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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February 15, 1386: Jagiello, king of the Lithuanians, is baptized. His conversion, the condition of an alliance with Poland, marks the end of established paganism in Europe.

February 15, 1631: John Donne, the greatest love poet of the English language and dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, preaches his last sermon titled "Death's Duel." "We celebrate our own funeral with cries, even at our birth," preached the poet, who was seemingly obsessed with the subject for his entire ...

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