August 28, 430: As Vandals invade Roman North Africa and overwhelm Hippo refugees, St. Augustine dies of a fever. Miraculously, his writings, including City of God survived the Vandal takeover, and his theology became one of the main pillars on which the church of the next 1,000 years was built (see issue 67:Augustine).
|Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy|
August 28, 1828: Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist and social reformer, is born. Though the Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated him in 1901, his later works emphasized Christian love and the teachings of Jesus.
August 29, 29: Since the fifth century, tradition has this as the date for the beheading of John the Baptist.
August 29, 70: Romans burn the gates, enter the Temple courtyards of Jerusalem, and destroy the temple by fire. Within a month, Jewish resistance ends.
August 29, 1792: Charles Grandison Finney, the father of modern revivalism, is born in Warren, Connecticut. The Old School Presbyterians resented Finney's modifications to Calvinist theology. The revivalistic Congregationalists, led by Lyman Beecher, feared that Finney was opening the door to fanaticism by allowing too much expression of human emotion. Others criticized his "scare tactics." Nevertheless, Finney paved the way for later mass-evangelists like Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham (see issue 20: Charles Grandison Finney).
August 31, 1535: Pope Paul II excommunicates English King Henry VIII, who had been declared by an earlier pope as "Most Christian King" and "Defender of the Faith" (see issue 48: Thomas Cranmer).
September 1, 256: North African bishops vote unanimously that Christians who had lapsed under persecution must be rebaptized upon reentering the church. The vote led to a battle between Cyprian, one of the North African bishops, and Stephen, bishop of Rome, who disagreed with the vote. Cyprian yielded, precipitating a longstanding argument for the Roman bishop's supremacy in the early church (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).
September 1, 1159: Adrian (or Hadrian) IV, the only English pope in history, dies.
September 1, 1957: At a massive rally in Times Square, Billy Graham concludes his 16-week evangelistic crusade in New York City, attended by nearly 2 million people (see issue 65: The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century).
September 2, 459 (traditional date): After spending 36 years on top of a pillar praying, fasting, and occasionally preaching, Simeon Stylites dies. At first he sat on a nine-foot pillar, but he gradually replaced it with higher and higher ones; the last was more than 50 feet tall. After his death, the Syrian ascetic—who had won the respect of both pope and emperor—inspired many imitators (see issue 64: Antony and the Desert Fathers).
September 2, 1192: The Third Crusade, which had the mission of retaking Jerusalem (it had fallen to Muslim general Saladin in 1187), ends with the signing of a treaty. Though Christians had not won back Jerusalem, Richard I (later king of England) negotiated access to the holy city (see issue 40: The Crusades).
September 2, 1973: Scholar, novelist, and devout Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55), dies at age 81 (see issue 7: C.S. Lewis; issue 78: J. R. R. Tolkien).
September 3, 590: Gregory I ("the Great") is consecrated pope. Historians remember him as the father of the medieval papacy and last of four Latin "Doctors of the Church." He was the first pope to aspire to secular power, the man for whom Gregorian Chant is named, and one of the main organizers of Roman liturgy and its music. He was also one of the prime promoters of monasticism.
September 3, 1752: This day and the next 10 never happen in Great Britain as the kingdom adopts the Gregorian Calendar (developed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582) to replace the inaccurate calendar created by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Riots break out as Brits argue the government just stole 11 days from their lives.