyman. His ministry had been mainly among the working classes but his writings were widely read and especially cherished by evangelicals. He had been ordained bishop of Winchester in 1840.
1964
A truck-load of rebel soldiers takes over the hospital compound at Nobobongo, Congo, which they will occupy for five months. Among the women held by them is medical missionary Dr. Helen Roseveare who will live to tell a tale of severe abuse and terror. (For example, she will be repeatedly raped and a local chief will be found "guilty" by a "people's court" and flayed alive and eaten.)
1988
Pope John Paul II addresses the role and importance of women in an apostolic letter, but reaffirms the male-only priesthood for certain church rituals such as the mass.

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