July 5, 1439: Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics sign the Decree of Union at the Council of Florence, creating an official union between the two churches. Popular sentiment in Constantinople opposed the decree, and when the Turks captured the city, the union ceased. However, the council's definition of doctrine and its principles of church union (unity of faith, diversity of rite) have proved useful in subsequent church talks (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).
July 5, 1962: H. Richard Niebuhr, theologian, Yale professor, and author of Christ and Culture (1951), dies at age 67.
January 16, 1545: George Spalatin, Martin Luther's close friend and go-between with Frederick The Wise, dies (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).
January 16, 1604: Puritan John Rainolds suggests " . . . that there might bee a newe translation of the Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek." England's King James I granted his approval the following day, leading to the 1611 publication of the Authorized (King James) version of the Bible (see issue 43: How ...