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).
November 12, 1035: Canute the Great, Danish king since 1016, dies at age 41. The often ruthless king had restored churches and monasteries throughout his kingdom and built several new ones (see issue 63: Conversion of the Vikings).
November 12, 1660: John Bunyan is arrested for unlicensed preaching and sentenced to prison. While incarcerated, he penned Pilgrim's Progess and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, the greatest Puritan spiritual autobiography (see issue 11: John Bunyan).