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Christian History

Today in Christian History

October 4

October 4, 1582: Spanish mystic and founder of a reformed Carmelite order Teresa of Avila dies. A model of spiritual discipline, she experienced visions of Jesus, wrote several mystical books (including her autobiography), and possessed a genius for administration.

October 4, 1669: Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, known as the "painter of the soul" for his unsurpassed Christian art (including "The Return of the Prodigal Son," c. 1668), dies.

October 4, 1890: Catherine Booth, English "mother of the Salvation Army," dies of cancer. Besides preaching as a Salvation Army minister, she persuaded her husband, William, to make women an integral part of Salvation Army leadership and work (see issue 26: William and Catherine Booth).

October 4, 1965: Paul VI becomes the first pope to visit the United States and to address the United Nations.

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December 1, 1170: Banished earlier by king Henry II because he sided with the church against the crown, archbishop of Canterbury Thomas a 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 faith ...

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