History of Christianit missionary work
Page last modified 25/7/2021
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
Map of Christian areas of Europe, 11th
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
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.
8/4/1901, James Chalmers, Scottish missionary to New
Guinea, died (born 1841).
15/4/1889, Joseph de Veuster, missionary to Hawaii, died
25/6/1872, William Ellis, missionary to Polynesia, died (born
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
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 the �Maori in 1827, as relations between the Christian
missionaries and the Maori Chiefs began to deteriorate.
31/3/1820, The first Christian missionaries arrived in
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
29/8/1794, William Ellis, missionary to Polynesia, was
born (died 25/6/1872).
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.
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
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 so�
might 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
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).
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.
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.
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).
20/4/1718, David Brainerd, US missionary to the
Amerindians, was born in Haddam, Connecticut (died in Northampton,
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
1642, Missionary work amongst
Indians began from Montreal.
10/1/1607, Isaac Jogues, French missionary in North
America, was born (killed by the Mohawks, 1646).
Central America, Caribbean
1786, The first Wesleyian
missionary work began, in the West Indies.
1555, The earliest Protestant
missionary work began, in Brazil.
1910, Japan now had 100,000
Protestants, also 79,000 Roman Catholics and 30,000 Eastern (Russian) Orthodox.
1902, Japan now had 50,000
1889, Japan now had 30,000
1875, Joesph Neesima founded a
Japanese Christian College. The Doshima,
1872, The first Japanese Church
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.
the Baltic States
1387, Lithuania became
988, Christianity (Eastern)
introduced to Kiev by Vladimir.
966, The conversion of Poland to
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.
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.
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
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 Paulinus� but 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
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
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.
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.
615, Columban the Younger, missionary to France
born 550, died.
Lombards in Italy, under King Authari and Queen Theodelinda, converted to Catholicism.
Visigoths in Spain converted to Christianity.
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
See also Roman Empire
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