January 23: Today in Christian History

January 23: Today in Christian History

January 23, 1549

Death at Kronstadt, Transylvania (now Brasov, Romania), of Johannes Honter, a humanist scholar, theologian, and the reformer of Transylvania.

January 23, 1579

The Union of Utrecht joins several Dutch states against oppressive Spain.

January 23, 1589

The Moscow Patriarchate is created, making the Russian Church autocephalous, that is, subject to no higher bishop. However, there are some details regarding precedence and signatures that will not be ironed out for about four years. In practice, the Russian church had been independent for one hundred and forty years before the Orthodox Church of Constantinople formally recognizes the de facto situation.

January 23, 1656

Blaise Pascal publishes his first Provinical Letter, weighing in on the French controvery between Jansenists and Jesuits.

January 23, 1714

Lutheran missionary Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg engages in a dialogue about religion with Tamil-speaking Hindus at Tranquebar, India. A Hindu argues that since God made the world, he made its religions; therefore each is a path to God. Ziegenbalg responds that since the religions contradict each other, only one can be from God; the rest are from Satan.

January 23, 1789

Father John Carroll establishes Georgetown College which will become Georgetown University.

January 23, 1821

Lott Carey, a Baptist, sails with 28 colleagues from Norfolk, Virginia, to Sierra Leone to become the first African-American missionary to Africa.

January 23, 1848

Charles Perry arrives in Australia and will become the first Anglican bishop of Melbourne.

January 23, 1855

Death of Julius Hare, archdeacon of Lewes, one of Queen Victoria’s chaplains and the author of several influential theological and polemical works, including Vindication of Luther against his Recent English Assailants (1854).

January 23, 1893

Death in Boston, Massachusetts, of clergyman and educator Phillips Brooks, opponent of slavery and author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

January 23, 1908

In an early example of parachurch activity, representatives of a number of Protestant men’s movements meet in Chicago to federate in a loose coalition for mutual information and for co-operation. Among the participating organizations are the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, as well as Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Congregational brotherhoods.

January 23, 1945

Nazis execute Helmuth James von Moltke, having said “the only trouble with you is you are a Christian.”

January 23, 1950

Polish Communists take over the offices of Caritas, a Roman Catholic humanitarian agency, hoping to reduce the influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

January 23, 1984

Funeral of Spetume Florence Njangali, a priest in Uganda’s Anglican Church. A hard-working woman of great ability, she had struggled long to obtain priestly ordination for women.

January 23, 1999

Hindu extremists burn to death Australian missionary Graham Staine and his two sons in their jeep, forcing them back into the burning vehicle when they try to escape the flames.

January 23, 2006

A Turkish higher court declines to say whether charges should proceed against novelist Orhan Pamuk for “insulting Turkishness.” Pamuk had said, “Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it.” The Armenians were descendants of early Christians.

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