It was on this day in 1453 that Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, cruel and patient, laid siege the great Christian city of Constantinople.
He erected a fortress across the strait from the city, brought up his warships, and unleashed his dread janissaries--enslaved Christians who had been trained into an fearsome fighting force. Mehmed also unveiled a massive cast cannon that could hurl 500 pound stones a mile. The walls of the once invincible Constantinople were no match for this unprecedented assault. The city which had been ruled by nearly one hundred Christian emperors since Constantine had dedicated the city in 311, was forced to capitulate.
With the defenses shattered, Mehmed's enraged Muslim hoard swarmed into the city, murdering the citizenry indiscriminately. Churches were looted and the sacramental chalices slaked the marauder's throats. Christians were ravished on the altars. The land where Paul and Barnabas preached the Gospel, a land that had been the heart and soul of the Christian world for a more than a millennium, had become the latest in a long line of Islamic conquests. Alas, it would not be the last.