May 11, 330: Roman emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, inaugurates Constantinople as his capital on the site of the Greek city of Byzantium (see issue 57: Converting the Empire).
May 11, 603: Comgall, founder and first abbot of Bangor, dies. Considered the founder of Irish monasticism, by his death he oversaw 3,000 monks—including the famous missionary Columbanus (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).
May 11, 1610: Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, the first Catholic missionary to China, dies. Entering the country as a repairer of clocks, Ricci was criticized for becoming a Confucian scholar and allowing ancestor "worship." Though the number of his converts was relatively small, it included many influential Chinese scholars and families, who played key roles in the future of Christianity in China (see issue 52: Hudson Taylor).
May 11, 1682: The General Court of Massachusetts repeals two 2-year-old laws: (1) a ban on the celebration of Christmas, and (2) capital punishment for banished Quakers who returned to the colony.
May 11, 1825: The American Tract Society organizes in New York City. A leader in developing printing technology, the nondenominational organization was publishing 30 million tracts a year by its sesquicentennial.
August 20, 1153: Bernard of Clairvaux, French theologian, monastic reformer, and hymn writer (O Sacred Head Now Wounded), dies. His motto was "To Know Jesus and Jesus Crucified" (see issue 24: Bernard of Clairvaux).
August 20, 1745: Francis Asbury, one of the two first Methodist bishops in America (the other was Thomas Coke), is born in Birmingham, England (see issue 45: Camp Meetings and Circuit Riders).
August 20, 1912: William Booth, founder and first General of the Salvation Army, dies (see issue ...