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).
March 20, 687: Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne and a vocal supporter of Celtic practices over Roman ones, dies. Shortly thereafter the Lindisfarne monks created the Lindisfarne Gospels in his honor (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).
March 20, 1747: Severely ill with tuberculosis, Presbyterian missionary David Brainerd ends his work among the Native Americans of Delaware (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).
March 20, 1852: Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of famous Congregational minister ...