September 20, 1224: On or about this date, on Italy's secluded Mount Alvernia, Francis of Assisi reportedly prayed, "O Lord, I beg of you two graces before I die—to experience in myself in all possible fullness the pains of your cruel passion, and to feel for you the same love that made you sacrifice yourself for us." Soon his heart was filled with both joy and pity, and wounds appeared on his hands, feet, and side. He reportedly carried these scars (called stigmata) until his death in 1226 (see issue 42: Francis of Assisi).
September 20, 1565: Spanish sea captain Menendez reportedly wipes out French Huguenots in Florida (see issue 71: Huguenots).
September 20, 1883: Albrecht Alt, German Lutheran scholar of the Old Testament, is born in Stuebach, Bavaria. His book Biblia Hebraica, which he edited with R. Kittel, became the standard critical text of the Old Testament for Bible students.
May 29, 1453: Constantinople, capital of Roman Empire (and late Byzantine Empire) since Constantine founded the city in 324, falls to the Turks under Mehmed II, ending the Byzantine Empire. Muslims later rename the city Istanbul. The lavish cathedral that crowned the city, Hagia Sophia, was also converted into a mosque (see issue 74: Christians & Muslims). Today it is a museum and restoration work is being done to preserve both the Muslim and Christian layers of religious history.