March 12: Today in Christian History

March 12, 417

Death of Pope Innocent I, who acted in international affairs, such as excommunicating Pelagius, defending Jerome, and negotiating with barbarians.

March 12, 604

Death of Pope Gregory the Great, known for his Dialogues, his teachings, his revision of the worship service, and promulgation of Gregorian chant, as well as the evangelization of England.

March 12, 1022

Death at Paloukiton (across the Bosphorus from Constantinople) of Symeon the New Theologian, of dysentery, after thirteen years of exile. He had emphasized the importance of experiencing directly the grace of God and described his own mystical experience with “Divine Light.” Although contemporary church authorities had condemned his teachings, later generations in the Eastern Orthodox Church will declare him a saint and honor him with the rare title “theologian.”

March 12, 1622

Gregory XV issues the bull “Decet Romanum Pontificem” which regulates the ceremonial for papal elections and introduces the secret vote. It is the second bull the pope has issued to bring order to—and break deadlocks in—papal elections. The same title had also been used for a bull excommunicating Luther.

March 12, 1672

Death of evangelical hymnwriter Ludaemilia Elisabeth Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Countess of Schwarzburg, from measles. The best known of her two hundred hymns was “Jesus, Jesus, Only Jesus.”

March 12, 1734

Protestant refugees from the Catholic city of Salzburg land in Georgia where five days later they will found the town of Ebenezer.

March 12, 1908

J. Wilbur Chapman and Charles Alexander attempt city-wide evangelization of Philadelphia, dividing the city into forty-two districts, sending an evangelist-musician team to each. The result is about 8,000 conversions.

March 12, 1925

Death in Beijing of Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen, who had made some claim to be a Christian and who will be given a private Christian funeral.

March 12, 1947

Death in Yorkshire of British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, a notable Pentecostal speaker and faith healer.

March 12, 1950

Pope Pius XII issues an encyclical “for combating atheistic propaganda throughout the world.”

March 12, 2000

Pope John Paul II asks God’s forgiveness for the sins of Roman Catholics through the ages, including wrongs inflicted on Jews, women, and minorities.

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