St Angela Merici

27 January

It is the feast day of St Angela Merici (above), who in the 16th century founded the order of Ursuline nuns, devoted to the education of girls from poor families.

Tonight in 1956, Martin Luther King, having just been released from prison for driving 25mph over the limit, received a death threat by phone. Feeling he could take no more, he prayed and heard an inner voice: ‘Martin Luther King, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And I will be with you, even until the end of the world.’

Today in 1649, the eight-day trial of King Charles I concluded. No defence witnesses had been heard, because the king refused to plead. He was sentenced the same day:

‘That the court being satisfied that he, Charles Stuart, was guilty of the crimes of which he had been accused, did judge him tyrant, traitor, murderer, and public enemy to the good people of the nation, to be put to death by the severing of his head from his body.’

Meanwhile, today in 1076, 24 bishops attempted to depose Pope Gregory VII. They claimed he had sworn never to become Pope, had been unlawfully elected, acted high-handedly toward bishops, and accepted the counsel of women. The Holy Roman Emperor wrote to him demanding he step down, starting his letter: ‘Henry, not by usurpation, but by God’s holy ordinance King, to Hildebrand, not Pope, but false monk.’ The Pope responded three weeks later by deposing the Emperor back.

Image: Lawrence OP

Time-travel news is written by Steve Tomkins and Simon Jenkins

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