January 10, 236: Fabian is elected bishop of Rome. He served until 250, when he became the first martyr under Decius, the emperor who initiated Empire wide persecution of Christians. After Fabian's death, Decius is reported to have said, "I would far rather receive news of a rival to the throne than of another bishop of Rome" (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).
January 10, 1645: The controversial archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church of England, William Laud, is beheaded. An enemy and persecutor of the Puritans and a staunch defender of the "divine right of kings", he found himself on the wrong side of history when the Puritan revolution began in the 1640s.
July 17, 180: Seven men and five women who had been captured carrying "the sacred books, and the letters of Paul" are tried before Roman proconsul Saturninus. Since none would renounce their Christian faith, all 12 were beheaded (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).
July 17, 431: The Council of Ephesus adjourns, having rejected Nestorianism (the idea that Christ had two persons, not two natures) and condemned Pelagianism (a doctrine refuting human depravity) (see issue 51: Heresy ...