Lent

Lent marks a 40-day period on the church calendar leading up to the celebration of Easter. During Lent, Christians have traditionally engaged in practices of self-denial, like fasting, meant to orient their hearts and minds to the sufferings of Christ, who spent 40 days in the desert fasting and enduring temptations from Satan. While many evangelicals reject Lenten disciplines for their associations with Catholicism, in recent years a greater number have experimented with practices like giving up a favorite indulgence or abstaining from meat on Fridays.
Free Newsletters
More Newsletters

March 29, 1139: In the bull "Omne Datum Optimum," Pope Innocent II grants the Templars "every best gift" and makes them an independent unit within the church. Created to protect pilgrims from bandits in the Holy Land, the Templars rose in influence and wealth and eventually earned the jealousy of other Christians (see issue 40: The Crusades).

More from March 29