Christianity is a faith with a long and detailed history, with numerous events of lasting significance occurring throughout the ages.
Each week brings the anniversaries of great milestones, horrid tragedies, amazing triumphs, telling tribulations, inspirational progress, and everything in between.
Here are just a couple of things that happened this week, Sept. 9-15, in Church history. They include the martyrdom of the early church Bishop Cyprian and the ordination of the first female American minister.
Bishop Cyprian Martyred - September 14, 258
This week marks the anniversary of when Saint Cyprian, a notable early church theologian and bishop, was executed for his beliefs, becoming the first African bishop to be martyred.
A native of Carthage and born to wealthy pagan parents, Cyprian was originally a lawyer until his conversion to Christianity in 246. He became a martyr two years later.
Cyprian was arrested for his refusal to sacrifice to pagan gods and was executed during a period of persecution under the Roman Emperor Valerian.
"He refused to sacrifice, and added that in such a matter there was no room for thought of the consequences to himself. The proconsul read his condemnation and the multitude cried, 'Let us be beheaded with him!'" explained NewAdvent.org.
"For the rest of the day his body was exposed to satisfy the curiosity of the pagans. But at night the brethren bore him with candles and torches, with prayer and great triumph, to the cemetery of Macrobius Candidianus in the suburb of Mapalia."
First Female American Minister Ordained - September 15, 1853
This week marks the anniversary of when Antoinette Brown Blackwell was ordained a minister in the Congregational Church in South Butler, New York.
Widely considered the first woman ordained in any American Protestant denomination, Blackwell was also deeply involved in social movements like abolitionism and women's suffrage.
The Reverend Luther Lee preached a sermon at the ordination ceremony, basing his message on Galatians 3:28, "there is neither male nor female ... for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
"I cannot see how the text can be explained so as to exclude females from any right, office, work, privilege, or immunity which males enjoy, hold or perform," stated Lee.
"If the text means anything, it means that males and females are equal in rights, privileges, and responsibilities upon the Christian platform."