Today in Christian History

February 18

February 18, 1546: German reformer Martin Luther dies in Eisleben. In one of his pockets he had placed the beginning of a projected manuscript against Roman Catholics. In another pocket was a slip of paper reminding him, "We are beggars, that's the truth" (see issue 39: Luther's Later Years).

February 18, 1564: Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Italian Renaissance artist whose works include the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, dies.

February 18, 1678: Puritan preacher John Bunyan publishes The Pilgrim's Progress, the best-selling book (apart from the Bible) in history. The allegorical tale, which describes Bunyan's own conversion process, begins, "I saw a man clothed with rags … a book in his hand and a great burden upon his back" (see issue 11: John Bunyan).

February 18, 1688: Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania, issue America's first formal protest of slavery.

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January 19, 1086: Canute the Great, the king of Denmark, is killed by his subjects. Though Denmark was already nominally Christian when he became king, he went to great lengths to revitalize the faith. He built and restored churches and monasteries and created laws protecting the clergy. But his "new order," which included higher taxes and mandatory tithes, led to a revolt. Canute was reportedly killed in church while celebrating Mass, and he was declared a martyr and saint in 1101 (see issue 63: ...

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