Today in Christian History

September 14

September 14, 258: Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, is beheaded during the persecution under Roman Emperor Valerian (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

September 14, 407: Early church father John Chrysostom, the greatest preacher of his age, dies in exile when, in poor health, he is forced to travel on foot in bad weather (see issue 44: John Chrysostom).

September 14, 1321: Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy, dies (see issue 70: Dante Alighieri).

September 14, 1741: George Frederick Handel finishes composing "The Messiah," begun only 24 days earlier.

September 14, 1814: Francis Scott Key, Episcopal layman and cofounder of the American Sunday School Union, is inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the war of 1812. The song didn't become the national anthem until 1931.

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December 11, 1475: Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici, who would become Pope Leo X, is born in Florence, Italy. He is best known for his sale of indulgences to help rebuild St. Peter’s Basillica, a practice opposed by Martin Luther in his famous 95 Theses. The dispute between Leo and Luther over indulgences would culminate in Luther’s excommunication by papal bull in 1521, ushering in the Protestant Reformation. Leo died later that same year. Though Leo lived lavishly and was known for political ...

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