Today in Christian History

December 7

December 7, 374: Ambrose is consecrated bishop of Milan, Italy. The first bishop to stand up to the emperor and win (thus creating a church-state precedent that would influence the West for a millennium), he was also an influential theologian, especially regarding the Holy Spirit. His preaching led to the conversion ofAugustine (see issue 15:Augustine and issue 67:Augustine).

December 7, 430: December 7, 430: Cyril of Alexandria condemns the Antiochene monk Nestorius, who claimed Christ was two persons (divine and human) rather than one person with two natures (see issue 51: Heresy in the Early Church).

December 7, 521: Irish monk Columba, missionary to Scotland and founder of Iona and many other monastic communities, is born in Donegal (see issue 60: Celtic Christianity).

December 7, 1254: Innocent IV, who became pope in the middle of a tremendous controversy with Holy Roman emperor Frederick II, dies. As the controversy continued, both sides called each other the Antichrist. Frederick's supporters noted that the Roman numerals of "Innocencius papa" (if you count p, the 16th Greek letter as 16), adds up to 666. "There is no doubt that he is the true Antichrist," they concluded (see issue 61: The Second Coming).

December 7, 1598: Sculptor and architect Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, best known for "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa," is born in Naples.

December 7, 1965: Pope Paul VI and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I simultaneously lift mutual excommunications in place since the Great Schism of 1054 (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

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February 26, 398: John Chrysostom, the greatest preacher of the early church, becomes bishop of Constantinople. So well-regarded was his preaching that he earned the name Chrysostom: "golden-mouth." He was exiled in 403 for his outspoken criticism of his congregation, including Empress Eudoxia. After the church recalled him, he again offended Eudoxia, who exiled him again. He died three years later (see issue 44: John Chrysostom).

February 26, 1857: American Congregational clergyman Charles Sheldon, ...

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