October 28, 312: According to tradition, on this date the 32-year-old Roman emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius at Milvian Bridge. Before the battle, Constantine had seen the symbol of Jesus, chi-rho, in a vision, accompanied with the words "By this sign conquer." He is considered Rome's first Christian emperor (see issue 57: Converting the Empire).
October 28, 1646: At Nonantum, Massachusetts, missionary John Eliot preaches the first worship service for Native Americans in their native language.
October 28, 1949: Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador's Auca Indians, writes in his journal the most famous of his sayings: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
October 28, 1958: The Roman Catholic patriarch of Venice, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, is unexpectedly elected pope, taking the name John XXIII. Expected to be a mere caretaker in office, he became one of the Catholic church's most activist popes, convening the Second Vatican Council in 1962 (see issue 65: The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).
October 28, 1992: The Korean Hyoo-go (Korean for "rapture") movement, led by prophet Lee Jang Rim, predicts that this is the day of the rapture (see issue 61: The End of the World).
May 17, 1844: German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen is born. His controversial theory about the Pentateuch—that it is a compilation of four literary sources (J, Jahwist; E, Elohist; D, Deuteronomist; and P, Priestly Editor), laid the foundation for most subsequent Old Testament criticism.
May 17, 1971: The musical Godspell, based on Matthew's gospel, opens at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York.