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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February 19, 843: Empress Theodora reinstates icons once and for all in the Eastern churches, effectively ending the medieval iconoclastic controversy. A council in 787 had allowed the veneration of icons, but opponents of images still controlled most of the government and much of the church leadership. The controversy continued, however, and was one of the reasons for the Great Schism between Catholics and the Orthodox in 1054 (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

February 19, 1377: John Wycliffe stands ...

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