November 15, 1280: German theologian Albertus Magnus, teacher of Thomas Aquinas and defender of his theology (as well as a brilliant writer on Aristotelian thought), dies at age 87. Declared a doctor of the church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII proclaimed him the patron of natural scientists in 1941 (see issue 73: Thomas Aquinas).
November 15, 1397: Thomas Parentuchelli, who would later take the name Nicholas V and is considered the best of the Renaissance popes, is born. As pope he led a blameless personal life, loved the new studies in arts and sciences, restored many ruined churches, and founded the Vatican Library.
November 15, 1630: German mathematician and astronomer Johann Kepler, famous for his laws of planetary motion, dies at 58. As a Christian, he believed the universe to be an expression of God's being rather than God's creation (see issue 76: Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution).
November 15, 1885: Mwanga, ruler of Buganda (now part of Uganda), beheads recent Anglican convert and royal family member Joseph Mukasa. Mukasa opposed the massacring of Anglican missionary bishop James Hannington and his colleagues in October. The bloodbath continued through January 1887 as the ruler killed Mukasa's Christian pages and other Anglican and Catholic leaders. Collectively, the martyrs of Uganda were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.
November 15, 1917: Oswald Chambers dies while serving as chaplain to British troops in Egypt during World War I. His widow, Gertrude, spent the rest of her life compiling his notes, lectures, and sermons into books, including the bestselling My Utmost for His Highest.
December 13, 37: Nero, the Roman emperor who was the scourge of early Christians, is born. After his suicide in 68, many believed he would return, and "false Neros" appeared throughout the eastern provinces (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).
December 13, 304: Lucy, one of the earliest Christian saints to achieve popularity, dies. According to legend, she renounced marriage out of devotion to Christ, but a spurned suitor convinced Roman authorities to force her into a life of prostitution. ...