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Christian History

Today in Christian History

April 24

April 24, 387: On this day, Augustine of Hippo writes in his autobiographical Confessions, "We were baptized and all anxiety for our past life vanished away." The 33-year-old had been a teacher of rhetoric and pagan philosophies at some of the Roman Empire's finest schools, but after great influence by his mother, Monica, and the famous bishop Ambrose, he turned to Christianity. His baptism by Ambrose, on Easter Sunday, marked his entrance into the church (see issue 15: Augustine and issue 67: Augustine).

April 24, 1581: Vincent de Paul, founder of the Lazarist Fathers and the Sisters of Charity, is born in Pouy, France. The Roman Catholic Churchnamed him patron saint of all works of charity because of his charity work during the Wars of Religion.

April 24, 1944: In "United States v. Ballard," the Supreme Court ruled that no governmental agency can determine "the truth or falsity of the beliefs or doctrines" of anyone—even if the beliefs "may seem incredible, if not preposterous to most people." But the court also reiterated its position that while freedom of belief is absolute, the freedom to act on those beliefs is not.

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May 21, 1382: The "Earthquake Synod" in London (so named because a temblor interrupted the proceedings), led by Archbishop Courtenay, condemns as heretical 24 theses from the writings of John Wycliffe. Wycliffe later claimed that God sent the earthquake "because the friars had put heresy upon Christ. The earth trembled as it did when Christ was damned to bodily death" (see issue 3: John Wycliffe).

May 21, 1471: Painter, engraver, and woodcut designer Albrecht Durer is born in ...

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