303 - The first official Roman edict for the persecution of Christians was issued by Roman Emperor Galerius Valerius Maximianus.
1208 - St Francis of Assisi, 26, received his vocation in the Italian village of Portiuncula. He founded the Franciscans the following year, and is regarded by some Catholics as the greatest of all Christian saints.
1500 - Birth of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Reigning 1519-56, it was Charles who officially pronounced Martin Luther an outlaw and heretic.
1782 - Pioneer American Methodist bishop Francis Asbury wrote in his journal: 'It is my constitutional weakness to be gloomy and dejected; the work of God puts life into me.'
1967 - Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth wrote in a letter: 'The statement that God is dead comes from Nietzsche and has recently been trumpeted abroad by some German and American theologians. But the good Lord has not died of this; He who dwells in the heaven laughs at them.'
© 1987-2009, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from
Almanac of the Christian Church