Today in Christian History

February 14

February 14, 270: According to tradition, Valentine, a priest in Rome during the reign of Claudius II, is beheaded along the Flaminian Way. One explanation for Valentine's subsequent relationship to the romantic holiday is this: Claudius, seeking to more easily recruit soldiers, removed family ties by forbidding marriage. Valentine ignored the order and performed secret marriages—an act that led to his arrest and execution.

February 14, 869: Cyril, "apostle to the Slavs," dies. Creator of the Cyrillic alphabet (still used in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and elsewhere), translator of the Scriptures into Slavonic, and bishop, he worked with his brother, Methodius, who carried on the missionary work for another 15 years (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

February 14, 1760: Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, is born. The first African-American ordained by the Methodist church, Allen also a co-founded the Free African Society, America's first organization founded by blacks for blacks (see issue 62: Bound For Canaan).

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October 22, 4004 BC:: According to James Ussher, the well-respected and scholarly Anglican primate of the Irish Church in the early seventeenth century, God created the universe on this date at 9:00 a.m. GMT.

October 22, 1811: Pianist Franz Liszt, known for his Romantic orchestras and songs, but also the author of more than 60 religious works (including the song known today as "Fairest Lord Jesus"), is born in Raiding, Hungary.

October 22, 1844: Between 50,000 and 100,000 followers of Baptist lay ...

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