November 27, 1970: On a trip to the Philippines, Pope Paul VI is attacked by a dagger-wielding Bolivian painter disguised as a priest. Though the Vatican announced the pontiff was unhurt, he suffered a chest wound in the assault.
November 28, 1628: English preacher John Bunyan, author of more than 60 books, including the famous Pilgrim's Progress, is born in Elston, England (see issue 11: John Bunyan).
November 28, 1757: English Christian mystic William Blake is born in London. A poet, sculptor, and engraver, he was unschooled but fascinated with Milton, Shakespeare, Dante, and the Bible. He experienced visions all his life, beginning at age 4 when he saw God looking in his window.
November 28, 1863: The the first annual national Thanksgiving Day is celebrated. Back in October, President Lincoln had proclaimed the fourth Thursday of each November from that time forward as a national day of thanks.
November 29, 1898: Christian writer and scholar C.S. Lewis, one of modern Christianity's best-loved writers, is born in Belfast, Ireland (see issue 7: C.S. Lewis).
November 29, 1847: Missionary physician Marcus Whitman, his wife, and 12 others are killed by American Indians in Washington's Walla Walla valley. Whitman had recently returned from a 3,000-mile journey to convince the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions not to close down one of his three mission stations. He was successful, and returned with a fresh group of immigrants—and the measles virus. Many Indians died of the disease, some of them because Whitman gave them vaccinations. The Indians accused Whitman and other missionaries of black magic and murdered them (see issue 66: How the West Was Really Won).
November 29, 1223: Pope Honorius III formally confirms the "Regula bullata," which organizes the Franciscan Order. The Franciscans are marked by complete poverty and a mission of itinerant preaching (see issue 73: Thomas Aquinas).
November 29, 1780: The Congregational Church of Connecticut licenses Lemuel Hayes to preach, making him the first black minister certified by a predominantly white denomination. Hayes later became the first black minister to pastor a white church (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).
November 29, 1950: The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States is founded in Cleveland, Ohio, by 27 Protestant and seven Eastern Orthodox denominations. It has been one of America's strongest religious voices for social justice.
|Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I|
November 30, 1725: Martin Boehm is born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A Mennonite bishop, he was excluded from the Mennonite communion because of his liberal views and association with persons of other sects. He later joined with Philip W. Otterbein and others to form the United Brethren in Christ Church.
November 30, 1979: John Paul II attends an Eastern Orthodox service, the first pope in 1,000 years to do so (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).
|ST. THOMAS BECKET OF CANTERBURY|
December 1, 1521: Pope Leo X, enemy of Martin Luther (whom he excommunicated in 1520), dies. Though sincere in his faith and morally stronger than some other medieval popes, Leo squandered much of the papal fortune for his own pleasure (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).
December 1, 1917: Father Ed Flanagan founds Boys Town, a home for orphaned or delinquent children, in Omaha, Nebraska.
December 1, 1989: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope John Paul II meet at the Vatican, announcing an agreement to reestablish diplomatic ties. Gorbachev also denounced 70 years of religious oppression in his country (see issue 18: Russian Christianity).
December 2, 1697: St Paul's Cathedral in London, designed by Christopher Wren, is dedicated. It replaced a medieval cathedral at the site that had burned in the Great Fire of 1666.
December 2, 1859: Militant messianic abolitionist John Brown is hanged at Charles Town, (West) Virginia, for his attack on Harper's Ferry. He was convinced that only violent action could end the horrors of slavery (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).
December 2, 1980: Three American nuns and a lay churchwoman are killed by death squads in El Salvador. Some 70,000 Salvadorans are estimated to have died because of terrorists or civil war during the 1980s, including many Catholic clergy.
December 3, 1552: Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier, one of the founding members of his order and one of the greatest missionaries ever, dies awaiting admission to China. Before that, he had converted 700,000 people in Portugal, India, Indonesia, Japan, and elsewhere.
December 3, 1833: Ohio's Oberlin College, the first coeducational college in the United States and one of the first to offer education to blacks, opens. Its unique character was formed as a result of the revival movement of Charles Finney, who later served as president of the school (see issue 20: Charles Finney).
December 3, 1846: Presbyterian widow Leslie Prentice leads a pro-life rally outside the home of New York City's foremost abortionist, Anna Lohman, a.k.a. Madame Restell.