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Christian History

Today in Christian History

February 26

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).

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April 22, 1418: The Council of Constance ends, having finally ended the Great Western Schism. When the schism began nearly 40 years earlier, three men had reasonable claims to the papacy. The council deposed all three and elected Martin V. (Martin then turned around and rejected further councils' right to depose a pope.) Though that part of the council is regarded as a triumph, the council also hastily condemned Jan Hus, a Bohemian preacher and forerunner of Protestantism, and sentenced him to execution ...

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