Today in Christian History

January 3

January 3, 1521: Pope Leo X creates a bull of excommunication for Martin Luther that would have deprived him of civil rights and protection, but before its execution, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V allows Luther the opportunity to recant his beliefs at the Diet of Worms. When Luther instead affirms his beliefs, the bull is carried out (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

January 3, 1785: The Methodist "Christmas Conference" concludes at Baltimore, Maryland, having created the Methodist Episcopal Church in America and elected Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke its two first "general superintendents" (see issue 2: John Wesley and issue 69: Charles and John Wesley).

January 3, 1840: Joseph de Veuster, who, as Roman Catholic Missionary Father Damien gave his life ministering to lepers in Hawaii, is born in Tremelo, Belgium.

January 3, 1892: Literature professor J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and a devout Catholic, is born in Bloemfontein, South Africa (see issue 7: C.S. Lewis).

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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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