April 6: Today in Christian History

April 6, 885

Death of Methodius, who with his brother Cyril had evangelized the Balkans.

April 6, 1203

Death in Denmark of church reformer and abbot William of Eskhill.

April 6, 1528

Death in Nürnberg of Albrecht Durer, German painter, engraver, and designer of woodcuts, famous for his religious scenes, including the popular “Praying Hands” (a study for the hands of an apostle). He was deeply influenced by Martin Luther.

April 6, 1579

The Stroganoffs send gifts to five audacious Cossack brigands—Iermak Timofeif, John Koltzo, James Mikhailoff, Necetas Pan, and Matthew Meschteriak—inviting them to become warriors of the White Czar. These Cossack leaders and their followers became the staunch defenders of Christian Muscovy.

April 6, 1593

Hanging in London of John Greenwood and Henry Barrow, non-conformists who denied that the Church of England had biblical authority.

April 6, 1743

Death at Lincoln Inn, London, of lawyer William Melmoth. He had authored the popular tract The Great Importance of a Religious Life Consider’d (1711), in which he argued that we should live lives of faith because belief offers us the greatest prospect of happiness.

April 6, 1779

Ordination by a Congregational Council, of Henry Alline at Falmouth, Nova Scotia. He becomes a successful leader in the Canadian and New England “New Light” revival.

April 6, 1827

Death in Plymouth, England, of Robert Hawker, a noted preacher, writer, and compiler of a popular hymn books for children. His most famous hymn was the doxology “Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing.”

April 6, 1828

Death in Hancock, Vermont, of Jeremiah Ingalls, who had composed and published hymn tunes, including NORTHFIELD (“O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”) which he had supposedly written while waiting for a meal in an inn at Northfield.

April 6, 1851

Anglican priest Henry E. Manning is received into the Roman Catholic Church. He will become archbishop of Westminster in 1865 and a cardinal in 1875.

April 6, 1894

Death in Denver, Colorado, of William M. Thomson, a missionary veteran of work in Syria and author of The Land and the Book which illustrated the Bible with photographs of the Middle East. The work enjoyed popularity in the United States and in Britain, where it sold more copies than any other American publication except Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

April 6, 1921

Simon Kimbangu heals a sick woman in the Congo Free State (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). Soon a movement will form around him and become the large Kimbanguist church.

April 6, 1933

Bakht Singh arrives in Bombay to begin an evangelical work there. He had been converted aboard a ship while voyaging to Canada.

April 6, 1956

Death of Daniel Gee Ching Wu, an Episcopal priest who had worked among the Chinese of San Francisco.

April 6, 1966

Death in Zürich of influential Swiss theologian Emil Brunner, who had reaffirmed the tenets of the Protestant Reformed tradition in twentieth-century terms, while seeking ground for dialog with moderns holding theories of evolution, idealism, liberalism, and scientism. 

April 6, 1994

An aircraft bearing Rwanda's dictatorial President Juvenal Habyarimana is shot down. The nation's majority ethnic group, the Hutus, use the event as an excuse to massacre minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, killing eight hundred thousand in three months. A Tutsu rebellion will kill many Hutus and conquer most of Rwanda by mid-July 1994, establishing a Tutsu-dominated government. Ironically, both ethnic groups subscribe at least nominally to Christianity and some Christian leaders will support and some oppose the genocide and retaliation.

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