April 21: Today in Christian History

April 21: Today in Christian History

April 21, 847

Death of Otgar, archbishop of Mainz, an event made all the more memorable because Rabanus Maurus, a famous educator and scholar, will be unanimously elected as his successor.

April 21, 1109

Death of Anselm of Canterbury, English theologian, author of the ontological argument for the existence of God, and a father of medieval scholasticism.

April 21, 1142

Death at Cluny of theologian Pierre Abelard, whose “conceptualism” changed the development of philosophy. He will be remembered for seducing his student Heloise. Although often accused of heresy, he remained a popular teacher.

April 21, 1380

A stroke leaves Roman Catholic mystic Catherine of Siena paralyzed from the waist down.

April 21, 1555

Twelve Jesuit priests, sent by Ignatius of Loyola, arrive in Prague to help Canisius found a college in the heart of Hussite country. They face jeers and threats until the Archduke of Bohemia deploys guards and threatens severe penalties against any injury done them.

April 21, 1621

William Bradford is chosen governor of Plymouth Colony when his predecessor John Carver dies suddenly.

April 21, 1649

Maryland Toleration Act is passed by the Maryland assembly, allowing freedom of worship for all Christians. It has the strong support of Lord Baltimore, the Roman Catholic proprietor of Maryland.

April 21, 1649

Maryland issues an act defining and forbidding blasphemy and making it an offense to rail publicly against another person’s faith. It promises toleration to anyone who professes Christ.

April 21, 1847

Rev. Henry Lipowsky, a former lieutenant in the Austrian Army, opens the first Bohemian-American church in the United States, the St. John Nepomuk Church of St. Louis, Missouri.

April 21, 1855

Sunday school teacher Edward Kimball visits the Holton Shoe Store in Boston, Massachusetts, where Dwight L. Moody works, finds him in a stockroom, and speaks to him of the love of Christ. Shortly thereafter, Moody is converted and devotes his life to serving God, becoming a notable American evangelist.

April 21, 1869

Thomas Huxley first publicly uses the word “agnostic” at a meeting of the London Metaphysical Society to describe intellectuals who, like himself, are unable to come to certain conclusions on big issues such as the existence of God.

April 21, 1908

While rushing to assist a dying man in Labrador, missionary-doctor Wilfred Grenfell is trapped on an ice-pan (a small flat sheet of ice) and almost loses his life when it floats into the ocean.

April 21, 1947

On his twenty-seventh birthday, while laying bricks, John Ajayi Agbona hears a voice calling him to ministry with the Christ Apostolic Mission Church of Nigera. He obeys and will be instrumental in founding eighty churches in five nations as well as schools in Nigeria. His work will often be accompanied by miraculous healings.

April 21, 1991

Egypt grants the Coptic Orthodox Church of Mayiet Bara a permit to repair its toilet, publishing the edict in a semi-official newspaper. This outrages Christians and moderate Muslims because it highlights their long-standing complaint that even the simple repair of a lavatory in a Christian house of worship cannot proceed without the written consent of the Minister of the Interior.

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