September 24, 787: The Second Council of Nicea begins under Pope Hadrian I. The council condemned iconoclasm. The Roman Catholic Church considers this as the seventh of the 21 ecumenical councils; the Eastern Orthodox churches consider this the last of the ecumenical councils (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).
September 24, 1757: Jonathan Edwards, perhaps America's most brilliant theologian and a father of American revivalism, becomes president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). He served as president until his death in 1758 (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).
September 24, 1794: Russian Orthodox priest-monk Father Juvenaly, his brother Stephen, and eight other monks arrive at Kodiak Island, Alaska. After two years of ministry, the team had led 12,000 Alaskans to embrace the gospel. Juvenaly then extended his mission to the mainland, where he was reportedly martyred in 1796.
December 1, 1170: Banished earlier by King Henry II because he sided with the church against the crown, archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket returns, electrifying all of England. Henry orders his former friend's execution, and Becket is slain by four knights while at vespers December 29. (T.S. Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral is a fascinating exploration of the event.)
December 1, 1521: Pope Leo X, enemy of Martin Luther (whom he excommunicated in 1520), dies. Though sincere in his ...