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.
December 6, 345 (traditional date): Nicholas, bishop of Myra, one of the most popular saints in the Greek and Latin churches—and Santa Claus's namesake—dies.
December 6, 1273: Following a tremendous mystical experience while conducting Mass, Thomas Aquinas suspends work on his Summa Theologica. "I can do no more," he told his servant. "Such things have been revealed to me that all that I have written seems to me as so much straw. Now I await the end of my life (see issue 73: Thomas Aquinas). ...