December 6, 345 (traditional date): Nicholas, bishop of Myra, one of the most popular saints in the Greek and Latin churches—and Santa Claus's namesake—dies.
December 6, 1273: Following a tremendous mystical experience while conducting Mass, Thomas Aquinas suspends work on his Summa Theologica. "I can do no more," he told his servant. "Such things have been revealed to me that all that I have written seems to me as so much straw. Now I await the end of my life (see issue 73: Thomas Aquinas).
January 27, 398: John Chrysostom, the greatest preacher of his age, is consecrated bishop of Constantinople (see issue 44: John Chrysostom).
January 27, 417: Pelagius, a British monk, is excommunicated for heresy. He was condemned for denying original sin and claiming that men could become righteous purely by the exercise of free will. (see issue 51: Heresy in the Early Church).
January 27, 1302: On a trumped-up charge of hostility to the church and corrupt practices, Dante Alighieri is fined heavily ...