Today in Christian History

October 9

October 9, 1000: Leif "the Lucky" Eriksson, who later evangelized Greenland, is reported to have been the first European to reach North America on this date. But while he was certainly a member of an early Viking voyage to "Vinland" (probably Nova Scotia), it's doubtful he led the initial expedition (see issue 63: Conversion of the Vikings).

October 9, 1747: David Brainerd, pioneer missionary to Native Americans in New England, dies of tuberculosis at age 29. His journal, published by Jonathan Edwards, inspired hundreds to become missionaries, including the "father of modern Protestant missions," William Carey (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).

October 9, 1776: 247 Spanish colonists consecrate their California mission of San Francisco, today a city of 725,000 (see issue 35: Christopher Columbus).

October 9, 1890: Pentecostal evangelist and national sensation Aimee Semple McPherson is born in Ontario, Canada (see issue 58: Pentecostalism).

October 9, 1958: Pope Pius XII, whose record of protecting Jews in 1940s Germany is hotly debated and who formally defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1950), dies.

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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 ...

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