April 15: Today in Christian History

April 15, 297

The seven martyrs of Samos are incarcerated for refusing to offer pagan sacrifices and will remain imprisoned until late in June when they will be brought before the Emperor Maximian, reduced to little more than skeletons. Finally they will be crucified.

April 15, 428

[probable date] Nestorius observes his first Easter as patriarch of Constantinople. His Christology will soon get him in trouble with Empress Pulcheria.

April 15, 1237

Death of Richard Poore, bishop of Salisbury. He had been an opponent of pluralities (holding more than one church office at a time), and deeply concerned with the care and teaching of children, developing a system under which some children were taught to teach others basic doctrine and prayer. He had his clergy remind families every Sunday that small children should not be left unattended in a house where there was fire or water to endanger them. At Salisbury, he endowed some schoolmasters with benefices to teach boys. He is most often remembered, however, for his role in erecting Salisbury Cathedral.

April 15, 1531

Deadline given the Protestants by Emperor Charles V to accept his religious terms, eliciting Melanchthon’s Apology in response and causing the Lutherans to organize a defense league.

April 15, 1552

King Edward VI of England grants royal assent to a new version of The Book of Common Prayer, the second of his reign.

April 15, 1597

John Gerard, Jesuit, is tortured in the Tower of London for refusing to betray fellow Catholics. He later escapes.

April 15, 1610

Death in Rome of Robert Parsons, formerly a leader of the English Jesuits and author of the spiritual treatise The Christian Directory.

April 15, 1632

Burial of George Calvert at St. Dunstan’s Church, England. He obtained the charter for the colony of Maryland, intending to make it a home for Roman Catholic refugees from England.

April 15, 1767

Death of Elder Basil of Poiana Marului. He renovated the Skete there (a skete is a settlement of Eastern Orthodox monks dependent on a parent monastery) and gained renown for his austerities, focus on Scripture, and insistence on true repentance.

April 15, 1777

Death in Surinam of pioneering Moravian missionary Rudolf Stoll, aka “the Holy Rudolf.”

April 15, 1791

Death in London of John Marrant, an African-American Methodist minister and missionary who had written three books about his experiences as a preacher with the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion.

April 15, 1817

In Hartford, Connecticut, American clergyman Thomas H. Gallaudet and deaf Frenchman Laurent Clerc open the first American school for the deaf —the American Asylum.

April 15, 1872

Canadians hold a day of thanksgiving in gratitude for the recovery of Prince Edward (future King Edward VII) from a serious illness.

April 15, 1879

Friedrich Kiel’s oratorio Christus is given by the Oratorio Society, New York City. Keil wrote in a Romantic style.

April 15, 1889

Death of Joseph Damien, a Belgian missionary to lepers on Molokai, Hawaii. This Roman Catholic priest, who had transformed living conditions for the victims of leprosy, dies with the disease.

April 15, 1919

Japanese soldiers lure twenty-five Christians into church in the village of Cheamri, Korea, where they shoot at them and burn the church over their heads. 

April 15, 1940

Death at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England, of Alda Marguerite Milner-Barry, author of the hymn “Sing the Joy of Easter Day.” She had lectured on English in British colleges and universities.

April 15, 1950

Thirty-six leading members of religious orders in Hungary send a protest letter to the Hungarian government for abuses done to their orders by the government.

April 15, 1957

Baba Ezra Dikki is posted to Majinga among the Kambari people of Niger State, Nigeria. He worked among this group for twenty-four years, extending the Christian church. A student commented that Dikki’s heart was always broken by the things that break the heart of Jesus.

April 15, 1958

Baptism at Wheaton College of Dayuma, the Waodani (Auca) woman whose conversion helped win her tribe to Christ.

April 15, 1970

Death of Wang Liming in a communist labor camp in China, where she had been imprisoned on spurious evidence. When taken from her family she had declared, “I am carrying the cross of Jesus Christ.” Wang had been head of the Chinese branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and active in much Christian work and in women’s causes.

April 15, 1983

Death of Corrie ten Boom on her ninety-first birthday (born this day in 1892). She had spent time in a concentration camp for sheltering Jews from Nazis and became an international speaker after World War II.

April 15, 2011

Lao People’s Army members, assisted by Vietnamese troops, rape and kill four Christian women of the Hmong tribe, forcing their families to watch. When large numbers of Christians march in peaceful protest a few days later because of this atrocity, dozens will be killed, hundreds wounded, and many arrested.

April 15, 2019

The centuries-old Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris burns for hours and the main structure is severely damaged.

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