November 7, 739 (traditional date): Willibrord, a missionary monk who was trained in Ireland and traveled over northwestern Europe, dies. Called the "Apostle of Frisia," he was highly instrumental in the conversions of Germany and Scandinavia (see issue 63: Conversion of the Vikings).
November 7, 1637: Anne Hutchinson is convicted of spreading heresy and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Her idea that believers are so united with the Holy Spirit that human categories (like moral law) are irrelevant, and her claim of direct revelation from the Holy Spirit rather than Scripture, caused many of her supporters (including influential minister John Cotton) to back off. Hutchinson was later killed in New York in an American Indian raid (see issue 41: The American Puritans).
November 7, 1837: Presbyterian minister and abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy is murdered in Alton, Illinois. A newspaper editor whose press was destroyed by vandals three times, he was accused of inciting slaves to revolt when he defended a black man burned at the stake by a mob. When another mob tried to burn down his warehouse, Lovejoy was shot trying to save it. His death helped to galvanize the abolitionist movement (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).
May 22, 337: Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, dies. Though known for calling the Council of Nicaea (which condemned the Arian heresy) and for beginning the process of Christianizing the empire, he waited until just before his death before he finally accepted baptism into the church (see issue 57: Converting the Empire).
May 22, 452: Leo, bishop of Rome, sends three angry letters to protest the Council of Chalcedon's recent elevation of Constantinople to the preeminent see in ...