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, 1821: Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, whose works (including Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamozov, and Notes from the Underground) reflect his deep Russian Orthodox faith, is born.

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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March 26, 655: Deusdedit becomes the first English-born Archbishop of Canterbury. He served until 664.

March 26, 752: Stephen III assumes the papacy after Stephen II dies. But Stephen III is sometimes called Stephen II, since the real Stephen II hardly counts: he died a mere four days after his election!

March 26, 1831: Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first black bishop in America, dies at age 71 (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).

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