March 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 71

Events throughout Church History that occurred on March 12th

  • 295 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Maximilian, Martyr during the pontificate of Pope St. Caius.

  • 417 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Innocent I, 40th successor of Peter. Born in Albano outside Rome, he was elected on December 22, 401. During his sixteen year pontificate Rome was sacked by the Goths of Alaric. Innocent established the observance of the Roman rite. He persuaded the Roman emperor Honorius to prohibit gladiatorial contests in the arenas.

  • 604 A.D.
  • Death of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, 64th successor of Peter and originator of Gregorian Chant. During the fourteen year papacy of this saintly Roman Pontiff, he reaffirmed the civil authority of the Pope, thus beginning the "temporal power." On the decline of the plague in Rome an angel appearered to him on a castle that was from then on called Castel Sant'Angelo and remains today at the entrance to Vatican City above the Tiber River. His feast day universally in the Church is on the same day he was elected in 590, September 3.

  • 1022 A.D.
  • Death of St. Simeon, commemorated in the Orthodox Church

  • 1144 A.D.
  • Cardinal Gherardo Caccianemici is elected the 166th successor of Peter choosing the name Pope Lucius II. His pontificate would last just under a year. Born in Bologna, he would be forced to govern during the disorders caused by Arnold of Brescia. He would also see the rise of the communes in Italy which would signal the end of the Middle Ages. He would die by being struck by a stone while trying to prevent an extremely grave riot in the streets.

  • 1173 A.D.
  • The martyr Saint Thomas a Becket, murdered in the cathedral, is canonized by Pope Alexander III

  • 1208 A.D.
  • St. Peter of Castelnau canonized by Pope Innocent III

  • 1566 A.D.
  • The Catholic Queen of Scots Mary Tudor flees to Dunbar Castle to escape a Protestant plot against her.

  • 1737 A.D.
  • Pope Clement XII allows the body of Galili Galileo to be moved to the church of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy overturning a century-old edict against the Catholic astronomer whom the Inquisition had condemned and imprisoned during the pontificate of Pope Paul V.

  • 1939 A.D.
  • Ten days after being chosen the 260th successor of Peter, Pope Pius XII is crowned with the tiara in a lavish ceremony at St. Peter's. He would be the last Sovereign Pontiff to wear the three-tiered tiara or be coronated. His successor Pope John XXIII opted for a more simple, humble ceremony and his successors Popes Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II all followed suit.

  • 2000 A.D.
  • In an unprecedented act of humility, Pope John Paul II conducts a special "Mea Culpa" service in St. Peter's Basilica in which he, along with members of the Roman Curia, asks God's forgiveness for the sins of Roman Catholics over the centuries, specifying various transgressions in an effort to purify members of the Church for the new millennium.

  • 2000 A.D.
  • Cardinal Ignatius Kung (Gong) Pinmei passes on to his Heavenly reward at the age of 98 in Stamford, Connecticut. Cardinal Kung was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Shanghai, and Apostolic Administrator of Souchou and Nanking since 1950. Despite his advanced age, he retained these posts until his death. He was ordained priest on May 28, 1930, and ordained Bishop on October 7, 1949. He was the first native Chinese Bishop of Shanghai. He was created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1979, while serving a life sentence in isolation in China. This nomination was made "in pectore," meaning that only the Pope, and no other, not even Cardinal Kung, was aware of it. The nomination was made public after Cardinal Kung was freed from prison, on June 28, 1991. Cardinal Kung's story is that of a faithful shepherd and a heroic witness to the faith. He refused to renounce God and the Church despite the consequences of imprisonment by communist authorities. In the months leading up to his arrest in 1955, Cardinal Kung refused offers of safe passage out of China to stay by his flock. His example of fidelity has been one of the lynchpins in the underground Catholic community in China. He has become a symbol of the fight for religious freedom.

March 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 71
TIME CAPSULES in Church History
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