Today in Christian History

May 18

May 18, 1291: The last Christian territory taken by the Crusaders, Acre, falls to the Sultan of Egypt (see issue 40: The Crusades).

May 18, 1834: Sheldon Jackson, Presbyterian missionary to the frontier West and Alaska, is born in Minaville, New York. Jackson's reputation for ministering to the spiritual, physical, and social needs of both natives and settlers earned him the nicknames "Bishop of All Beyond" and "Apostle to Alaska" (see issue 66: How the West Was Really Won).

May 18, 1920: Karol Wojtyla (who would take the name John Paul II when elected pope) is born in Wadowice, Poland (see issue 65: The 10 Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).

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August 19, 1099: Three years after setting out, the First Crusade armies defeat the Saracens at the Battle of Ascalon, a Palestinian city. For more than a century afterwards, Christians controlled the Holy Land (see issue 40: The Crusades).

August 19, 1662: Blaise Pascal, French scientist, polemicist, and Christian apologist, dies at the age of 39 after an extended illness. In 1654, he experienced his "definitive conversion" where he discovered the "God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, ...

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