April 12: Today in Christian History

April 12, 352

Death of Pope St. Julius. A staunch defender of Athanasius, he had given him asylum when he was forced into exile by the empire’s Arian faction.

April 12, 1204

A Frankish army attacks Constantinople from Venetian ships as part of the Fourth Crusade and will breach the walls the next day, after which the soldiers will rape and pillage for three days and desecrate the city’s great place of worship, the Hagia Sophia.

April 12, 1343

Pope Clement VI enumerates the many crimes of Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV and orders him to renounce the imperial dignity, which he ultimately does.

April 12, 1523

Reformation evangelist William Farel is forbidden to preach in Meaux, France. Subsequently, he will shift his endeavors to Switzerland.

April 12, 1525

Mass is said in Zurich for the last time during the Reformation as an act of the established church.

April 12, 1557

Protestant converts Thomas Loseby, Henry Ramsey, Thomas Thirtel, Margaret Hide, and Agnes Stanley are burned together in a single fire during the reign of Mary Tudor.

April 12, 1626

Deeply moved by the preaching of Jesuit priest Antonio de Andrade, the King of Tibet personally lays the cornerstone of the first Christian church in Tibet. However, the work soon will end because alarmed Buddhist monks will overthrow the king and shut down the mission.

April 12, 1704

Death of Jacques-Beniqne Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, orator, philosopher, and historian. A master of style and argument, he supported the divine right of kings, defended the freedom of the French church and monarchy against popes, upheld Catholic doctrines against Protestants, and obtained the church’s condemnation of some writings of the Quietist bishop Fran├žois Fenelon.

April 12, 1709

The first issue of the Tatler, England’s first magazine, goes on sale. It will demonstrate the power of the press to reform manners and morals. Joseph Addison, a Christian, will write many of its numbers.

April 12, 1730

Death of Acacius the Younger of Mt. Athos. An extreme ascetic and prayer warrior, given to night-long vigils, he was regarded as a saint in the Orthodox Church.

April 12, 1797

Thomas Cadell publishes William Wilberforce’s A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. The book becomes influential in changing the character of British society.

April 12, 1846

Baptism of Huang Guagcai, an orphan who will become the first Chinese deacon in the Protestant Episcopal Church in China and later will be ordained its first clergyman.

April 12, 1850

Death of Adoniram Judson, Baptist missionary pioneer to Burma. He had translated the Bible into Burmese. At his death, he is on a voyage undertaken in an attempt to regain his health and overcome depression which makes him doubt his salvation. He and his wife, Ann, had been household names in America.

April 12, 1860

Presbyterian missionary Ashbel Green Simenton organizes his first Sunday school in Brazil.

April 12, 1917

Patriarch Tikhon raises Vladimir Nikolsky to the rank of archbishop of Perm where he takes the name Andronicus. The following year Andronicus will be shot and buried alive (one account will say drowned) by Soviets irate that he stands for the old regime against their atheism and resists their looting of Russian Orthodox churches.

April 12, 1972

Twentieth anniversary of Watchman Nee’s imprisonment, five years more than his maximum sentence. Within weeks the evangelical pastor will be dead.

April 12, 1978

Arrest of 200 Makarere Church people in Uganda under Idi Amin’s cruel regime.

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