December 26, 795 – Pope Leo III

Julius Caesar began the concept of being an emperor and his successors for over 1000 years kept the idea. The Romans “crowned themselves” by having the support of the army or other factions. While there were kings and queens after the fall of the Roman Empire, it wasn’t until Christmas Day in 800 AD when Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman …

December 25, 354 – Chronography of 354

I no more believe that Jesus was born on the 25th of December than a man in the moon but the first time we see 25th recorded was in 354 AD in something called the Chronography of 354. A “chronography” was a type of almanac and this particular one was written by a guy named Filocalus for a wealthy Roman …

December 24, 1784 – American Methodist Episcopal Church

The Lovely Lane Meeting House in Baltimore, MD was the site on December 24, 1784 where the American Methodist Episcopal Church was formed. John Wesley apparently didn’t like the idea of the Americans starting their own church organization, but they ordained Francis Asbury as their first bishop anyway (smart choice). The Methodist Episcopal Church would eventually (after various mergers) become …

December 23, 1193 – Thorlac Thorhallson

How many us can name the patron saint of Iceland? If you raised your hand and said Thorlac Thorhallson you’d get it right. He started the first monastery in Iceland in the 1100’s and died on December 23, 1193. On the 1,000th anniversary of the cathedral where St. Thorlac worshiped, the local diocese rebuilt this “new” cathedral in the 1950’s.

December 22, 1899 – Dwight L. Moody

If there was a Christian Hall of Fame Dwight L. Moody gets my vote to be included. Born and raised in Northfield, Massachusetts, in this house called Green Pastures, he eventually moved to Chicago where his efforts to win people to Christ was phenomenal. Some estimates say he led over 1 million people to the Lord in addition to establishing …

December 21, 1807 – John Newton

What is the most famous hymn ever written? My guess is Amazing Grace. The story of its author John Newton (who died on December 21, 1807) and his conversion on a slave-trading ship is pretty well known. He wanted to become a priest in the Church of England but was rebuffed by the archbishop.  However, Newton was persistent and was …

December 20, 1552 – Katie von Bora Luther

I suppose one of the benefits of being ex-communicated as a priest from the Roman Catholic Church is you can get a wife. Such was the case for Martin Luther when he became engaged and married on the same day to Katharina von Bora. Katie, as she was known, was a nun who followed Luther’s ideas of “faith alone” for …

December 19, 1947 – Dead Sea Scrolls

The single greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century must be the Dead Sea Scrolls on December 19, 1947. The pieces and parts of copies of the Bible were found in jars in various caves near the ancient city of Qumran on the West Bank near the Dead Sea. This is a picture of Cave 4 where the mother-load of …

December 18, 1855 – Archdeacon John Philpot

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs details the many, many Protestants that were killed when “Bloody” Mary I became Queen of England after her half-brother Edward VI died. Her systematic killing of the hierarchy of the Church of England included the Archdeacon of Winchester John Philpot on December 18, 1555. On his way to be chained and burned at the stake he …

December 17, 1917 – Bolsheviks confiscate

In case some of us forget what communism looks like, in Russia on December 17, 1917 Vladimir Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks took church land and buildings, took pastors off the state payroll and abolished all religious schools. They even made marriage a civil union and not a church union.