Welcome to Concordia Historical Institute, Department of Archives and History for the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

Today in History

January 1

Circumcision and Name of Jesus

379 Basil the Great, early Eastern church father, died (b. ca. 330).

837 Peter of Atroa (773837), an abbot who was later canonized as a saint and an opponent of iconoclasm, died (b. 773).

1484 Ulrich (Huldrych) Zwingli, Swiss reformer, was born at Wildhaus, Switzerland (d. 11 October 1531).

1504 Caspar Creuziger, a co-worker of Martin Luther, was born at Leipzig (d. 16 November 1548, Wittenberg).

1519 Martin Luther was invited to appear at Altenburg. Karl von Miltitz had come with letters to princes and prelates to arrest Luther.

1536 The Reformation was established in Denmark.

1536 Robert Barnes (14951540), Bishop Edward Foxe (ca. 14961538) of Hereford and Archdeacon Richard Heath come to Wittenberg to discuss the Augsburg Confession (until April).

1559 King Christian III, who had established the Reformation in Denmark, died (b. 12 August 1503).

1649 Tobias Clausnitzer (1619–1684), Swedish chaplain and hymnist, preached a thanksgiving sermon for the Peace of Westphalia.

1723 Christian Gregor, hymnist, was born at Dirsdorf, near Perlau, Silesia (d. 6 November 1801, Berthelsdorf).

1750 Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, Lutheran pastor, congressman and speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was born in Trappe, Pennsylvania (d. 4 June 1801).

1782 Johann Christian Bach, son of Johann Sebastian Bach, hymnist, died (b. 5 September 1735, Leipzig).

1802 In a letter to the Danbury (Connecticut) Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson popularized the famous metaphor a wall of separation between church and state.

1819 Philip Schaff, hymn translator and American church historian, was born in Chur, Switzerland (d. 20 October 1893, New York City).

1825 Milton Valentine, professor and president at Pennsylvania College (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) and president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary (Gettysburg), was born near Uniontown, Maryland (d. 7 February 1906).

1830 Leonard Woolsey Bacon, hymnist and translator, was born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 1907).

1842 Thomas Morely, composer, was born in Oxford, England (d. 1891). The son of a bookbinder, he studied music under L. G. Hayne and became an accomplished organist. He served for a time at Saint Albans, Holborn, London, and contributed many tunes to the St. Albans Tune Book. [The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, comp. W. G. Polack (Saint Louis: CPH, 1942): 549]

1844 Wilhelm Sihler (18011885), pastor and founder of Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Indiana), preached his inaugural sermon in Pomeroy, Ohio.

1845 A small body of Swedish immigrants arrived in the Mississippi Valley in 1845, settling near Lockbridge, Jefferson County, Iowa, where cheap land was still very plentiful and calling their community New Sweden. In January 1848 they organized a congregation. Because no ordained pastor was available, they called one of their own number, M. F. Haakanson (Hokanson), to preach and administer the sacraments. He was a shoemaker who once had planned to be a missionary to the Laplanders. Though lacking theological education and somewhat vacillating doctrinally, he was a fluent preacher. From the outset the congregation was beset by proselytizers who tried to shake the convictions of Haakanson and disrupt the flock. Haakanson served the group until 1856, having been ordained in 1853. Only the timely arrival of stronger spiritual leaders from Sweden saved a remnant. New Sweden became the starting point of the future Augustana Lutheran Church.

1863 American President Abraham Lincoln freed all slaves in the Confederate states by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Churches throughout the North held candlelight vigils commemorating the event. Slaves in the Union were not freed until such amendments were added to the U. S. Constitution.

1865 James Rowe, American hymn writer, was born in Devonshire, England (d. 10 November 1933).

1871 The Church of Ireland was officially disestablished.

1878 The Ohio Synod (a member of the Synodical Conference) conferred an honorary doctor of divinity degree on C. F. W. Walther (18111887). Several years later the Ohio Synod accused the Missouri Synod of Crypto-Calvinism. This erupted into the Predestinarian Controversy, which caused the Ohio Synod to withdraw from the Synodical Conference.

1881 Fred Wahlers was born in Deepen, Hanover (d. 18 February 1965, Columbia Heights, Minnesota). A graduate of Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) in 1904, he served as a professor at Immanuel Lutheran College (Concord [19041905] and Greensboro[19051919], North Carolina); as pastor at Remsen, Iowa (19191922); and as professor at Concordia College (Saint Paul, Minnesota) from 1922 until his retirement in 1951.

1882 The first issue of  The Lutheran Witness was published.

1883 George Henry Trabert (18431931), hymn translator, began English work among Lutherans in the Twin Cities.

1886 Nathan Brown, Baptist missionary to India and linguist, died (b. 22 June 1807 at New Ipswich, New Hampshire).

1887 Vincent Taylor, British New Testament scholar and Methodist clergyman, was born (d. 1968). He started his first pastorate in 1909 and in 1930 moved into education, thereafter associating with such schools as the University of Leeds, London University and the University of Wales. He authored many scholarly works, specializing in the Gospels.

1907 The Methodist Episcopal Church mission work was transferred to the Board of Home Missions and Church Extension. Before that time the chief agencies through which the home missionary work of the church was conducted were the Missionary Society, the Board of Church Extension, the Womans Home Missionary Society and the National City Evangelization Union.

1907 American Congregational missionary Howard A. Walter (18831918), while teaching English at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, penned the words to the hymn, I Would Be True, for There Are Those Who Trust Me.

1908 Johann Friedrich Köstering, author of a history of the Saxon Immigration (Auswanderung der sächsischen Lutheraner im Jahre 1838), died (b. 20 February 1830).

1919 Lewis Hartsough (b. 31 August 1828), American Methodist clergyman and hymnist, died.

1923 Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (18901944) opened the famous 5,000-seat Angelus Temple in Los Angeles.

1937 J. Gresham Machen (b. 28 July 1881), American Presbyterian scholar and apologist, died.

1940 Maximilian Christopher Immanuel Fritschel, president of Wartburg Seminary (Dubuque, Iowa), died (b. 21 February 1868, the son of Sigmund at Saint Sebald, Iowa).

1949 Frederick Brand, vice-president of the LCMS (1917-1929), died (b. 9 September 1863).

1951 Henry Frederick Schuh (30 May 1890–21 December 1965) became president of the American Lutheran Church.

1955 English scholar and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), after nearly thirty years of teaching at Magdalen College, Oxford University, assumed the newly created professor's chair of medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University.

1959 Delmar Glock arrived in Okinawa to open LCMS work.

1959 The LCMS Foundation was incorporated in Missouri.

1961 The new American Lutheran Church began functioning. It was constituted in a convention on 22-24 April 1960 in Minneapolis. The new ALC resulted from the merger of the old American Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church.

1961 The Church of the Lutheran Confession formally elected its first officers in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.

1963 The Lutheran Church in America began full operation. It was formed from a merger of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Augustana Lutheran Church, the Suomi Synod and the United Lutheran Church in America.

1964 The National Evangelical Lutheran Church (Finnish) merged with the LCMS.

1971 The Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (Slovak) joined the Missouri Synod.

1988 The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America began operations, bringing together The American Lutheran Church (1960), the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in America.

1989 The Lutheran Church—Canada came into being as an independent church body. It was made up of the former Canadian districts of the Missouri Synod.

2004 Mikko Einar Juva, president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), died (b. 22 November 1918 in Kaarlela, Finland).