April 25: Today in Christian History

April 25, 62

Death of Mark the Gospel writer while imprisoned in Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero, according to Vetus martyrologium romanum (an old Roman collation of martyr accounts).

April 25, 799

Pope Leo III is attacked, his eyes stabbed, and his tongue torn. He recovers and later crowns Charlemagne as emperor.

April 25, 974

Death of Ratherius of Verona, a learned but abrasive man who had been deposed from one church position after another, often by his underlings, because of his controversial positions and inability to handle people.

April 25, 1449

The ineffectual Council of Basel ends. 

April 25, 1479

Death of Sylvester of Obnorsk, a Russian Orthodox hermit who had lived off roots and bark. Eventually he had established a monastery.

April 25, 1564

John Calvin, reformer of Geneva, dictates his last will and testament to notary Peter Chenalat.

April 25, 1595

Death from a fever in the convent of St. Onofrio of Italian poet Torquato Tasso. Ironically, he was supposed to receive a laurel from the pope on this day in recognition of his epic poems, among which Jerusalem Delivered had been the most acclaimed.

April 25, 1735

Death at Epworth, England, of Samuel Wesley, curate, author, and father of Methodist revival leaders John and Charles Wesley.

April 25, 1800

Death at East Dereham, Norfolk, England, of English poet William Cowper. Despite lifelong depression, he had produced enduring hymns, including, “Oh For a Closer Walk with God” and “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” Dementia had led him to believe he was damned.

April 25, 1858

Consecration of Jean-Pierre Augustin Marcellin Verot as the first Roman Catholic bishop of Florida. He will become known as “the rebel bishop” for his support of the South during the American Civil War.

April 25, 1879

Consecration of J. B. Lightfoot as Bishop of Durham. A renowned English New Testament scholar, he had left Cambridge and a life of scholarship to devote the remaining ten years of his life to church administration.

April 25, 1889

Death at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, of Anzentia Igene Perry Chapman. A member of the Free Methodist Church, she wrote a number of hymns, including, “Thou Shalt Rest at Eve,” and “We’ll Never Say Goodbye.”

April 25, 1912

Death in Ghana of Christian Abraham Ackah, at the age of about twenty-eight. He had been a major player in establishing Seventh Day Adventist work in Ghana, opening schools and churches.

April 25, 1917

Ordination of Paul Sasaki as a priest in the Anglican Church in Japan. He will become bishop of Nippon Sei Ko Kei (an independent church organization within the Anglican Communion), and suffer imprisonment for his refusal to bring Nippon Sei Ko Kei under the authority of a government-ordered church coalition.

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