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Christian History

Today in Christian History

June 5

June 5, 754: English monk Boniface, missionary to Germany, dies with 50 other Christians in an attack by angry pagans. The missionary, famous for smashing pagan idols, also established a monastery at Fulda that is still the center of Roman Catholicism in Germany.

June 5, 988 (traditional date): Rus's Grand Prince Vladimir orders his people to be baptized into the Orthodox Christian faith. He personally oversaw the baptism of the majority of the population of Kiev, the capital of his realm (see issue 18: Russian Christianity).

June 5, 1191: England's Richard I (the Lion-hearted) of England sets sail for Muslim-controlled Acre in the Third Crusade. After helping Philip II, king of France, capture the city, Richard took Jaffa and negotiated Christian access to Jerusalem, also Muslim-controlled (see issue 40: The Crusades).

June 5, 1305: Bertrand de Got, who as Pope Clement V (1305-1314) moved the seat of papal power to Avignon, France, was elected pope.

June 5, 1414: Bohemian reformer Jan Hus appears before the Council of Constance. Instead of allowing him to state his beliefs, the council only permitted him to answer trumped-up charges of heresy. Hus was condemned and burned the following July (see issue 68: Jan Hus)

June 5, 1661: English mathematician and physicist Isaac Newton is admitted as a student to Trinity College, Cambridge. But the "greatest scientific genius the world has ever known" actually spent less of his life studying science than theology, writing 1.3 million words on biblical subjects (see our special section on Newton in issue 30: Women in the Medieval Church).

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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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