Chronography of Christianit missionary work

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See also History of Christianity

See also Race Equality � the �conversion� of peoples to Christianity in some areas colonised by Europeans was sometimes forceful and more to do with political power than Christian caring. One little word, �all�,was massively damaging � the Catholics took Matthew 24:14 �And the end will not come until the good news has been preached to all the nations� to mean that Christians could not attain paradise until all people (not simply �all nations�) had accepted conversion (or been killed as heretics). This doctrine frequently justified violence or forcible conversion (often, enslavement) of indigenous peoples.


Map of Christian areas of Europe, 11th Century.


Regions below listed in approximate chronologoical order



9/8/1883, Robert Moffat, Scottish Congregationalist missionary to southerm Africa, died (born 21/12/1795).

1878, The Livingstone Central Africa Company was formed to assist the missionary work of Scottish Presbyterians in Nyasaland (Malawi). Founded by the two brothers, Fred and John Moir, it built steamships on Lake Nyasa, but was opposed by local Muslim leaders. The Company was poorly financed; in 1893 it was bought out by Cecil Rhodes, who transformed it into the African Lakes Trading Company. It continued as a largely commercial trading operation until the end of colonial rule in Africa.

1868, The Society of White Fathers was founded. It conducted missionary work in Algeria, the Sahara, and eastern Africa.

1856, The Lyons Seminary for Foreign Missions was founded. It conducted missionary woirk in the Nile Delta, also west Africa, Benin, Niger, Cote d�Ivoire.

1805, German missionaries began work in Namibia.

21/12/1795, Robert Moffat, Scottish Congregationalist missionary to southerm Africa, was born (died 9/8/1883).

1703, The Congregation of the Holy Ghost was founded (re-founded 1848). It conductced missions across western Africa.

1548, Jesuit missionaries began work in the Congo region.

1491, The Portuguese introduced Christianity to the Kongo Kingdom in Africa.


Pacific Islands

8/4/1901, James Chalmers, Scottish missionary to New Guinea, died (born 1841).

15/4/1889, Joseph de Veuster, missionary to Hawaii, died (born 3/1/1840)

25/6/1872, William Ellis, missionary to Polynesia, died (born 29/8/1794).

1860, Tonga became Christian.

1855, The Congregation of the Sacred Heart was founded at Issoudun, France. It worked across various Pacific Islands.

3/1/1840, Joseph de Veuster, missionary to Hawaii, was born (died 15/4/1889).

1830, Missionary work in Samoa began when John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived from the Cook Islands and Tahiti.

1823, A Wesleyan mission was set up at Wesleydale, near Whangaroa, New Zealand. It was raided by theMaori in 1827, as relations between the Christian missionaries and the Maori Chiefs began to deteriorate.

31/3/1820, The first Christian missionaries arrived in Hawaii, from New England, USA.

1817, The Picputian Society was founded in Paris. It worked across Hawaii, Tahiti and the Marqiuesas Islands.

1816, The Marists were founded in France. They worked across New Zealand and the Pacific islands.

7/1812, In Tahiti, King Pomare II gave up idol-worship and became baptised as a Christian. By 1815 vChristianity had replaced idolatry in all the larger Tahitian Islands.

1795, The London Missionary Society was formed by an interdenominational group of Christians; their first work was in Tahiti in March 1797. They subsequently worked across China, south Asia, Africa and the West Indies.

29/8/1794, William Ellis, missionary to Polynesia, was born (died 25/6/1872).


General worldwide

1875, The Steyl Society of Foreign Missions was founded in Germany. It worked across China and west Africa.

1866, The Mill Hill Society was founded in England. It worked across Borneo, India, New Zealand and Uganda.

1863, The Scheat Society of Foreign Missions was founded in Belgium. It worked across Mongolia, China and the Belgian Congo.

1850, The Milan Seminary for Foreign Missions was founded. It worked across India, China and SE Asia.

1840, The Oblates of Mary Immaculate were founded. They conducted missionary work across Ceylon., southern Africa and NW Canada.

1792, The Baptist Missionary Society was formed. It worked across the world, in India, China, and other regions of south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

1701, In England, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was formed.

1622, Pope Gregory XV established the �Propaganda�, to assist Roman Catholic missionary work.


Russia, Siberia

1824, John Veniamov (died 1879) began an extensive missionary work across eastern Siberia, the Kamchatka Islands and Alaska. Earlier Christian missionaroies had, in the 1600s, followed the conquests into Siberia of Ivan the Terrible (1533-84); however their woirk was not followed up and the Siberian peoples became Pagans again.

