Today in Christian History

February 18

February 18, 1546: German reformer Martin Luther dies in Eisleben. In one of his pockets he had placed the beginning of a projected manuscript against Roman Catholics. In another pocket was a slip of paper reminding him, "We are beggars, that's the truth" (see issue 39: Luther's Later Years).

February 18, 1564: Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Italian Renaissance artist whose works include the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, dies.

February 18, 1678: Puritan preacher John Bunyan publishes The Pilgrim's Progress, the best-selling book (apart from the Bible) in history. The allegorical tale, which describes Bunyan's own conversion process, begins, "I saw a man clothed with rags … a book in his hand and a great burden upon his back" (see issue 11: John Bunyan).

February 18, 1688: Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania, issue America's first formal protest of slavery.

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May 20, 325: Emperor Constantine convenes the first Ecumenical Council in Nicea (now Iznik), Bithynia, to discuss Arianism, a heresy arguing that Christ was subordinate to God the Father. "I entreat you," Constantine said at the opening of the Council of Nicea, "to remove the causes of dissension among you and to establish peace." The council attempted to resolve the bitter conflict by anathematizing Arius (Arianism's founder) and ordering the burning of all his books, but the conflict continued ...

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