Anniversaries to Remember in 2023
Notable events that occurred at fifty and one-hundred year intervals
by Dan Graves
373 (1,650 years ago) Athanasius, famous early theologian, author of On the Incarnation, and primary mover at the Council of Nicaea, dies. That same year sees the death of another famous fourth-century theologian, Ephrem the Syrian.
523 (1,500 years ago) Brigid of Ireland, a popular but possibly non-historical saint, is supposed to have died. In Yemen a great massacre of Christians takes place.
673 (1,350 years ago) Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, opens the first synod of the whole English Church.
1073 (950 years ago) Consecration of Hildebrand (Gregory VII), one of the most famous popes of the Middle Ages. Death of Anthony of the Caves, whom major lines of Russian monasticism claim as their inspiration.
1123 (900 years ago) The First Lateran Council is held. Although it breaks little new ground, it claims to represent the entire world church.
1223 (800 years ago) Francis of Assisi introduces the first-known living Christmas manger.
1273 (750 years ago) Thomas Aquinas has his famous vision, after which he is alleged to have said he could write no more, that everything he had written was as straw.
1373 (650 years ago) Julian of Norwich falls ill. During her sickness, she sees sixteen visions or "showings" that she records and amplifies after she recovers. Another well-known female visionary of the era, Bridget of Sweden, dies.
1473 (550 years ago) Catherine of Genoa, medieval mystic, sees a vision of God's light and her own sin that causes her to swoon. Afterward, she will write influential mystical books.
1523 (500 years ago) Reformer Zwingli presents his 67 Articles in Zurich. The same year Katharina von Bora (the future Katharina Luther) flees her convent in a wagon with fish barrels. William Farel, a well-known reformer, is forbidden to preach in Geneva. And, in Brussels, the first Lutheran martyrs die in flames.
1573 (450 years ago) Lutherans approach Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II, hoping to create an alliance of Orthodox and Protestant Christians. Meanwhile, Anabaptists suffer terrible persecution in Europe, represented by the death at the stake of Maeyken Wens.
1723 (300 years ago) Johann Sebastian Bach accepts a post at Leipzig, where he will write a vast body of church music.
1773 (250 years ago) At the insistence of many nations, Pope Clement XIV dissolves the Jesuit order (which will be revived within a century).
1823 (200 years ago) Veniamanov is appointed to work in Alaska, organizing and overseeing Orthodoxy there. Meanwhile, Moravians celebrate fifty years of successful work on St. John's Island (in the Caribbean), where they have baptized over 16,000 converts. Henry Williams arrives in New Zealand to begin Church of England work, and Samuel Marsden suffers shipwreck while attempting to bring the gospel to the Maori.
1873 (150 years ago) Delegates of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church elect Joseph A. Beebe, of North Carolina, and L. H. Holsey, of Georgia, to be bishops. Lottie Moon is appointed for China work, winning an international reputation.
1973 (50 years ago) In Uganda, Idi Amin's soldiers massacre large numbers of Christians. Those deaths are quickly dwarfed by the numbers of innocents killed after the United States Supreme Courts rules in Roe v. Wade that abortion is legal. J. R. R. Tolkien, beloved author of The Lord of the Rings and member of the Inklings, dies.