Today in Christian History

November 11

November 11, 397 (traditional date): Martin of Tours, a bishop responsible for the evangelization of Gaul, dies. He is France's patron saint.

November 11, 1215: The Fourth Lateran Council opens. It officially confirmed the doctrine of transubstantiation—that the substance of Eucharistic bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, with only the accidents (appearances of bread and wine) remaining. The council also prescribed annual confession for all Christians.

November 11, 1620: Forty-one Puritan separatists arrive in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They had hoped to settle further south, but as William Bradford wrote in his journal on December 19, "We could not now take much time for further search . . . our victuals being much spent, especially our beer" (see issue 41: The American Puritans).

November 11, 1793: English missionary William Carey arrives in Calcutta, India (see issue 36: William Carey).

November 11, 1855: Danish Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, regarded as the founder of existentialism, dies at age 42. Trying to "reintroduce Christianity to Christendom," he believed that Christianity was far more radical and difficult than did his Danish contemporaries.

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June 18, 1464: Pope Pius II begins a crusade against the Turks. He died on the way to a rendezvous with his allies, and the crusading mentality died with him.

June 18, 1546: Protestant Anne Askew is condemned in England for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation (the idea that sacramental bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ). When asked by her accuser, "Sayest thou that priests cannot make the body of Christ?" she answered, "I have read that God made man; but that man can make ...

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