March 26: Today in Christian History

March 26, 668

Pope Vitalian ordains Theodore of Tarsus as Archbishop of Canterbury. Well-educated and diplomatic, Theodore will establish a school, defuse animosity between Christians of the Celtic and Roman traditions, and set diocesean boundaries throughout England.

March 26, 752

Election of Pope Stephen III after the sudden death of Stephen II. He will become the first papal monarch when Pepin (King of the Franks) places Ravenna under his control.

March 26, 809

Death of Ludger, a missionary to the Frisians and founder of Munster. He had been notable for his gentleness, but was also courageous—as evidenced by his refusing to respond to messengers from Charlemagne until he completed his devotions, defending his action to the king by saying, “God is to be preferred to you O King and to all men.”

March 26, 1624

The town council of Gorlitz summons Jacob Boehme to give an account of some of his writings that are considered heretical.

March 26, 1663

An ordinance published in Paris allows Francois Laval to form a seminary in Canada that he has long sought. After his death it will become Laval University and train missionaries for Africa and other countries where French is spoken.

March 26, 1665

A bullet is fired into the house where Richard Baxter is preaching, but it whizzes past him, narrowly missing the head of a sister-in-law.

March 26, 1831

Death of Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first African-American bishop in America.

March 26, 1843

Death in Indiana of Robert Richford Roberts who for forty years had served as a Methodist frontier circuit rider and bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, working primarily in Indiana.

March 26, 1861

Birth of Uchimura Kanzo in Edo, Japan. He will convert to Christianity, become an evangelist and pacifist, found the “non-church” movement, and write the book How I Became a Christian.

March 26, 1862

Joseph Henry Gilmore writes the hymn “He Leadeth Me” inspired by a midweek exposition he had given on the 23rd Psalm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

March 26, 1921

The Orthodox priest Gregory Matveyevich Vysotsky is sentenced to death, accused of having contacts with foreigners for “counter-revolutionary purposes.”

March 26, 1986

Joan Andrews is arrested for unsuccessfully attempting to disconnect the electric cord of a suction machine in an abortuary in Pensacola, Florida. Because she will not promise to cease antiabortion activities, and will refuse to cooperate with what she considers an unjust court system, she will be sentenced to five years of imprisonment—double the maximum recommended by sentencing guidelines.

March 26, 1998

Joan Andrews is unexpectedly released early from a prison in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where she had been serving a sentence for anti-abortion activities. (This is not the same imprisonment as the 1986 entry on this page.) Up to this point, Joan had been arrested two hundred times for anti-abortion activities and for refusing to comply with rules of probation. She refused to comply because doing so would make it appear she agreed that she had done something wrong.

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