Today in Christian History

February 27

February 27, 280: Constantine, the first Roman emperor converted to Christianity, is born. Though some scholars question the authenticity of Constantine's conversion (which came after he saw a vision on the battlefield), the emperor did seek to settle church controversies by calling the Council of Nicea in 325 (see issue 57: Converting the Empire).

February 27, 380: Roman emperor Theodosius makes Christianity the official law of the land. "It is our will," he decreed, "that all the peoples we rule shall practice that religion that Peter the Apostle transmitted to the Romans" (see issue 57: Converting the Empire).

February 27, 1773: Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is completed after six years of construction at a cost of about $4,070. George Washington purchased a pew for himself and his family for $100.

February 27, 1871: Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder and first president of Dallas Theological Seminary, is born. His eight-volume Systematic Theology (1947) is one of the most detailed analyses of dispensational premillenial Protestant theology.

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September 29, 1413: Archbishop Arundel condemned Sir John Oldcastle, a follower of John Wycliffe, of heresy. He was given 40 days to recant, during which he escaped and hid in Wales. He remained hidden for a year, until the offer of a large reward prompted someone to betray him. He was then captured and roasted to death.

September 29, 1978: Three weeks after being elected, Pope John Paul I dies while reading a devotional in bed.

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