Today in Christian History

December 6

December 6, 345 (traditional date): Nicholas, bishop of Myra, one of the most popular saints in the Greek and Latin churches—and Santa Claus's namesake—dies.

December 6, 1273: Following a tremendous mystical experience while conducting Mass, Thomas Aquinas suspends work on his Summa Theologica. "I can do no more," he told his servant. "Such things have been revealed to me that all that I have written seems to me as so much straw. Now I await the end of my life (see issue 73: Thomas Aquinas).

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July 31, 1556: Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish Roman Catholic reformer and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), dies in Rome. During his life he saw 1,000 men join his order and 100 colleges and seminaries established. Apart from his order, Ignatius's greatest legacy he left in his Spiritual Exercises, a devotional guide that has been in constant use for over 460 years.

July 31, 1566: Bartolome de las Casas, the first Spaniard ordained in the New World and "Father to the Indians," dies in Spain. ...

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