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Christian History

Lent

Lent marks a 40-day period on the church calendar leading up to the celebration of Easter. During Lent, Christians have traditionally engaged in practices of self-denial, like fasting, meant to orient their hearts and minds to the sufferings of Christ, who spent 40 days in the desert fasting and enduring temptations from Satan. While many evangelicals reject Lenten disciplines for their associations with Catholicism, in recent years a greater number have experimented with practices like giving up a favorite indulgence or abstaining from meat on Fridays.

May 23, 1430: French mystic and military hero Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians. They sold her to English, who tried her for sorcery and heresy (see issue 30: Women in the Medieval Church).

May 23, 1498: Italian reformer Girolamo Savonarola, who preached aggressively against the corruption of northern Italy's church and society, is hanged for heresy and his body burned. After gaining fame for successful prophecies, he sought to establish an ascetic Christian community. Scholars still debate ...

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