March 23: Today in Christian History



March 23, 452

Theodosius, who holds monophysite views, installs himself as Patriarch of Jerusalem this Easter Sunday, having ousted Juvenal, the orthodox bishop.

March 23, 1198

Last day for Waldenses and other “heretics” to leave the dominions of Pedro II, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona. Following this date, every “heretic” is liable to burn at the stake and have his/her property confiscated.

March 23, 1324

Pope John XXII excommunicates Louis IV of Bavaria, Holy Roman Emperor, for exercising imperial rights when the pope had ordered him not to.

March 23, 1415

Jean Charlier Gerson, speaking at the Council of Constance, asserts that a pope may be forced to abdicate and that general councils are above popes.

March 23, 1532

Zurich leaders execute two Anabaptists by drowning, Heinrich Karpfis and Hans Herzog. These are the last of six such executions at Zurich.

March 23, 1542

Sebastian Castellio is appointed rector of the College of Geneva. He will run afoul of Calvin over personal disagreements and a dispute over the interpretation of the Song of Solomon. Expelled from Geneva, Castellio will suffer eight years of poverty before he is hired to teach at Basel. Calvin will also reject Castellio’s arguments for freedom of conscience advanced in Concerning Heretics.

March 23, 1593

After languishing in English prison seven years, John Greenwood and Henry Barrowe are brought to trial, charged with “publishing and dispensing seditious books.” While in prison they had written against Queen Elizabeth’s ecclesiastical supremacy. They will be hanged in April.

March 23, 1754

Death in Amsterdam of Johann Jakob Wettstein, a notable theologian and Bible scholar, accused of heterodox views by Reformed scholars but accepted by Remonstrants (Arminians).

March 23, 1869

The Methodist Episcopal Woman’s Board in Boston organizes the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society.

March 23, 1873

Delegates of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church elect Joseph A. Beebe, of North Carolina, and L. H. Holsey, of Georgia, to be bishops.

March 23, 1929

Jonas Ahui (by his claim) is ordained the successor of West African prophet William Wadé Harris, who gives him a Bible and sacred objects. Ahui will gather a large number of Harris followers into l’Eglise Harriste which will still be strong and active in the twenty-first century.

March 23, 1943

In a letter that he hand-delivers to the German occupiers of Greece, Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens denounces the deportation of Jews to concentration camps, quoting the Scripture that teaches that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek.” When Nazis threaten to shoot him, he will reply sarcastically (alluding to an incident in which a Turkish mob lynched a former Patriarch), “According to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hanged, not shot. Please respect our traditions!”

March 23, 1966

Arthur Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Pope Paul VI meet and exchange greetings in Rome, the first official meeting between heads of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in more than four hundred years.

March 23, 1984

Popular Nigerian Gospel Music Minister, Pastor Victoria Orenze was born on this day in Christian History



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