March 28, 1515: Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila, founder of a reformed Carmelite order, is born. Though her contemporaries noted her practicality and administrative skills, her legacy stems from her mysticism, evidenced in her Autobiography, Way of Perfection, Book of Foundations, and Interior Castle.
March 28, 1592: Czech theologian Jan Comenius, educator of the Bohemian (or Moravian) Brethren, is born in Nivnice, Czechoslovakia. As today, the region was tormented by warfare, and Comenius believed the only way to bring peace was through education. He designed a plan for educating every province and country, which he presented in The Great Didactic(1632). Education, he believed, should be more than just learning facts and languages (as was the case in his day), it should mold Christian character and should be marked by observing the physical world. He is called "the father of modern education" (see issue 13: Jan Amos Comenius).
March 28, 1661: Scottish Parliament passes the Rescissory Act, repealing all church-state legislation created since 1633 (Charles I's reign). In essence, the act restored the Anglican episcopacy to Scotland and quashed Presbyterianism, which had been the national church since 1638. In 1690 Parliament again established the Church of Scotland as Presbyterian (see issue 46: John Knox).
March 28, 1885: The Salvation Army is officially organized in the USA. 5 years earlier Commissioner George Scott Railton and seven female Salvation Army officers arrived in New York City to begin expanding the organization in America. Though they were initially met with hostility and occasional violence, by 1883 the Army had expanded into 12 states. In 1886 the organization was endorsed by President Grover Cleveland during a visit to the White House by a Salvation Army delegation.
March 28, 1937: Billy Graham gets his first opportunity to preach when his teacher John Minder unexpectedly assigns him the Easter evening sermon. Graham tried to get out of it, saying he was unprepared, but Minder persisted. Desperately nervous, Graham raced through four memorized sermons, originally 45 minutes each, in eight minutes (see issue 65: The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).
May 29, 1453: Constantinople, capital of Roman Empire (and late Byzantine Empire) since Constantine founded the city in 324, falls to the Turks under Mehmed II, ending the Byzantine Empire. Muslims later rename the city Istanbul. The lavish cathedral that crowned the city, Hagia Sophia, was also converted into a mosque (see issue 74: Christians & Muslims).
May 29, 1546: In retaliation for the execution of Reformation preacher George Wishart, Scottish Protestants murder Cardinal David Beaton ...