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Christian History

Today in Christian History

March 9

March 9, 320 (traditional date): Roman soldiers leave Christian soldiers naked on the ice of a frozen pond in Sebaste, Armenia.They placed baths of hot water around them to tempt them to renounce their faith. When one did so, a pagan guard—inspired by the fortitude of the remaining Christians—converted and joined the freezing Christians. They were all killed and made famous by Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

March 9, 395 (traditional date): Gregory of Nyssa, Cappadocian father and bishop, dies. An outstanding thinker, theologian, orator, and ascetical author, he was very influential in developing the theology of the Trinity.

March 9, 1831: Evangelist Charles Finney concludes a six-month series of meetings in Rochester, New York. The meetings, which have been called "the world's greatest single revival campaign," led to the closing of the town's theater and taverns, a two-thirds drop in crime, and a reported 100,000 conversions (see issue 20: Charles Finney).

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May 20, 325: Emperor Constantine convenes the first Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (now Iznik), Bithynia, to discuss Arianism, a heresy arguing that Christ was subordinate to God the Father. "I entreat you," Constantine said at the opening of the Council of Nicea, "to remove the causes of dissension among you and to establish peace." The council attempted to resolve the bitter conflict by anathematizing Arius (Arianism's founder) and ordering the burning of all his books, but ...

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