July 25, 325: The Council of Nicea closes. The first ecumenical council, convened by Constantine, it rejected the Arians (who denied the full divinity of Christ) as heretics (see issue 51: Heresy in the Early Church).
July 25, 1593: King Henry IV of France, raised a Protestant, converts to Catholicism. Long considered a political move, the conversion is now thought to have been sincere, partially because of the king's statement that "religion is not changed as easily as a shirt." His conversion did not end his sympathy for Protestants, however, and in 1598 he promulgated the Edict of Nantes, giving Protestants freedom of worship and permitting them to garrison certain towns for security (see issue 71: Huguenots).
July 25, 1918: Walter Rauschenbusch, Bapstist pastor and theologian of the Social Gospel, dies. His books, including Christianity and the Social Crisis and The Social Principles of Jesus, influenced many—among them Martin Luther King, Jr., who observed that "Rauschenbusch gave to American Protestantism a sense of social responsibility that it should never lose.
September 20, 1224: On or about this date, on Italy's secluded Mount Alvernia, Francis of Assisi reportedly prayed, "O Lord, I beg of you two graces before I die—to experience in myself in all possible fullness the pains of your cruel passion, and to feel for you the same love that made you sacrifice yourself for us." Soon his heart was filled with both joy and pity, and wounds appeared on his hands, feet, and side. He reportedly carried these scars (called stigmata) until his death in 1226 ...