Today in Christian History
Death in prison of Dionysius, the Orthodox archbishop of Suzdal. He had founded a monastery, encouraged his people in their struggle against the Tatars, and spoken out against heretical leaders. One of those who felt the sting of his preaching, Vladimir Olgerdovich, prince of Kiev, arrested and imprisoned him.
Lutheran scholar Stephen Gerlach delivers a letter in behalf of Lutheran leaders to Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II to feel out the possibility of a Lutheran-Orthodox union. The overtures eventually fail because differences are too great.
The Larger Westminster Catechism is completed.
Birth of Thomas Hastings, American sacred composer. Hastings was an albino afflicted with extreme nearsightedness, yet from his pen came such enduring hymn tunes as TOPLADY ("Rock of Ages") and ORTONVILLE ("Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned").
In Melville, Missouri, the Evangelical Synod of North America was founded. It later became one of the branches of today's United Church of Christ.
Isaac Hecker makes his vows. He will form the Paulists, a group determined to win Americans to the Roman Catholic church.
Rainisoalambo, a diviner on Madagascar, throws away all his amulets and apparatus of divination. The night before, wretched with ulcers, he had called out to the God of Norwegian missionaries and sensed he must get rid of his sorcerous props. Doing so today, he immediately feels a weight lift off him. He knows that he has become a new man and begins reading the Bible. As he assimilates the message of the New Tesament, he will begin soul-winning. A group calling themselves "Disciples of the Lord" will form around him and become an evangelistic force on the island.
Pentecostal evangelist Charles Fox Parham opened Bethel Bible Institute in Topeka, Kansas. It was here on January 1, 1901 that the first Christian in modern times was reported to have spoken in tongues: student Agnes Ozman.
Death in Tokyo of Joseph Schereschewsky, who, while studying as a rabbinic student in Germany, had converted to Christianity, eventually becoming an Episcopalian. He served as a missionary to China and was bishop of Shanghai where he translated the Bible and other Christian works into the Wenli language, continuing work even after he became almost totally paralyzed.
American missionary martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: '"They shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isa. 40:31). These wings are not so typical of purity as they are of power -- strength to live above snares and everything ese...Thanks for wings, Lord.'
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"