March 12 in Christian History

Mar 12, 2009 10:57 AM EDT

1607 - Birth of Paul Gerhardt, German clergyman and hymnwriter. He lost four of his five children in childhood, yet also composed over 130 hymns, including "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded." (Gerhardt's music marks the transition in Lutheran hymnody from confessional and high-church hymns to hymns of devotional piety.)

1622 - Gregory XV canonized Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits; Philip Neri, Italian co-founder of a medical religious order; Teresa of Avila, a Spanish Carmelite nun; and Francis Xavier, the Jesuit "Apostle of Eastern Asia."

1710 - Birth of Thomas A. Arne, considered one of the outstanding English composers of the 18th century. Today, Arne is best remembered for his hymn tune ARLINGTON, to which we commonly sing, "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?"

1826 - Birth of Robert Lowery, American Baptist clergyman and hymnwriter. He is chiefly remembered today for writing and composing the hymns "Christ Arose," "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus," "We're Marching to Zion," "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" and "I Need Thee Every Hour."

1904 - Raphael Hawaweeny was ordained Eastern Orthodox bishop of Brooklyn, NY, at St. Nicholas Church. As a vicar under the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia, Hawaweeny thus became the first Russian Orthodox bishop ordained in America.

© 1987-2009, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church