February 4, 856: Rabanus Maurus, a theologian and educator mentored by Alcuin, dies at age 80. His "retirement" from school administration at age 66 was followed by a career as archbishop of Mainz, Germany.
February 4, 1555: English reformer and theologian John Rogers becomes the first Protestant martyr under "Bloody" Mary I when he is burned at the stake for heresy (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).
February 4, 1906: Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is born in Breslau, Germany. Author of The Cost of Discipleship (1937) and Letters from Prison (1944), he opposed the Nazis as one of Germany's Confessing Church leaders. Believing that Hitler was like a madman "driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders," he was privy various a plots to kill the leader. A particular assassination attempt was discovered around the time Bonhoeffer was arrested, though it is unclear whether he was directly connected to it. Bonhoeffer was imprisoned and eventually hanged—just days before Allied troops liberated the concentration camp where he was held (see issue 32: Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
June 10, 1692: Bridget Bishop becomes the first of 19 suspected witches hanged during the "Salem Witch Trials" (see issue 41: American Puritans).
June 10, 1854: James Augustine Healy is ordained the first African-American priest in Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral. In 1875 he became the first African-American bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.