Today in Christian History

May 29

May 29, 1453: Constantinople, capital of Eastern Christianity since Constantine founded it in 324, falls to the Turks under Mehmed II, ending the Byzantine Empire. Muslims rename the city Istanbul and turn its lavish cathedral, Hagia Sophia, into a mosque (see issue 74: Christians & Muslims).

May 29, 1546: In retaliation for the execution of Reformation preacher George Wishart, Scottish Protestants murder Cardinal David Beaton in St. Andrews. John Knox, who was not part of the assassination plot, went on to lead the Scottish Reformation (see issue 46: John Knox).

May 29, 1660: England's King Charles II triumphantly enters London, marking the full restoration of the monarchy. Though he promised religious liberty, he cracked down on Dissenters (including John Bunyan) following a 1661 attempt by religous fanatics to overthrow him (see issue 11: John Bunyan).

May 29, 1874: English essayist, poet, and writer G.K. Chesterton is born in London. The 400-pound man was occasionally absent-minded, but brilliant. He loved paradoxes, which he called "supreme assertions of truth," and used them often in his writing. Poet T.S. Eliot credited him with doing "more than any man in his time … to maintain the existence of the [Christian] minority in the modern world." Chesterton converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1922 (see issue 75: G.K. Chesterton).

May 29, 1967: Pope Paul VI names 27 new cardinals, including then-archbishop of Krakow, Poland, Karol Wojtyla, later to be Pope John Paul II (see issue 65: The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).

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June 29, 1810: After resolute petitioning of college students from Williams College and Andover Seminary, the Congregationalists of Massachusetts organize the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, America's first foreign missions society.

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