September 29, 1413: Archbishop Arundel condemned Sir John Oldcastle, a follower of John Wycliffe, of heresy. He was given 40 days to recant, during which he escaped and hid in Wales. He remained hidden for a year, until the offer of a large reward prompted someone to betray him. He was then captured and roasted to death.
September 29, 1978: Three weeks after being elected, Pope John Paul I dies while reading a devotional in bed.
January 28, 814: Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, dies. He was, in his day, not only one of the greatest political rulers of all time, he was, in his day, more influential in church matters than the pope. He saw his task as secular ruler "to defend with our arms the holy Church of Christ against attacks by the heathen from any side and against devastation by the infidels.
January 28, 1547: England's Henry VIII, who split the church of England from Rome and presided over the founding of ...