February 9, 249 (traditional date): According to Dionysius (died c. 264), bishop of Alexandria, on this date, Roman officials "seized that marvelous aged virgin Apolloinia, broke out all her teeth with blows on her jaws, and piling up a bonfire before the city, threatened to burn her alive if she refused to recite with them their blasphemous sayings. But she asked for a brief delay and without flinching leapt into the fire and was consumed" (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).
February 9, 1881: Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky dies. A devout Russian Orthodox Christian, the author of Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880) once wrote "If someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.
October 26, 899: Alfred the Great, ruler of Wessex, England, from 871, dies. His defeat of the Danes ensured Christianity's survival in England, but he is also known for his ecclesiastical reforms and his desire to revive learning in his country.
October 26, 1466: According to some accounts, Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus was born on this date. His work greatly influenced the first-wave reformers. He edited new critical editions the Greek New Testament and also wrote In Praise of Folly (a satire ...