Today in Christian History

September 20

September 20, 1224: On or about this date, on Italy's secluded Mount Alvernia, Francis of Assisi reportedly prayed, "O Lord, I beg of you two graces before I die—to experience in myself in all possible fullness the pains of your cruel passion, and to feel for you the same love that made you sacrifice yourself for us." Soon his heart was filled with both joy and pity, and wounds appeared on his hands, feet, and side. He reportedly carried these scars (called stigmata) until his death in 1226 (see issue 42: Francis of Assisi).

September 20, 1565: Spanish sea captain Menendez reportedly wipes out French Huguenots in Florida (see issue 71: Huguenots).

September 20, 1883: Albrecht Alt, German Lutheran scholar of the Old Testament, is born in Stuebach, Bavaria. His book Biblia Hebraica, which he edited with R. Kittel, became the standard critical text of the Old Testament for Bible students.

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December 11, 1475: Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici, who would become Pope Leo X, is born in Florence, Italy. He is best known for his sale of indulgences to help rebuild St. Peter’s Basillica, a practice opposed by Martin Luther in his famous 95 Theses. The dispute between Leo and Luther over indulgences would culminate in Luther’s excommunication by papal bull in 1521, ushering in the Protestant Reformation. Leo died later that same year. Though Leo lived lavishly and was known for political ...

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