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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October 24, 1260: France's Chartres Cathedral, the purest example of Gothic architecture, is consecrated.

October 24, 1648: The Peace of Westphalia ends central Europe's Thirty Years War. Extending equal political rights to Catholics and Protestants (including religious minorities), the peace treaties also marked the first use of the term "secularization" (in discussing some church property that was to be distributed among the warring parties).

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