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Christian History

Today in Christian History

April 18

April 18, 1161: Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, dies. He repeatedly quarreled with his superiors about church appointments and other political questions, but he the influential French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux supported him. Theobald helped strengthen the English church and build the career of Thomas Becket, whom he recommended as chancellor to England's newly crowned King Henry.

April 18, 1587: English Protestant historian John Foxe, author of Actes and Monuments of Matters Happenning to the Church (the shorter version is now known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs), dies at age 71 (see issue 72: How We Got Our History).

April 18, 1874: Having died nearly a year earlier (May 1, 1873) in what is now northern Zambia, missionary-explorer David Livingstone (whose remains had been brought, as his tombstone reads, "by faithful hands over land and sea") is interred in London's Westminster Abbey (see issue 56: David Livingstone).

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May 23, 1430: French mystic and military hero Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians. They sold her to English, who tried her for sorcery and heresy (see issue 30: Women in the Medieval Church).

May 23, 1498: Italian reformer Girolamo Savonarola, who preached aggressively against the corruption of northern Italy's church and society, is hanged for heresy and his body burned. After gaining fame for successful prophecies, he sought to establish an ascetic Christian community. Scholars still debate ...

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