St Agnes of Rome

21 January

Today is St Agnes’s Day, patron saint of chastity (pictured above). She died a martyr around the year 300, at the age of 13, having rejected all suitors. If, young ladies, you stuck a pin in your nightie last night while saying the Lord’s Prayer in Latin, and went to bed without any supper, you will have dreamed of the man you are to marry.

They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight,
And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
John Keats, ‘The Eve of St Agnes’

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin, died today in 1924. Though he decreed religious toleration after the Russian revolution, he tried to destroy Christianity to stop it becoming a focus for the opposition of millions of starving peasants. He banned church schools, Sunday schools and pastoral visiting. Monasteries were converted to barracks.

Today saw the first believers’ baptism of modern times in Zürich, Switzerland, in 1525. With Protestantism less than eight years old, a handful of its most radical proponents concluded that baptism was an adults-only activity, and rebaptised each other. For this crime, most of them were executed.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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

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