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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December 15, 1418: English pre-Reformer John Oldcastle is burned alive for his efforts to preserve and promote the cause of the Lollards (preachers who spread John Wycliffe's views). Shakespeare reportedly based his character Falstaff on Oldcastle (see issue 3: John Wycliffe).

December 15, 1900: Count Leo Tolstoy writes to the tsar asking him to end religious persecution in Russia.

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