Today in Christian History

January 8

January 8, 1438: In an attempt to forge an alliance that would save Constantinople from the Turks, the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches meet at the Council of Ferrara-Florence. A temporary union was reached, but Constantinople fell anyway in 1453, ending the Byzantine Empire.

January 8, 1438: Mathematician, physicist, astronomer, and devout Roman Catholic Galileo Galilei dies in Arcetri, Italy, under house arrest by the Inquisition (see issue 76: Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution).

January 8, 1956: Missionaries Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming are killed by Ecuadorean Indians they sought to evangelize. The story of the missionaries and their deaths along the Curaray River was publicized by Elliot's widow, Elisabeth, in Through Gates of Splendor, published the following year.

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January 19, 1086: Canute the Great, the king of Denmark, is killed by his subjects. Though Denmark was already nominally Christian when he became king, he went to great lengths to revitalize the faith. He built and restored churches and monasteries and created laws protecting the clergy. But his "new order," which included higher taxes and mandatory tithes, led to a revolt. Canute was reportedly killed in church while celebrating Mass, and he was declared a martyr and saint in 1101 (see issue 63: ...

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