655 Martin I, pope from 649 to 655, died in banishment. He was the last pope venerated as a martyr.
1059 At a Lateran synod Pope Nicholas II (d. 1061) issued the decree establishing the election of the Pope by cardinal bishops only.
1204 The Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople.
1534 Sir Thomas More (1478–1535), Lord Chancellor of England, refused to take the oath to the English succession. One year later Henry VIII indicted him for treason and had him beheaded.
1598 Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted toleration to his Protestant subjects. Extensive political rights were given to the Huguenots (a Protestant group to which Henry once belonged). The Huguenots retained the right to exercise their religion until the edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685.
1742 The first production of The Messiah by George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) took place in Dublin, Ireland, at the Fishamble Street Musick Hall.
1743 Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen Nuremberg (FAU), founded in 1742, was moved to Erlangen.
1805 Richard Armstrong, Presbyterian missionary to Hawaii and government worker, was born in McEwensville, Pennsylvania (d. 23 September 1860).
1828 J. B. (Joseph Barber) Lightfoot, English churchman and textual critic, was born (d. 21 December 1889).
1829 In the Emancipation Act the English Parliament granted freedom of religion to Roman Catholics. Within three weeks the first Catholic was elected to Parliament.
1836 A. J. (Adoniram Judson) Gordon, American Baptist clergyman, educator and writer, was born in New Hampton, New Hampshire (d. 2 February 1895).
1846 The constitution of the Eielsen Synod (Lutheran) was adopted.
1853 Loyola College in Baltimore was chartered under Roman Catholic support.
1904 Founded on this date in Watertown, Wisconsin, Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services, Inc. is the oldest Lutheran agency serving individuals with developmental disabilities in the United States.
1908 The New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church voted to remove its ban on dancing, card-playing and theater-going.
1917 Johann F. G. Harders, Lutheran missionary to the Apaches
in Arizona and an author, died (b. 18 December 1863, Kiel, Germany).
1926 Martin Louis Ernest Luecke, president of Concordia College (Fort Wayne, Indiana) died (b. 22 June 1859, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin).
1928 Ernest A. Kilbourne (b. 1865), American missionary to the Orient, died. In 1902 he went to Japan with Charles and Lettie Cowman, where they organized the Oriental Missionary Society in 1907.
1953 A Missouri Synod theological training program was begun in Tokyo, Japan.
1986 Pope John Paul II (1920–2005) visited a Jewish synagogue in Rome, marking the first such visit by a pope in recorded history.