Today in Christian History

October 20

October 20, 751: Pepin the Short, son of Frankish hero Charles Martel and father of Charlemagne, deposes the last of the Merovingian kings and becomes the first king of the Carolingian dynasty. He was crowned by Pope Stephen II, who later asked for his help when threatened by Lombards of northern Italy. Pepin defeated the Lombards, then ceded the territory he captured back to the pope, laying the foundation for the papal states.

October 20, 1349: Pope Clement VI condemns self-flagellation, speaking out against a veritable flagellation frenzy. The practice, first taught by the Benedictine monk Peter Damian in the mid-eleventh century, gained popularity during the thirteenth-century Black Death scare and continues today in isolated incidents.

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November 18, 1095: Pope Urban II opens the Council of Clermont to reform the Church and to plan the First Crusade. The 200 bishops attending the council decreed that those traveling to Jerusalem would be granted a plenary indulgence (see issue 40: The Crusades).

November 18, 1302: Pope Boniface VIII publishes "Unam Sanctam," declaring there is "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" outside of which there is "neither salvation nor remission of sins." Emphasizing the pope's position as Supreme Head ...

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