Today in Christian History

February 7

February 7, 1478: Thomas More, lord chancellor of England during the English Reformation, is born. Though he idealized freedom of religion in Utopia (1516), he supported the punishment of heretics and Protestants like Martin Luther and William Tyndale. He retired from office rather than acknowledge Henry VIII's divorce and was beheaded for refusing to acknowledge Henry as head of the church (see issue 16: William Tyndale).

February 7, 1817 (traditional date): Abolitionist Frederick Douglass is born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland. After escaping to freedom, he became the most prominent of the black abolitionists and eventually became the first black to hold high political office, as consul-general to the Republic of Haiti (see issue 62: Bound For Canaan).

February 7, 1938: After years of being closely watched by Nazi secret police, Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller is put on trial. He was subsequently confined in a concentration camp, but he survived and went on to hold a leadership role in the World Council of Churches from 1948-1968 (see issue 32: Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

Free Newsletters
More Newsletters

Read These Next

Free Newsletters
More Newsletters

March 26, 655: Deusdedit becomes the first English-born Archbishop of Canterbury. He served until 664.

March 26, 752: Stephen III assumes the papacy after Stephen II dies. But Stephen III is sometimes called Stephen II, since the real Stephen II hardly counts: he died a mere four days after his election!

March 26, 1831: Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first black bishop in America, dies at age 71 (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).

More from March 26