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 few things that happened this week, March 11-17, in Church history. They include the death of Saint Patrick, the Church of England ordaining female priests, and an anti-Nazism declaration from Pope Pius XI.
Church of England Ordains Its First Female Priests - March 12, 1994
This week marks the anniversary of when the Church of England ordained 32 female priests, the first women to be ordained in the British denomination's history.
Taking place at Bristol Cathedral, the ceremony had the individual ordinations take place in alphabetical order, making Angela Berners-Wilson the first of the 32 to become a priest.
"It was just amazing — very exciting and nerve-racking," recalled Berners-Wilson in a 2012 column, "although there was great sadness, too, as my mother had Alzheimer's and my father was with her, so they were unable to be there. But I shall never forget that service."
Female ordination remains a controversial matter within the global Anglican Communion and also among those seeking more unity between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, the latter believing that it hinders ecumenical efforts.
Pope Issues Anti-Nazi Encyclical - March 14, 1937
This week marks the anniversary of when Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical denouncing the rise of National Socialism in Germany.
Addressed to Catholic Church leaders in Germany, the encyclical offered encouragement amid apparent attacks on Catholic schools and other institutions by the state.
The encyclical also denounced the Aryan supremacy at the heart of Nazi ideology, stating that anyone who "exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State ... above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God."
"None but superficial minds could stumble into concepts of a national God, of a national religion; or attempt to lock within the frontiers of a single people, within the narrow limits of a single race, God, the Creator of the universe, King and Legislator of all nations," continued the encyclical.
"No one would think of preventing young Germans establishing a true ethnical community in a noble love of freedom and loyalty to their country. What We object to is the voluntary and systematic antagonism raised between national education and religious duty."
Saint Patrick Dies - March 17, 461
This week marks the anniversary of what is believed to be the date in which Saint Patrick, the famed evangelist of Ireland, passed away.
Born in Britain around the year 386, as a teenager Patrick was captured by pirates and sold into slavery before escaping. During his captivity, he converted to Christianity.
As an adult, he went to Ireland at the appointment of Pope Celestine I in 432 and helped to spread Christianity through the island.
The anniversary of what is believed to be the date of his death, St. Patrick's Day, is a popular holiday in Ireland and North America.