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Christian History

Today in Christian History

June 28

June 28, 195: Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (France) and one of the most important Christian writers of the second century, dies. He argued that tradition is key in sustaining orthodoxy, and he was instrumental in raising the authority of the Roman bishop. He was also the first to add the four Gospels to a list of apostolic writings, calling them "Scripture" with the Old Testament. Many consider him the first theologian of the Christian church, since others were more apologists than theologians.

June 28, 1245: Innocent IV convenes the Council of Lyons to deal with the "five wounds of the Church:" corruption of the clergy and faithful, the danger of the Saracens, the Greek Schism, the invasion of Hungary by the Tatars, and the rupture between the church and Emperor Frederick II.

June 28, 1491: Henry VIII, the "Defender of the faith" who broke with Rome when the pope would not grant him a divorce, is born in Greenwich, England (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).

June 28, 1577: Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, who sympathized with the Jesuit movement and the Counter Reformation, is born. Among his most famous works are Raising of the Cross (1610) and Descent from the Cross (1611).

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July 8, 1115: French monk Peter the Hermit dies. Several argue that Peter the Hermit launched the crusades. Supposedly, he visited Jerusalem on a pilgrimage in 1093 and returned to Pope Urban II with a plea to do something to stop the Muslims from harassing Christian pilgrims. Two years later Urban II pronounced the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont and Peter the Hermit became one of the crusade's dominant preachers. After leading a failed "pre-crusade" in which Muslims slaughtered his entire ...

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