February 26, 398: John Chrysostom, the greatest preacher of the early church, becomes bishop of Constantinople. So well-regarded was his preaching that he earned the name Chrysostom: "golden-mouth." He was exiled in 403 for his outspoken criticism of his congregation, including Empress Eudoxia. After the church recalled him, he again offended Eudoxia, who exiled him again. He died three years later (see issue 44: John Chrysostom).
February 26, 1536: Swiss Protestants sign the First Helvetic Confession, the first uniform confession of faith for all German-speaking Switzerland and an important Reformation document.
February 26, 1857: American Congregational clergyman Charles Sheldon, author of more than 50 books and editor of the Christian Herald, is born in Wellsville, New York. His most famous work, In His Steps (1896), sold more than 23 million copies and spawned the recent "What Would Jesus Do?" phenomenon (see issue 66: How the West Was Reall Won).
April 20, 1139: The Second Lateran Council, led by Pope Innocent II and attended by 1,000 church leaders, opens in Rome. The council focused on reforming the church in the wake of the East-West schism (1054) and preserving the temporal possessions of the clergy.
April 20, 1233 (some say 1232): Pope Gregory IX appoints full-time papal inquisitors and gives the Dominican order authority to carry out the Inquisition. For their vigilant and persistant work, the order won the moniker "Domini canes" or ...