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Christian History

Today in Christian History

April 13

April 13, 655 (traditional date): Martin, pope from 649 to 655, dies in banishment. History remembers him as the last pope venerated as a martyr.

April 13, 1534: Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, refuses to take the oath to the English succession. One year later, Henry VIII indicted him for treason and had him beheaded.

April 13, 1598: France's Henry IV signs the Edict of Nantes, granting extensive political rights to the Huguenots (a Protestant group he once belonged to). The Huguenots retained the right to practice their religion until Louis XIV revoked the edict in 1685 (see issue 71: Huguenots).

April 13, 1742: Handel's famous oratorio Messiah premieres in Dublin's Fishamble Street Musick Hall and is met with critical praise.

April 13, 1829: In the Emancipation Act, the English Parliament grants freedom of religion to Roman Catholics. Within three weeks, the first Catholic was elected to Parliament.

April 13, 1986: Pope John Paul II visits a Jewish synagogue in Rome, marking the first such visit by a pope in recorded history.

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May 17, 1844: German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen is born. His controversial theory about the Pentateuch—that it is a compilation of four literary sources (J, Jahwist; E, Elohist; D, Deuteronomist; and P, Priestly Editor), laid the foundation for most subsequent Old Testament criticism.

May 17, 1971: The musical Godspell, based on Matthew's gospel, opens at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York.

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