Today in Christian History

February 6

February 6, 891: Photius, patriarch of Constantinople from 858-867, dies after a series of excommunications and restorations. His 867 encyclical, which denounced the presence of Latin missionaries in Bulgaria as an intrusion and objected to the filioque clause in the creed ("the Holy Ghost . . . who proceeds from the Father and the Son"), was significant in the East-West conflict that eventually led to the "Great Schism" (see issue 54: Eastery Orthodoxy).

February 6, 1564: Carried to church in a chair, John Calvin preaches his last sermon three months before his death (see issue 12: John Calvin).

February 6, 1820: Eighty-six free black colonists sail from New York to Sierra Leone, Africa. Though white abolitionists initially supported such emigration efforts, most free blacks (and eventually more radical white abolitionists) denounced the effort as racist and ultimately proslavery (see issue 62: Bound For Canaan).

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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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