This Week in Christian History: New World Baptism, Cathedral Construction, and the First Crusade

Christianity is such an ancient faith that every week brings a string of anniversaries. This coming week is no exception:

Here are just a few things that happened this week in Church history. They include the first Native American to be baptized as a Protestant, the beginning of a major cathedral construction, and the start of the First Crusade.

First Native American Protestant is Baptized – Aug. 13, 1587

This week marks the anniversary of the first recorded baptism of a Native American into Protestant Christianity.

On Aug. 13, 1587, Manteo, a Croatan Indian known for being an ally of the early English settlers, was baptized into the Church of England on Roanoke Island.

According to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Manteo was known to help the English with navigation and visited the British Isles on multiple occasions.

“While in England, Manteo met Sir Walter Raleigh and spent time with the scientist Thomas Harriot, with whom he was already acquainted,” noted the Nature and Cultural Resources Department.

“He worked with Harriot learning English and teaching Harriot the Algonquian language. Raleigh designated Manteo ‘Lord of Roanoke,’ and it is possible that his baptism was a requirement of receiving that title.”

The baptism of Manteo is still remembered in the lectionary calendar of The Episcopal Church, which commemorates both his baptism and the baptism of Virginia Dare, the first English settler born in a North American colony.

Construction on Cologne Cathedral Begins – Aug. 15, 1248

This week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the construction of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, one of the largest church buildings in the world and a notable example of Medieval Gothic architecture.

Once the site of earlier churches, on Aug. 15, 1284, Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden laid the foundation stone for the new structure.

“As well as being the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, it is also Germany’s most popular monument of medieval art, receiving an average of 20,000 visitors a day,” noted Art Encyclopedia.

“Located close to the River Rhine, the cathedral is famous for its architectural statues, steep gables, blind tracery and unifying series of spires, as well as its rare works of religious art.”

The cathedral recently became notorious when several thousand Muslim ‘refugees’ groped and raped hundreds of young German women on New Year’s Eve.

The First Crusade Begins – Aug. 15, 1096

This week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the First Crusade, when large numbers of Christian Europeans sought to recapture various holy sites in the Middle East.

Months after Pope Urban II made his call to Crusade to help the Byzantine Empire retake eastern holdings seized by Islamic armies, Christian forces left Byzantium.

“Four armies of Crusaders were formed from troops of different Western European regions, led by Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Godfrey of Bouillon, Hugh of Vermandois and Bohemond of Taranto (with his nephew, Tancred),” noted

“A less organized band of knights and commoners known as the ‘People’s Crusade’ set off before the others under the command of a popular preacher known as Peter the Hermit.”

The First Crusade was technically a success, with the Christians reconquering Jerusalem and much of the western Middle East.

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