1796, The Scottish Missionary Society was formed. Its first work was in the Tartar areas around the Black Sea and Caspian Sea.



3/3/1874, Francis Mason, US missionary to the Karens in Myanmar from 1830, died (born 2/4/1799).

12/4/1850, Adoniram Judson, US missionary to Burma, died (born 9/8/1788).

1813, Adoniram Judson began missionary work in Burma.

2/4/1799, Francis Mason, US missionary to the Karens in Myanmar from 1830, was born (died 3/3/1874).

9/8/1788, Adoniram Judson, US missionary to Burma, was born (died 12/4/1850).



5/11/1758, Hans Egede, the Apostle of Greenland, died. Born in Norway in 1686, he was appointed pastor of Vagen, Norway, in 1707. He desired to convert the descendants of the Norse in Greenland (whom he feared had missed out on the Reformation and somight still be Catholic; or worse, have lapsed back into paganism) and departed for there in 1721. Finding the Norse to have died out, he set about converting the Inuit. The death of his wife Getrude Rask in 1736 caused him to leave Greenland. In 1740 he became superintendent of the Greenland Mission in Copenhagen.

3/5/1721, Hans Egede, Norwegian missionary, set sail from Bergen with the aim of converting the Norsemen of Greenland to Christianity. However on arrival he found no Norsemen, only Eskimo, whose language he did not understand/. He persisted, founding the settlement of Godthaab, until ill-health forced his return to Norway in 1736 where he became Principal of a seminary in Copenhagen.

31/1/1686, Hans Egede, Norwegian missionary to Greenland was born, see 3/5/1721.



1910, Korea had 178,686 Protestants and 72,900 Roman Catholics; in 1866 there were just 100 Christians in the country.

1890, The Anglican Church began missionary work in Korea.

1885, The Methodist Episcopal Church and the (USA) Presbyterian Board began missionary work in Korea.

1864, Anti-foreigner agitation in Korea halted Christian missionary work.This work resumed in the 1880s.

1783, Christianity was introduced to Korea, by Korean diplomatic delegates who had been converted in China.



1910, China now had 3,129 Christian mission schools with 79,823 pupils. The total Catholic dcommunity numbered 902,478 members plus 390,617 catchumens. The total Protestant community numbered 214,546 chiurch members. There were then 4,175 active missionaries operating across China.

1876, China now had 289 Christian mission schools with 4,909 pupils, see 1910.

1865, China now had 2,000 baptised Christians.

31/3/1860, Evariste Huc, French missionary to China, died (born 1/8/1813).

1857, Despite prosyletising efforts, there were still only an estimated 400 baptised Protestants in the whole of China. However China then began to adopt more Western ways, in the face of the defeat of the Boxers and the rise oif a (Westernising) Japan, and Christianity advanced there, see 1865, 1876.

9/8/1851, Karl Gutzlaff, German missionary to China, died (born 8/7/1803).

7/2/1816, Italian missionary, Giovanni Lantrua of Trioria, was executed by the Chinese.

1/8/1813, Evariste Huc, French missionary to China, was born (died 31/3/1860).

5/1/1782, Robert Morrison, first Protestant missionary to China, was born (died 1/8/1834).

1715, Christian missionaries were expelled from China.

1658, The Societe des Missions Etrangeres was founded in Paris. It operated across China, Japan, Tibet, and south-east Asia. The sea voyage itself to China was hazardous, with 127 of the 376 Jesuits who sailed to China between 1581 and 1712 dying in transit.

6/10/1552, Birth of Matteo Ricci, pioneering Jesuit missionary to China.

1293, Christian missionaries arrived in China.

781, Nestorian Christians preached in China, and built monasteries.

631, A Nestorian Christian missionary group reached China, and were allowed to preach there.They continued there for over a century.



1881, The Society of the Divine Saviour was founded in Rome. It worked across Assam.

6/10/1812, Henry Martyn, English missionary to India, died (born 18/2/1781).

26/4/1806, Alexander Duff, Scottish missionary to India, was born (died 12/2/1878).

5/7/1805, Henry Martyn, English missionary to India, began his work when he obtained a chaplaincy under the East India Company, and set out for India.

18/2/1781, Henry Martyn, English missionary to India, was born (died 6/10/1812).

1705, The first Protestant mission to India. Ziegenbalg estanlished a Danish Lutheran mission at Tranquebar.

