Christian History: This Week’s Notable Anniversaries

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Photo: Sourced from Pexels

In the rich tapestry of Christian history, each passing week brings with it anniversaries that mark remarkable milestones, tragic events, triumphant achievements, memorable births, and significant passings. 

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These anniversaries, spanning over two millennia, offer a fascinating glimpse into the diverse history of the Church. In this report, we delve into the anniversaries of events that unfolded this week in Christian history, shedding light on moments that have left a lasting imprint.

In a report by Christian post, this week commemorates the anniversary of a pivotal event when Christian forces, commanded by Polish King John III Sobieski, emerged victorious over an invading Islamic army besieging Vienna, Austria. In July, an Ottoman army, led by Sultan Mehmed IV and Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa, ventured deep into Europe, laying siege to Vienna, which then served as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. In response, Sobieski rallied an army of approximately 23,000 men and successfully lifted the siege, with the king personally leading his legendary Winged Hussar cavalry unit into battle. 

Rick Peterson of Reed Magazine observed, “Kara Mustafa was executed on Christmas day for his failure. An incompetent series of Grand Viziers oversaw battlefield defeats, which led to mutiny and political upheaval.” After 17 years of bitter conflict, the Ottomans ultimately conceded numerous European and Mediterranean territories in the humiliating Treaty of Karlowitz, marking one of history’s most complete backfires of a military operation.

Christian post further reported that this week also marks the anniversary of an ecclesiastical decree that sent shockwaves through the Christian world. In the 16th century, English King Henry VIII severed the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church to facilitate his divorce and remarriage, marking the origins of the Anglican Church.

Pope Leo XIII issued an apostolic letter known as Apostolicae Curae in September, explicitly declaring the holy orders and ordination of the Anglican Church as “absolutely null and utterly void.” The letter argued that the Anglican rite omitted essential elements that signified the Sacrament of Ordination, rendering it insufficient in the eyes of the Catholic Church. The legacy of this declaration has persisted throughout history.

However, in more recent times, there have been efforts to reconcile this rift. A group of Anglican and Catholic theologians issued a statement in December 2021, challenging Pope Leo XIII’s declaration from 1896. They argued that the declaration “does not accord with the reality into which the Spirit has led us now,” signaling a potential step towards reconciliation and unity among Christian denominations.

Finally, this week, we remember the passing of Maria Woodworth-Etter, a pioneering figure in the nascent Pentecostal movement, who died at the age of 80 after battling multiple illnesses. Often hailed as the “Mother of the Pentecostal movement,” Woodworth-Etter claimed to have received divine visions calling her to preach. She held revival gatherings under a vast meeting tent, overcoming significant personal challenges and prevailing against the prevalent societal hostility towards female preachers. 

Initially cautious about the Pentecostal movement due to some perceived extremism, she eventually embraced it as a genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Maria Woodworth-Etter not only became a model but also a mentor within the burgeoning Pentecostal movement, leaving an indelible mark on its history.

These anniversaries in Christian history, from the dramatic Battle of Vienna to the theological disputes over Anglican orders and the enduring legacy of Maria Woodworth-Etter, offer a glimpse into the multifaceted journey of the Church through time. They remind us of the diverse tapestry that is Christian history, with its triumphs, challenges, and moments of reflection that continue to shape the faith today.

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