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Christian History

Today in Christian History

October 18

October 18, 1405: Enea Silvio Piccolomini (a.k.a. Pope Pius II) is born at Corsignano, Italy. Though faulted for taking radical and sometimes contradictory positions on issues, he was one of the best popes of his age: he wrote an important study of geography and ethnography, a popular love story, and an autobiography. He died in 1464 while planning a battle against the Turks, who controlled Constantinople.

October 18, 1685: French King Louis XIV issues the Edict of Fontainebleu, which revokes the Edict of Nantes and once again forbids Huguenots (French Protestants) from worshipping (see issue 71: Huguenots).

October 18, 1867: The United States purchases Alaska for $7.2 million, or about 2 cents an acre. Ten years later, after lax military administration had only worsened the territory's moral condition, an army private stationed in Alaska begged, "Send out a shepherd who may reclaim a mighty flock from the error of their ways, and gather them into the true fold." Presbyterian missionary Sheldon Jackson answered the call and spent decades raising funds, building schools and churches, and crusading for better laws (see issue 66: How the West Was Really Won).

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August 10, 70: Roman troops, sent by Emperor Vespasian to put down a Jewish rebellion, break through the walls of Jerusalem and destroy the temple. Some said that the event occurred on the same day of the year as the earlier destruction of Solomon's temple by Babylonians.

August 10, 1760: Philip Embury, the first Methodist clergyman to come to America, arrives in New York. August 10, 1815

August 10, 1886: Joseph M. Scriven, Irish Plymouth Brethren hymnwriter, dies. He spent his life performing ...

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