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The Independent Online
TODAY is the feast day of Saint John of Damascus, eighth century poet and theologian, the Eastern church's equivalent of St Thomas Aquinas. He wrote three treatises in support of sacred imagery against the Roman 'iconoclasts'. Legend has it that in revenge the Roman Christians told the Muslim caliph of Damascus that John had betrayed him. The caliph ordered his hand to be severed but John prayed before an icon (in verse) for his hand to be restored to his body; and it was.

27 March, 1625: James VI of Scotland, I of England (above), died. King of Scotland from 1567 and England from 1603, he had strong views on the divine right of kings, the Bible (Authorised King James version), John Donne (did not understand him), and tobacco ('A branch of the sin of drunkenness, which is the root of all sins').

1770: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Venetian Rococo painter, died.

1794: US navy was formed.

1871: First rugby international. Scotland defeated England.

1964: UN peace force took over in Cyprus.

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