December 2, 1697: St Paul's Cathedral in London, designed by Christopher Wren, is dedicated. It replaced a medieval cathedral at the site that had burned in the Great Fire of 1666.
December 2, 1859: Militant messianic abolitionist John Brown is hanged at Charles Town, (West) Virginia, for his attack on Harper's Ferry. He was convinced that only violent action could end the horrors of slavery (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).
December 2, 1980: Three American nuns and a lay churchwoman are killed by death squads in El Salvador. Some 70,000 Salvadorans are estimated to have died because of terrorists or civil war during the 1980s, including many Catholic clergy.
June 7, 1502: Ugo Buoncompagni is born in Bologna. As Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585), he issued the Gregorian calendar, supported the Inquisition, promoted the Counter-Reformation, and encouraged missions.
June 7, 1891: English Baptist Charles H. Spurgeon, who preached to (on average) 6,000 people at each of his services, delivers his last sermon at London's Metropolitan Tabernacle (see issue 29: C.H. Spurgeon).