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

Today in History

February 23

Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Martyr

303 Diocletian (ca. 245–ca. 312) began his great persecution, issuing edicts that called for church buildings to be destroyed, sacred writings burned, Christians to lose legal rights and clergy to be imprisoned and forced to sacrifice to the emperor. The following year he went even further, ordering all people to sacrifice to the emperor on pain of death.

1455 Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1398–1468) began printing the Bible, the first book printed on a press with movable type.

1662 Johann Crueger, hymnist, died at Berlin (b. 9 April 1598).

1685 George Frideric Handel, musician and composer, was born at Halle (d. 14 April 1759).

1704 Andrew Grassman, traveling missionary in Germany, Sweden, Lapland and Greenland, was born in Senftleben, Moravia (d. 25 March 1783).

1719 Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, the first German Lutheran missionary to India, died (b. 24 June 1683).

1813 Franz Delitzsch, Lutheran Old Testament scholar, was born at Leipzig (d. 4 March 1890).

1816 John E. Bode, Anglican clergyman, was born in London (d. 6 October 1874, Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire, England).

1848 John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, died (b. 11 July 1767, Braintree, Massachusetts). He wrote Version of the Psalms and a number of hymns, some of which appeared in the 1841 Christian Psalmist.

1849 Hans Gerhard Stub, professor and president of Luther Theological Seminary (Saint Paul, Minnesota) and president of the Norwegian Synod, was born near Muskego, Wisconsin (d. 1 August 1931).

1877 Karl Gustav Henry Kretzmann, curator of Concordia Historical Institute and secretary of the Atlantic District, was born in Dudleytown, near Seymour, Indiana (d. 3 April 1949, Saint Louis).

1891 Leopold Moczygemba, a Polish-born Catholic priest chiefly recognized as the founder of the first permanent Polish settlement in the United States at Panna Maria, Texas, died (b. 18 October 1824).

1904 Pope Pius X (18351914) issued the Apostolic Letter Scripturae Sacrae, which empowered the Pontifical Biblical Commission to confer college degrees in scriptural studies within the Roman Catholic Church.

1923 Immanuel Lutheran College, North Adelaide, Australia, opened.

1937 Hans Achelis, German church historian and professor at Königsberg, Halle, Bonn and Leipzig, died (b. 16 March 1865) in Leipzig. [German Wikipedia article]

1961 The National Council of Churches endorsed artificial contraception as an aid to family planning.

1968 John William Behnken, president of the LCMS from 1935 to 1962, died in Saint Louis, Missouri (b. 19 March 1884, Cypress, Texas).

1995 Roland P. Wiederaenders Sr. died in Clifton, Texas (b. 11 July 1908). He graduated from Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) in 1936 and served as a pastor in Bammel, San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas. He served on the Missouri Synod Board for Parish Education, as vice-president and president of the Texas District (19501959) and as synodical vice-president (19591973). He retired in 1974.