Orthodox priests showing painting of Saint Mary, during the 2015 Timkat ceremony

19 January

Today marks the start of Timkat (above), the biggest festival of the year in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Over the next three days, people celebrate the baptism of Christ with colourful processions, gifts for children, music, dancing and exuberant leaping into pools of water to renew baptismal vows.

Today also belongs to St Fillan, an 8th century Irish monk who lived in Scotland. He offered a cure for insanity by dropping the afflicted person into a well, and then getting them to spend the night tied to the foot of his bed.

Today in 1565, Diego Laynez, who became the second leader of the Jesuits following the death of the founder, Ignatius Loyola, himself died. A few years earlier, a group of cardinals tried to elect him Pope, but he sensibly fled Rome before they could realise their plan.

Image: Jean Rebiffé

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

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