1520 - German reformer Martin Luther publicly burned Pope Leo X's bull, "Exsurge Domine," which had demanded that Luther recant his "protestant" heresies, including that of justification by faith alone rather than through purchased indulgences or other papal favors.
1593 - Italian archaeologist Antonio Bosio first descended into the subterranean Christian burial chambers, located under the streets of Rome. Bosio was dubbed the "Columbus of the Catacombs," and his books long remained the standard work on the underground tombs of the early Roman Church.
1854 - The second construction of the structure known as St Paul's Outside the Walls was consecrated. The church is one of four major basilicas in Rome. The original edifice was erected by Roman emperor Constantine in 324, and rebuilt as a larger basilica in the late fourth century by the Emperor Honorius (395).
1905 - "The Gift of the Magi," a short story by William Sydney Porter, 43, was first published. Known by his pen name, O. Henry, Porter's writings were characterized by trick endings, making him a master of short story telling.
1956 - English Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter: 'In so far as the things unseen are manifested by the things seen, one might from one point of view call the whole material universe an allegory.'
© 1987-2008, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from
Almanac of the Christian Church