Today in Christian History

January 15

January 15, 345 (traditional date): Paul of Thebes, traditionally considered the first Christian hermit and an inspiration for Antony of Egypt and later Christian monasticism, dies (see issue 64: Antony and the Desert Fathers).

January 15, 1535: Henry VIII declares himself head of English Church (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).

January 15, 1697: Massachusetts citizens observe a day of fasting and repentance for the Salem witch trials of 1692, in which 19 suspected witches were hanged and more than 150 imprisoned. The day was declared "That so all of God's people may offer up fervent supplications unto him, that all iniquity may be put away, which hath stirred God's holy jealousy against this land; that he would show us what we know not, and help us, wherein we have done amiss, to do so no more" (see issue 41: American Puritans).

January 15, 1844: The University of Notre Dame, America's premiere Roman Catholic institution of higher learning, is chartered in South Bend, Indiana.

January 15, 1929: Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr., America's most visible civil rights leader from 1955 until his assassination in 1968, is born in Atlanta.

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September 27, 1540: Pope Paul III officially approves the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), founded in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola.

September 27, 1660: Vincent de Paul (b. 1581) dies. After giving his life to serving the poor, he founded the first Confraternity of Charity in 1617, the Congregation of the Mission in 1625, and the Daughters of Charity in 1633 (the first non-monastic women's order completely given to care of the sick and poor). Canonized in 1737, he was named patron saint of all charitable ...

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