Today in Christian History

February 20

February 20, 1469: Thomasso de Vio Cajetan, the most learned of the Roman Catholic dignitaries sent to silence Martin Luther in the early years of the Protestant Reformation, is born. He was also one of the cardinals who convinced Pope Clement VII to reject Henry VIII's request to divorce Catherine of Aragon (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

February 20, 1895: Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the first African-American to hold high political office, dies. After escaping to freedom in 1838, he became the most prominent black abolitionist. Critical of the "Christianity of this land," which accepted (or at least tolerated) slavery, he considered himself a devotee of "the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ" (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).

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March 30, 1533: Thomas Cranmer is consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, England's highest religious post. Believing himself subject to the king, Henry VIII, he granted the monarch's annulment ending his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This touched off the English Reformation, and Cranmer became its chief architect. He is also known for writing the first Book of Common Prayer(see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).

March 30, 1820: The first Protestant missionaries arrive at the Sandwich Islands, now known ...

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