April 1: Today in Christian History

April 1: Today in Christian History

April 1, 409

An imperial edict outlaws amusements on Sundays within the Roman Empire, even if Sunday falls on New Year’s Day, the emperor’s birthday, or his anniversary. 

April 1, 774

The magistrates of Rome, carrying the banners of the city, greet Charlemagne three miles from Rome, sent forward by the pope to meet him.

April 1, 1229

Martyrdom of Abraham of Bulgaria. While living as an Islamic merchant, he converted to Christianity and is killed by Muslims for changing religions.

April 1, 1318

Pope John XXII issues the bull Redemptor noster, decreeing the establishment of an archbishopric at Sultaniyya, a capital city in Southern Azerbaijan. The decree places the territory of Hulakus Empire, as well as the Chagatai Khanate, India, and Ethiopia under the jurisdiction of the archbishopric of Sultaniyya and charges Dominican monks with governing the archbishopric.

April 1, 1375

Catherine of Siena, an Italian mystic and peacemaker, claims to have received the stigmata (body marks corresponding to Christ’s wounds on the cross), visible only to herself. She will be known for persuading Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome and for The Dialogue of Divine Providence, written (according to friends) while conversing with God in ecstatic states. In 1970, Pope Paul VI will declare her a doctor of the church.

April 1, 1743

David Brainerd arrives at Kaunaumeek, about 20 miles northwest of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he will serve as a missionary among the Housatonic Indians. He will start a school for Indian children and translate some psalms.

April 1, 1787

Richard Allen, an ex-slave and African-American preacher, organizes the Free African Society, a self-help and mutual aid organization.

April 1, 1820

Death at Kensington Gore (London) of Isaac Milner, a clergyman, mathematician, educator, and theological writer. His ardent evangelicalism had impelled him to make Queen’s College “a nursery of evangelical neophytes” when he was its president; his educational fervor had given the school good standing; and his love of fun had made him the life of every party.

April 1, 1860

Jonathan Goble, a Baptist missionary, arrives with his wife at Kanagawa, Japan. Eleven years later, Mrs. Goble becomes ill and Jonathan determines to provide her with “gentle, outdoor exercise.” Rather than have her carried by four men, he designs a two-wheeled cart with long shafts to pull her in. His plans are stolen and soon rickshaws are in use throughout the entire Far East, providing work for thousands of men.

April 1, 1868

Hampton Institute opens in Virginia to begin its task of training freed slaves “hand, head, and heart,” that is, with a vocation, academics, and faith.

April 1, 1872

Death in London of Christian Socialist F. D. Maurice who had a strong influence on his generation, including men like James Clerk Maxwell.

April 1, 1927

Death in São Paolo of Solomon Ginsberg, missionary to Brazil.

April 1, 1956

Death of William Reed Newell, author of the gospel hymn “At Calvary.” He will be buried in Florida.

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