February 4, 856: Rabanus Maurus, a theologian and educator mentored by Alcuin, dies at age 80. His "retirement" from school administration at age 66 was followed by a career as archbishop of Mainz, Germany.
February 4, 1555: English reformer and theologian John Rogers becomes the first Protestant martyr under "Bloody" Mary I when he is burned at the stake for heresy (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).
February 4, 1906: Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is born in Breslau, Germany. Author of The Cost of Discipleship (1937) and Letters from Prison (1944), he opposed the Nazis as one of Germany's Confessing Church leaders. Believing that Hitler was like a madman "driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders," he was privy various a plots to kill the leader. A particular assassination attempt was discovered around the time Bonhoeffer was arrested, though it is unclear whether he was directly connected to it. Bonhoeffer was imprisoned and eventually hanged—just days before Allied troops liberated the concentration camp where he was held (see issue 32: Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
March 31, 1146: French monastic reformer and theologian Bernard of Clairvaux preaches for the Second Crusade at Vezelay, France. He urged his audience to "take the sign of the cross," and so many responded that he ran out of cloth crosses to pass out (he ended up tearing pieces from his own habit to stitch on the shirts of would-be crusaders). When the crusade proved to be a failure, people were shocked that a venture supported by such a powerful man of God could go wrong (see issue 40: The Crusades). ...