April 7 in Christian History

Apr 07, 2010 08:05 AM EDT

1541 - Spanish founder of the Jesuits Francis Xavier, 35, and three friends set sail from Lisbon, Portugal for Goa. They became the first Roman Catholic missionaries to travel to India.

1628 - Jonas Michaelius, 51, arrived in New Amsterdam (New York City), the first minister of the Dutch Reformed Church to come to America.

1884 - Birth of C. H. Dodd, English clergyman and Bible scholar. Dodd became the most influential British New Testament scholar of the mid-20th century, and penned over a dozen books, including "The Parables of the Kingdom" (1934).

1953 - Swedish statesman Dag Hammarskjld, 47, was elected Secretary General of the United Nations. Hammarskjld endeared himself to Christians, after his death in 1961, through the 1964 publication of his spiritual journal, "Markings."

1968 - In a letter penned during his 83rd and final year of life, Karl Barth wrote: 'How one learns to be thankful for each day on which one can still do something.'

© 1987-2010, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from

Almanac of the Christian Church