1483 - Pope Sixtus IV launched the Spanish Inquisition, placing it under joint direction of the Church and state. Tomas de Torquemada, 63, was appointed Grand Inquisitor in charge of removing Jews and Muslims from Spain.
1582 - Birth of German scholar Johann Gerhard, most influential of the 17th century Lutheran theologians. His writings attained a European circulation second only to the Bible and Thomas a Kempis' "Imitation of Christ."
1651 - French scientist Blaise Pascal wrote in a letter: 'Jesus Christ suffered and died to sanctify death and suffering; he has been all that was great, and all that was abject, in order to sanctify in himself all things except sin, and to be the model of every condition.'
1792 - Birth of John Bowring, English statesman, linguist, merchant, theologian and author of the hymn, "In the Cross of Christ I Glory."
1812 - In Washington Co., PA, the first of seven eventual conferences convened, leading ultimately to the founding in 1836 of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States.
© 1987-2008, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from Almanac of the Christian Church