Today in Christian History

February 2

February 2, 767: Alcuin, the academic who would later play a large role in establishing schools under Charlemagne, becomes headmaster of York Cathedral School, where he once studied. Alcuin's curriculum was built on the seven liberal arts: the elementary Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) and the more advanced Quadrivium (music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy).

February 2, 1594: Giovanni F. da Palestrina, the most gifted composer of Renaissance church music, dies.

February 2, 1745: Popular British poet and dramatist Hannah More is born. She renounced the social life and concentrated on religious efforts, such as setting up Sunday schools. For her work with the Clapham Sect of British social reformers, she was once derisively called "a bishop in petticoats" (see issue 53: William Wilberforce).

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May 24, 1089 (traditional date): Archbishop of Canterbury, scholar, and church reformer Lanfranc dies. Known primarily for his development of the doctrine of transubstantiation, in which the eucharistic bread and wine become Christ's body and blood, he also educated brilliant scholar Anselm and future pope Alexander II.

May 24, 1543: Polish astronomer and cleric Nicolas Copernicus dies in Poland. His heliocentric (sun-centered) concept of the solar system was radical, though not unheard of before ...

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