Today in Christian History

November 13

November 13, 354: Augustine of Hippo, the greatest of the Latin church fathers and author of Confessions and City of God, is born in Thagaste—modern Souq Ahras, Algeria (see issue 15:Augustine and issue 67:Augustine).

November 13, 867: Nicholas I, one of the strongest proponents for Rome's primacy in the church, dies. Though a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, he is not to be confused with the bishop of Myra who is also called St. Nicholas and was popularized as Santa Claus.

November 13, 1618: The Dutch Reformed Church convenes the Synod of Dort to "discuss" the Arminian controversy. Of course, the synod's condemnation of Arminianism was a forgone conclusion—Arminians weren't even invited for another month. By April, 200 Arminian ministers (known as Remonstrants) were deposed by the Calvinist Synod, 15 were arrested, and one was beheaded for high treason.

November 13, 1938: The Roman Catholic church makes Francis Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the first American saint.

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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 ...

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