January 22, 304 (traditional date): Vincent of Saragossa, one of the most famous martyrs of the early church, is killed. Starved, racked, roasted on a gridiron, thrown into prison, and set in stocks, he refused to sacrifice. According to Augustine, his fame extended everywhere in the Roman Empire and "wherever the name of Christ was known" (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).
January 22, 1899: Pope Leo XIII warns James Cardinal Gibbons, senior hierarch of the Catholic church in America, against the "phantom heresy" of Americanism—the attempt to adapt the traditional doctrines and practices of the church to a more independent modern world.
January 22, 1973: The United States Supreme court legalizes abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision.
May 24, 1089 (traditional date): Archbishop of Canterbury, scholar, and church reformer Lanfranc dies. Known primarily for his development of the doctrine of transubstantiation, in which the eucharistic bread and wine become Christ's body and blood, he also educated brilliant scholar Anselm and future pope Alexander II.
May 24, 1543: Polish astronomer and cleric Nicolas Copernicus dies in Poland. His heliocentric (sun-centered) concept of the solar system was radical, though not unheard of before ...