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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October 16, 1311: The Council of Vienne opens to decide if the Templars, a military order sworn to protect Christian pilgrims, are heretical and too wealthy. Pope Clement V decided to suppress the order. Its leader was burned and members' possessions taken by the church. That decision was adamantly derided by the poet Dante and by later historians (see issue 40: The Crusades).

October 16, 1555: English reformers Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley are burned at the stake at the order of Roman Catholic ...

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