Along with Gabriel's Annunciation to Mary (Luke 1:26-38), her Visitation to Elizabeth (1:39-56), and Jesus' birth and infancy (2:7,16; Matthew 2:11), one other biblical scene depicting the mother of Jesus is especially prominent in the history of Christian ...
Only in the Holy Land can you celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection in the place where it happened. The fourth-century pilgrim Egeria described the Holy Week services in Jerusalem: "What I admire and value most is that all the hymns and antiphons and readings, and all the prayers that the bishops say, are always relevant to the day which is being observed and to the place in which they are used." Today, much like in Egeria's era, thousands of Christians observe Good Friday by following the "Via Dolorosa"—the traditional route Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion—from the Mount of Olives to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The route and rituals have changed over the centuries, but the devotion has not. Jerusalem Christians' celebration of Easter influenced Christian worship around the world. The practice of following the "stations of the cross" is one example.
As Christians from all branches of the church today rediscover the ancient traditions of Christian spirituality, the literature of early Christian monasticism is a welcome voice in our conversation with the saints. Many sources are now available in accessible English translations, so enter into the world of men and women who forsook the expectations of their society to pray in the deserts of Palestine and Egypt. Primary sources predominate on the list below, but each translation is accompanied by useful introductions and commentaries by top scholars. Enjoy!
Take the quiz ... then explore the history. In addition to the Holidays section of our archives, you can find Easter-related content in several past issues of Christian History & Biography: Issue 97: The Holy Land, Issue 83: Mary in the Imagination of the Church, and Issue 59: The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth
January 29, 993: Ulric (890-973), bishop ofAugsburg from 923, is formally canonized by Pope John XV, the first recorded canonization by a pope.
January 29, 1499: Katherine von Bora, a German nun who married Martin Luther in 1525, is born. At their wedding, she was 26 and he was 41 (see issue 39: Luther's Later Years).
January 29, 1523: Before an audience of more than 600 people gathered at the first Zurich Disputation, Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli successfully defends his 67 theses. He appealed only to Scripture and rejected the authority of the pope, the sacrifice of the Mass, the invocation of saints, times and seasons of fasting, and clerical celibacy. But the city council nevertheless declared "that Master Ulrich Zwingli (may) continue to preach the Holy Gospel and the true divine Scripture as he has done until now for as long a time and to such an extent until he be instructed differently" (see issue 4: Ulrich Zwingli).
January 29, 1535: The French royal family, church officials, and many other dignitaries join in an immense torch-lit procession from the Louvre to Notre Dame—an attempt to purge Paris from the defilement caused by overzealous Protestants and their placards (a man named Feret had nailed one of the most inflammatory placards to the king's bedroom door months before). The day ended with six Protestants being hung from ropes and roasted (see issue 12: John Calvin and issue 71: Huguenots).
Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
—John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople; sermon, ca. 400