March 25: Today in Christian History

March 25, 304

Agape, Chioma, and Irene, three sisters, are seized at Thessalonica during Diocletian’s persecution. The three will be burned—Irene after shameful exposure.

March 25, 717

Leo III is crowned emperor in the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople. He will bring much-needed reforms, beat back the Saracens, and restore Byzantium as a power able to stand seven hundred years longer. He will also support the iconoclast movement.

March 25, 815

In defiance of Emperor Leo, who rejects the use of icons, Theodore the Studite has his monks march on Palm Sunday through their monastery vineyard in Constantinople, holding up icons so that they can be seen over the walls, eliciting a rebuke from the emperor.

March 25, 1409

The Council of Pisa meets to depose rival popes and elect a third, who will call himself Alexander V. Since neither of the other two will accept the council’s authority, there will now be three popes instead of two.

March 25, 1420

Jan Ziska defeats the soldiers of Sigismund at the Battle of Sudomer, the second major battle of the Hussite wars.

March 25, 1586

Martyrdom of Margaret Clitherow (a Roman Catholic) at York, England, by crushing beneath a heavy oak door. She had hidden Catholic priests but refused to enter a plea so that her children would not be forced to testify under torture at a trial. As her ribs crack she cries, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Have mercy on me.” Her body will be left under the weights for six hours then stuffed secretly in a rubbish heap.

March 25, 1632

Antoine Daniel sails for New France where he will become one of eight Jesuits martyred.

March 25, 1643

John Eudes establishes the Society of Jesus and Mary for the education of priests and for missionary work.

March 25, 1783

Five Anglican clergymen gather secretly at Woodbury, Connecticut, and choose Samuel Seabury as their prospective bishop. He will have to sail to Britain to obtain ordination.

March 25, 1821

Metropolitan Germanos of Patra blesses the fighters at Agia Lavra and hoists the flag of the Greek War of Independence from Turkish rule in St. George’s Square at Patrai. His charisma encouraged the Greek fighters.

March 25, 1874

Bishop Joseph A. Beebe writes a letter to the Index concerning the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in North Carolina: “Time has shown that we are not a political Church. Our aim is the glory of God and the salvation of the souls of men. The peaceable manner of our Church has won for us the confidence of the majority of the most intelligent people of our State.”

March 25, 1883

Sister Elizabeth Fedde sails from Norway to New York where she will establish a deaconness ministry.

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