Today in Christian History

July 18

July 18, 64: The Great Fire of Rome begins, and to direct suspicion away from himself, young Emperor Nero blames the city's Christians. A persecution followed in which Christians were (among other punishments) burned alive (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

July 18, 1504: Henry Bullinger, Ulrich Zwingli's successor as chief pastor of Zurich and a close associate of Cranmer, Melanchthon, Calvin, and Beza, is born in Switzerland (see issue 4: Ulrich Zwingli).

July 18, 1870: The Vatican I Council votes 533 to 2 in favor of "papal infallibility" as defined that "the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church . . . is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that his church should be endowed.

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August 19, 1099: Three years after setting out, the First Crusade armies defeat the Saracens at the Battle of Ascalon, a Palestinian city. For more than a century afterwards, Christians controlled the Holy Land (see issue 40: The Crusades).

August 19, 1662: Blaise Pascal, French scientist, polemicist, and Christian apologist, dies at the age of 39 after an extended illness. In 1654, he experienced his "definitive conversion" where he discovered the "God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, ...

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