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15th Century

15th Century

• 1414 -1417 - The Council of Constance seeks to end the Great Schism, the embarrassment of having two or three popes competing for authority and power. This same council burns Czech priest John Hus as a heretic and condemns John Wycliffe posthumously.

• Religious beliefs continue to be matters of political concern.

• Thomas a' Kempis' classic Imitation of Christ written.

• 1431 -- French peasant woman Joan of Arc is burned at Rouen as a witch.

• 1453 -- The Turks capture Constantinople and turn St. Sophia Basilica into a mosque. The many scholars fleeing west encourage a revival of classical learning - the Renaissance.

• 1453 -- Johann Gutenburg develops his printing press and prints the first Bible.

• 1479 -- The Inquisition against heresy in Spain set up by Ferdinand and Isabella with papal approval. Under Torquemada Jews are given 3 months to become Christians or leave the country.

• 1498 -- Savonarola burned. He was a great preacher of reform in Florence, Italy.

• Florence under the Medicis becomes the center of Renaissance humanism. Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci all create important works of art with Christian themes. At the same time the Medicis become supporters of a papacy more worldly than ever before.

• The Vatican Library is founded by Nicholas V.

• 1492 -- Columbus' voyage and a new age of exploration and Christian expansion begin.

Originally published May 21, 2010.

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