April 6, 1249: Muslims take King Louis IX of France prisoner during the seventh crusade, which was supposed to overcome the Muslim political center in Egypt. After showing bravery in the face of torture, he was allowed to buy his freedom for a huge sum in gold—and the city of Damietta (see issue 40: The Crusades and issue 74: Christians & Muslims).
April 6, 1528: Albrecht Durer, German painter, engraver, and designer of woodcuts, dies. Famous for his religious scenes, he may have been so influenced by Luther (whom he called "the great Christian man who has helped me out of great anxieties") that he converted to Protestantism. His most popular work is "Praying Hands.
April 6, 1801: The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church recognizes the new African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). Blacks who were denied membership and/or recognition within white Methodist churches, particularly in Philadelphia and New York, formed the original AME (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).
April 6, 1932: Eric Liddell, the Olympic athlete featured in the film Chariots of Fire, makes his evangelistic debut by sharing his testimony to a group of men in Armadale, Scotland. Liddell later returned to the mission field in China, where he was born, and ministered in an internment camp following the Japanese invasion. He died in 1945 from a massive brain tumor.
January 15, 345 (traditional date): Paul of Thebes, traditionally considered the first Christian hermit and an inspiration for Antony of Egypt and later Christian monasticism, dies (see issue 64: Antony and the Desert Fathers).
January 15, 1697: Massachusetts citizens observe a day of fasting and repentance for the Salem witch trials of 1692, in which 19 suspected witches were hanged and more than 150 imprisoned. The day was declared "That so all of God's people may offer up fervent supplications ...