Today in Christian History

February 11

February 11, 1790: The Society of Friends (Quakers) presents a petition to Congress calling for the abolition of slavery.

February 11, 1858: Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant from Lourdes, France, experiences her first vision of the Virgin Mary. By July she had 18 similar visions.

February 11, 1929: The Lateran Treaty is signed by Mussolini and the Holy See, recognizing Vatican City as a sovereign state. At a mere 109 acres, it became the smallest nation in the world.

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February 23, 155 (traditional date): Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, is martyred. Reportedly a disciple of the Apostle John, at age 86 he was taken to be burned at the stake. "You try to frighten me with fire that burns for an hour and forget the fire of hell that never burns out," he said. The flames, legend says, would not touch him, and when he was run through with a sword, his blood put the fire out (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

February 23, 303: Diocletian begins ...

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