Stained glass of the murder of Thomas Becket

29 December

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Today in 1170 Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral (pictured above in the cathedral). He had been appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by his friend, King Henry II, purely to aid Henry in his power struggle with the church. Unfortunately, Thomas was no sooner in the job than he got an unexpected attack of religion, and refused to advance the king’s power at the expense of the church. He died after an outburst by the king against Becket was taken as a license to kill by four of his knights:

‘Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?’ King Henry II

William Gladstone was born today in 1809. Four times prime minister of Great Britain, he was brought up with the evangelical faith of his mother, but became a devout High Anglican before entering Parliament.

It is the feast day of St Marcellus the Righteous, who died sometime around the year 485. The fact that Marcellus is distinguished even from other saints by such a title is quite an achievement. He did it by organizing the monks in his abbey, near Constantinople, to worship in rotation, so there was never a minute of the day when God’s praises were not being sung in his chapel. They were known as the ‘sleepless monks’.

Tonight in 1940, London endured the ‘second great fire of London’, during a night of intense bombing during the Blitz. An iconic photograph of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, rising above the smoke and flames, was captured by the light of incendiary bombs.

The Reformed city council of Basle, Switzerland, had a public debate with the Anabaptists today in 1529. Not surprisngly, it declared the Anabaptists the losers.

Image: TTaylor, Wikimedia Commons

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