March 15, 1517: Needing money to rebuild St. Peter's basilica, Pope Leo X announces a special sale of indulgences. A Dominican named Johann Tetzel led the way in promoting the sale in Germany and erroneously declared that indulgences would cover future sins (Leo's forgave all past sins). The teaching angered monk Martin Luther, who soon posted his 95 Theses in response (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).
March 15, 1672: Charles II issues his first declaration of indulgence, suspending Parliament's legislation against Catholic and Protestant dissenters. He was soon forced to rescind the declaration, however, and the following year issued the Test Act, which drove Catholics out of public office.
March 15, 1953: Billy Graham holds his first integrated revival in Chattanooga, TN. Up to this point Graham accommodated southern whites by holding segregated revivals when in the South.
March 23, 332 (traditional date): Gregory the Illuminator, who converted a nation before Constantine even embraced Christianity, dies. A missionary to his homeland of Armenia, he converted King Tiridates, and much of the kingdom followed suit. Soon Christianity was established as the national religion, with Gregory as its bishop (see issue 57: Conversion of Rome).
March 23, 1540: Waltham Abbey in Essex becomes the last monastery in England to transfer its allegiance from the Catholic Church to the ...