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Christian History

Today in Christian History

February 29

February 29, 1528: Patrick Hamilton, a follower of Martin Luther who had returned to his native Scotland to preach the Reformation, is burned at the stake on orders from Cardinal David Beaton. In retaliation, Protestant nobles assassinated the cardinal. This event effectively began the Scottish Reformation (see issue 46: John Knox).

February 29, 1692: The Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts begin when Tituba, the female Indian servant of Reverend Samuel Parris, and Sarah Good are accused of witchcraft. Parris initiated the hysteria by declaring, "In this very church, God only knows how many devils there are." By the time other area pastors were able to calm the town, 19 suspected witches had been hanged and 150 imprisoned (see issue 41: American Puritans).

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April 17, 1492: Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella give Christopher Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia. Though he was also interested in wealth, Columbus saw himself as a "Christ-bearer" who would carry Christ across the ocean to people who had never heard the gospel (see issue 35: Christopher Columbus).

April 17, 1708: Ambrose, Archbishop of Moscow from 1768-1771 is born. In 1771, in the middle of an outbreak of the plague, Ambrose (who is known for his translations ...

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