6/5/1542, Francis Xavier arrived at the Portuguese colony of Goa, India, to begin his work of converting the indigenous inhabitants to Christianity.

430, Nestorian Christians from Persia were preaching in India.

180, Pantaneus of Alexandria may have undertaken evangelical work in India.


North America

10/7/1836, Jean Cheverus, Roman Catholic missionary to North America, died (born 28/1/1768)

28/1/1768, Jean Cheverus, Roman Catholic missionary to North America, was born (died 10/7/1836).

19/10/1747, David Brainerd, US missionary to the Indians, died in Northampton, Massachusetts (born in Haddam, Connecticut 20/4/1718).

11/4/1721, David Zeisberger, missionary in the Ohio area, was born.

20/4/1718, David Brainerd, US missionary to the Amerindians, was born in Haddam, Connecticut (died in Northampton, Massachusetts,19/10/1747).

21/5/1690, John Eliot, the �Apostle to the Indians�, died (born 1604). He preached to the Amerindian tribes, and translated the Bible into the Algonquian language.

18/5/1675, Jacques Marquette, French Jesuit missionary, died on the way home from preaching to the Illinois River Amerindians.

1646, John Eliot began a missionary work amongst the American Indians.

1642, Missionary work amongst the Canadian Indians began from Montreal.

10/1/1607, Isaac Jogues, French missionary in North America, was born (killed by the Mohawks, 1646).


South and Central America, Caribbean

1786, The first Wesleyian missionary work began, in the West Indies.

1555, The earliest Protestant missionary work began, in Brazil.

7/4/1541, Francis Xavier and three Jesuit companions sailed from Lisbon to do conversion work in the West Indies.



1910, Japan now had 100,000 Protestants, also 79,000 Roman Catholics and 30,000 Eastern (Russian) Orthodox.

1902, Japan now had 50,000 Christians.

1889, Japan now had 30,000 Protestants.

1875, Joesph Neesima founded a Japanese Christian College. The Doshima, in Kyoto.

1872, The first Japanese Church was founded.

29/9/1637, Lorenzo Ruiz, Christian missionary to Japan who was killed for his beliefs there, later beatified, died this day.

1600, Japan until now had no organised central government but a patchwork of fiefdoms controlled by local Daimyos (warlords). Christian missionaries made many converts, and the Christianised Daimyos protected the new Church. However between 1580 and 1614 three Daimyos established central control across all of Japan. At first the Christians were useful in resisting the ambitions of the Buddhist priesthood, but then became an onbstacle to full control of Japan. From 1614 a major persecution and torture campaign against Cjhristians in japan bagem. Frtom 1623 everybody in Japan had to certify annually that they belonged to a Buddhist group, and from 1627 thoise suspected f being Christian had to muddy, with their feet, a picture of Jesus or Mary. From 1638 Japan was closed to foreigners; in 1642 8 Jesuits made a clandestine landing, but were discovered and tortured to death.

15/8/1549, Francis Xavier entered the Japanese port of Kagoshima to begin a conversion work.

1542. Portuguese traders first brought Christianity to Japan.


3/12/1552. Death of Francis Xavier, Basque Jesuit missionary, called �the apostle of the Indies�, who helped Ignatius Loyola found the Jesuits.He died near Canton, China.

7/4/1506, St Francis Xavier, Spanish Jesuit missionary, was born near Sanguesa.

16/1/1220, Five friars, Berard, Otto, Peter, Accursio and Aiuto had been sent by St Francis of Assissi in 1219 to preach to the |Muslim Moors in Seville, Spain. They were imprisoned then banished to Marrakesh. After continuing to preach they were executed this day. They are commemorated as the First Martyrs of the Franciscan Order.


Poland and the Baltic States

1387, Lithuania became Christian.

988, Christianity (Eastern) introduced to Kiev by Vladimir.

966, The conversion of Poland to Christianity began.


South-eastern Europe

942, The conversion of Hungary to Christianity began.

875, The Raksa region, between Belgrade and the Adriatic, was converted to Christianity.

864, Boris, King of Bulgaria, converted to Christianity, leading to the conversion of the Bulgars.

863, Cyril and Methodius, the �Apostles of the Slavs�, began conversion work in Moravia, and invented the Cyrillic alphabet for writing the Bible in. They had gone to Moravia at the request of Rotislav, ruler of Moravia, who in 862 asked the Byzantine Emperor Michael III to send missionaries.



1154, King Eric IX of Sweden introduced Christianity to his country.

