January 1: Today in Christian History

January 1: Today in Christian History

January 1, 404

Last known gladiator fight in Rome. Sometime earlier, Telemachus, a monk from the eastern Roman empire, had been killed by spectators in the Roman Coliseum for attempting to separate gladiatorial combatants. According to church historian Theodoret, when Emperor Honorius learned of this, he declared Telemachus a martyr and abolished the games.

January 1, 1519

The Swiss Reformation begins when Huldrych Zwingli assumes his duties as priest of Zurich and begins preaching through the Bible.

January 1, 1585

Giovanni Gabrieli becomes the leading organist of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice. His innovations, such as grouping musicians in separate areas, and marking dynamic changes, will foster a revolution in music.

January 1, 1622

The Gregorian Calendar, so called because it was promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII, makes January 1st the first day of the year in Catholic countries. Under the Roman calendar, March 25th had been the first day of the year.

January 1, 1802

In reply to the Danbury Baptist Accociation (of Connecticut), which is concerned that Baptists could be forced to belong to an established church, Jefferson declares there is “a wall of separation between Church and State,” a phrase which will later be wrested out of context to deny public expression of religious belief on governmental property.

January 1, 1824

Over breakfast, David Naismith organizes The Glasgow Young Men’s Society for Religious Improvement. One object spelled out in its constitution is “to establish and promote throughout the city and suburbs associations of Young Men for Mutual Religious Improvement.”

January 1, 1871

An act to disestablish the Church of Ireland goes into effect, meaning it will no longer be the government-run church of that country.

January 1, 1927

Kawai Shinsui publicly announces that he is establishing the Christ Heart Church, a Japanese denomination independent of the west.

January 1, 1937

Death of J. Gresham Machen, a gifted Presbyterian scholar and defender of the Christian faith in the United States. Concerned with a rising tide of liberalism among Presbyterians, he had helped found the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

January 1, 1945

Death of Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah, first native-born Anglican bishop of India. He had relinquished leadership in two mission agencies to work in Dornakal, one of the poorest regions of India. Upon his arrival in Dornakal, Christians had numbered 8,000 with six Indian ministers and one hundred and seventy-two lay-workers. By his death the diocese had one hundred and fifty ministers and about three hundred thousand converts despite the opposition of Mahatma Gandhi.

January 1, 1976

Reverend Abiodun Fatoyinbo was born on 1st January, 1976 in Kwara State, Nigeria. He is the lead Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA). You can read Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo's full biography here.

January 1, 1977

At the Episcopal Church of All Saints in Indianapolis, Jacqueline Means becomes the first woman ordained to serve as a priest in the Episcopal Church (USA).

January 1, 1979

Beginning of the Third General Council of the Latin American Episcopate, held in Puebla, Mexico. It will emphasize popular piety and place special emphasis on the poor.

January 1, 2011

Muslims in Alexandria, Egypt, bomb the crowded Two Saints Coptic Church, killing more than twenty Christian and wounding scores of others.

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