Today in Christian History

January 22

January 22, 304 (traditional date): Vincent of Saragossa, one of the most famous martyrs of the early church, is killed. Starved, racked, roasted on a gridiron, thrown into prison, and set in stocks, he refused to sacrifice. According to Augustine, his fame extended everywhere in the Roman Empire and "wherever the name of Christ was known" (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

January 22, 1899: Pope Leo XIII warns James Cardinal Gibbons, senior hierarch of the Catholic church in America, against the "phantom heresy" of Americanism—the attempt to adapt the traditional doctrines and practices of the church to a more independent modern world.

January 22, 1973: The United States Supreme court legalizes abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision.

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December 9, 1608: English poet John Milton is born in London. Though most famous for his epic Paradise Lost, he also penned an exposition of Christian doctrine, a plan for Christian education, and various political writings.

December 9, 1840: Unable to go to China, David Livingstone sets sail from London as a missionary to southern Africa (see issue 56: David Livingstone).

December 9, 1843: The first Christmas cards—actually more like postcards—are created and sold for a shilling.

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