November 20, 1541: In Switzerland, French reformer John Calvin, 32, established a theocratic government at Geneva, thereby creating a home base for emergent Protestantism throughout Europe (see issue 12: John Calvin).
November 20, 1572: The first Presbyterian meeting house in England is established at Wandsworth, Surrey.
November 20, 1620: Peregrine White, son of William and Susanna White, is the first child born on the Mayflower (see issue 41: The American Puritans).
November 20, 1806: Baptist preacher Isaac Backus, an influential voice in arguing for religious liberty in Massachusetts and later the United States, dies (see issue 6: Baptists).
December 1, 1170: Banished earlier by King Henry II because he sided with the church against the crown, archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket returns, electrifying all of England. Henry orders his former friend's execution, and Becket is slain by four knights while at vespers December 29. (T.S. Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral is a fascinating exploration of the event.)
December 1, 1521: Pope Leo X, enemy of Martin Luther (whom he excommunicated in 1520), dies. Though sincere in his ...