1000, Christianity reached Iceland and Greenland. Iceland�s Althing chose to adopt Christianity over Odin-worship. By now, Christianity had reached Bulgaria, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Saxony, Denmark, Russia, and all of Scandinavia.

960, Haakon Haraldson, King of Norway, attempted to introduce Christianity to his subects.

829, St Ansgar preached in Sweden.

826, King Harald of Denmark was baptised at Mainz. He returned to Denmark with the missionary monk, Ansgar (801 � 865), who spread Christianity in Scandinavia.



1283, The Teutonic Knights completed their Christianising of the pagan Prussians.

23/4/997, St Adalbert, the Apostle of the Prussians, from Prague, was murdered by the Prussians, whom he was trying to convert. He had also preached to the Hungarians and Bohemians, the latter being annoyed by his asceticism.

5/6/754. The English missionary Boniface (born 673) and 53 companions were murdered in Germany by pagans.

30/9/722. Boniface was ordained as Bishop of Germany by the Pope and returned to Germany to continue his conversion work there.

715, The monk Winfrith, (future St Boniface) began missionary work in Germany. In 725 he felled the famous Donar Oak at Fritzlar, Hesse, which had been a centre of pagan worship.


Britain See also Ireland, early Christian history

687, The Isle of Wight became the last area of southern England to convert to Christianity.

686, Sussex, the last pagan kingdom in England, converted to Christianity.

664, Synod of Whitby. The date of Easter, originally coincident with the Jewish Passover Day, had been changed by the Church in Rome in 457 to ensure it always fell upon a Sunday; Easter Sunday was now the Sunday between the 15th and 21st days of the lunar month in the first month of thr Jewish lunar year. Easter Sunday was calculated according to the Victorius of Aquitaine. As Britian was by then no longer part of the Roman Empire, this ruling did not affect the Church in Britain, which continued to hold Easter by the old calendar. At the Synod of Whitby, the British clergy agreed to conform to the practice of Rome.

31/8/651, Saint Aidan, missionary and first bishop of Lindisfarne, died.

5/8/642. Death of the Christian King Oswald of Northumbria at the Battle of Maserfield, lost to the invading Kingdom of Mercia, under the pagan King Penda. King Oswald had succeeded to the |Kingdom of Bernicia in 634 and in 635 reunited the whole of Northumbria under his rule Northumbria had previously been converted to Christianity by Paulinusbut had relapsed under the heathen successors to Edwin. Oswald was a Christian and sent for a new Bishop. Paulinus had been a member of the Roman Church but his successor was from the Celtic church, the monastery of Iona, which Oswald had visited during his exile. The first monk sent under Oswald failed to make any headway amongst the �uncouth Northumbrians� but a second, Aidan, was sent as Bishop of Northumbria. Aidan retained his See when the Mercians defeated and slew Oswald, and Aidan died at Bamburgh on 31/8/651.

635, Wessex was converted to Christianity.

12/4/627, Paulinus, last of the missionaries send by Pope Gregory I, built a wooden church in the old Roman legionary headquarters in York and baptised Edwin of Northumbria as the first Christian king in Northern England.

625, The missionary Paulinus arrived in Northumbria.

25/12/597, At Christmas, Christianity spread rapidly in Kent, Augustine and his fellow-labourers baptised more than 10,000 Anglo-Saxons.

596, Pope Gregory sent St Augustine to conduct missionary work in Britain.

563, St Columba established a church on Iona, and began to convert the Picts from there.

550, Wales was converted to Christianity by St David. David (Dewi) was canonised in 1120 to become the patron saint of Wales.

432, St Ninian, the first known missionary to Scotland, born ca.360,died and was buried in the Church at Whithorn.

409, St Keyne was preaching in Wales and the southwest of England. She alwo promoted female equality.

397, St Ninian established a church at Whithorn in order to evangelise the southern Picts. Son of a British chieftain, St Ninian had made a pilgrimage to Rome and studied for 15 tears to become a bishop.


See also Ireland, early Christian history


615, Columban the Younger, missionary to France and Ireland, born 550, died.

589, The Lombards in Italy, under King Authari and Queen Theodelinda, converted to Catholicism.

587, The Visigoths in Spain converted to Christianity.

498, The Frankish King Clovis I converted to Christianity, leading to the conversion of the Frankish nation.

350, Christianity reached Abyssinia. It had also reached Kerala, southern India, which was a key trading post on the sea route between the Middle East and China.

300, Christianity reached Armenia.

45, Paul began his extensive missionary journeys.


See also Roman Empire


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