Christian, archbishop of Mentz, born at the beginning of the 12th century, died in 1183. He is chiefly celebrated for his military exploits under Frederick Barbarossa, for whom he opened the way to Italy in 1161. On May 30, 1167, he defeated with a small band of 1,000 Germans a much superior Roman force near Tusculum, and seized Civita Veechia. After the coronation of the emperor at Rome, Aug. of the same year, Archbishop Christian's task was to subdue Tuscany and the Romagna.
The town of Pisa, which rebelled against his authority, was deprived by him of all its privileges and put under interdict. At the beginning of 1174 he besieged Ancona by land, while the Venetians blockaded it by sea. Peace was established between the emperor and the pope, Aug. 1,1177; but the archbishop, carried away by his desire to subdue the only party which still held out against the emperor, and which had its headquarters at Viterbo, continued the war, and finally fell into the hands of the leader of that party, Conrad of Montferrat, who detained the warlike prelate in the prisons of Acquapendente till 1181, when he was ransomed. Hardly had he recovered his liberty when he again took up the sword, and fell in battle endeavoring to rescue Pope Lucius III. from the attacks of hostile Roman armies.
Christians (the first syllable is usually but improperly pronounced as in Christ), or Christian Connection, a Christian sect which arose in the United States near the beginning of the present century. At their organization they adopted the appellation Christians as their only name, declared the Bible their only authoritative rule of faith and practice, and extended their fellowship to all Christians, irrespective of creed or party. They originated simultaneously in the east, west, and south, their three distinct sources having at first no knowledge of each other. In North Carolina, in 1793, a secession took place from the Methodist Episcopal church, on grounds of church government; and the seceding body, at first known as " Republican Methodists," subsequently, through the influence of the Rev. J. O'Kelley and others, adopted the name of Christians. The second source was in New England, chiefly in Vermont. In 1800 Dr. Abner Jones, Elias Smith, and other members of Baptist churches, becoming dissatisfied with sectarian creeds and denominations, proposed the principles now held by the Christians. The first church organized by them was in Lyndon, Vt., and many churches had been founded as early as 1804. In 1808 the "Herald of Gospel Liberty," one of the earliest religious newspapers in the United States, was first published by Mr. Smith. The third source had its seat in Kentucky and Tennessee. After the great revival which spread through the Presbyterian church in those states in 1800, several ministers, among whom were B. W. Stone and D. Purviance, desired broader grounds of union, and five of whom in 1801 withdrew from the synod of Kentucky. They organized a new presbytery, called the Springfield presbytery, formally proclaimed their principles, June 28, 1804, and soon after adopted the name of Christians. The three kindred bodies which had thus, between 1793 and 1804, arisen separately, soon after met in general convention and were consolidated into a single denomination.
They are generally Antitrinitarians and Baptists, cherish prayer meetings, Sunday schools, and missionary enterprises, do not confine their fellowship to the baptized, are congregational in church government, and have annual and state conferences, and a quadrennial general convention. When the war interrupted the connection of the southern with the northern conferences, the former organized the "Southern Christian Convention," which in 1873 still maintained its separate existence. Among their more prominent clergymen and writers may be mentioned Walter, Clough, Badger, Millard, Ross, Summer-bell, Holland, Kincaid, and Plummer. Their institutions of learning in 1872 were the Christian Union college, at Merom, Ind.; the Wolf-boro academy, at Wolfboro, N. II.; Starkey academy, at Eddytown, N. Y.; a Biblical school, likewise at Eddytown; and the Le Grand Christian institute, at Le Grand, Iowa. In 1872 there were in the northern states and Canada 65 conferences, 997 ordained and 201 unordained ministers (in 62 conferences), 1,074 societies with 552 church edifices (in 60 conferences), 56,958 members (in 59 conferences), and church property valued at $908,775; in the southern general convention, 72 ordained ministers, 18 licentiates, and 10,581 members.
The "Herald of Gospel Liberty," united some years ago with the "Gospel Herald" of Dayton, Ohio, where it is now published, remains the principal organ of the denomination. The "Christian Sun," published at Suffolk, Va., is the organ of the southern general convention.