Today in Christian History

January 7

January 7, 367: Early church father Athanasius, famous for his battles against the Arian heresy, writes a letter containing a list of what he thinks should be considered the canon of Scripture. Over time, his list would be accepted by the church (see issue 43: How We Got Our Bible and issue 28: 100 Most Important Events in Christian History).

January 7, 1536: Catherine of Aragon, whose divorce from Henry VIII was the catalyst for the English Reformation, dies (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).

January 7, 1844: Bernadette Soubirous, whose visions of Mary led to the establishment of the Shrine of Lourdes, is born.

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February 23, 155 (traditional date): Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, is martyred. Reportedly a disciple of the Apostle John, at age 86 he was taken to be burned at the stake. "You try to frighten me with fire that burns for an hour and forget the fire of hell that never burns out," he said. The flames, legend says, would not touch him, and when he was run through with a sword, his blood put the fire out (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

February 23, 303: Diocletian begins his "Great ...

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