Today in Christian History

December 17

December 17, 1912: Yale-educated Chicago native Bill Borden, heir to a fortune in real estate and milk production, boards a ship to China via Egypt. Converted to Christ as a young man, Borden had given his inheritance and his life to the cause of world evangelism. Only a month after arriving in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and died. However, publication of his story prompted many young people to enter the mission field.

December 17, 1917: Bolsheviks confiscate all property of the Russian Orthodox Church and abolish religious instruction in the schools. Within two decades, at least 45,000 priests were reportedly martyred in the country (see issue 18: Russian Christianity).

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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).

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