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Today in History

February 28

468 Pope Saint Hilary (a.k.a. Hilarus, Hilarius), 46th Bishop of Rome according to Roman Catholic tradition, died.

1066 Westminster Abbey, the most famous church in England, opened its doors for the first time.

1551 Martin Bucer, reformer of Strasbourg, died in England (b. 11 November 1491 Sélestat).

1638 The National Covenant was signed by the Scottish Presbyterians (called Covenanters because of their solemn agreements for religious and political purposes).

1759 Pope Clement XIII (16931769) granted permission for the Bible to be translated into all the languages of the Roman Catholic states.

1784 The English founder of Methodism, John Wesley (17031791), formally chartered the movement thereafter known as Wesleyan Methodism.

1795 Benjamin Kurtz, president of the General Synod, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (d. 29 December 1865).

1799 Samuel Simon Schmucker, Gettysburg theological professor, was born in Hagerstown, Maryland (d. 26 July 1873).

1807 Robert Morrison (17821834) sailed from Britain to become the first Protestant missionary to China.

1815 Karl Heinrich Graf, German Protestant Old Testament critic, was born at Muhlhausen, in Alsace (d. 16 July 1869).

1835 “Our Heavenly Father, Hear” was written by James Montgomery (17711854).

1846 Carl Adolf Frank, clergyman and first editor of The Lutheran Witness, was born in Wimpfen, Germany (d. 18 January 1922).

1853 Paul John Theodor Roesener was born in Berlin, Germany (d. 17 February 1939, Mokena, Illinois). He immigrated to America in 1874 and graduated from Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis). He served congregations in Rose Hill, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Altenburg, Missouri; and New York City. He served as president of the Western District of the Missouri Synod, vice-president of the Atlantic District and a member of the Missouri Synod Board of Indian Missions, the Board of Higher Education and the Board of Control for Concordia College (Bronxville, New York).

1857 Alfred Firmin Loisy, French Roman Catholic theologian, was born in Marne (d. 1 June 1940).

1865 Wilfred T. Grenfell, medical missionary to Labrador, was born at Parkgate (Cheshire), England (d. 9 October 1940).

1870 The first physical plant for Concordia Publishing House (Saint Louis) was dedicated.

1873 The Society of Mary (the Marist Fathers) was officially sanctioned by Pope Pius IX. This Roman Catholic religious order, founded in 1816, seeks to unite the work of education with missions.

1875 Jean-Claude Marie Colin, who founded the Marist Fathers in 1816, died (b. 7 August 1790).

1880 Friedrich Wilhelm Tobias Steimle, who helped found the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of New York, died (b. 1827, Württemberg).

1898 Edwin T. Bernthal was born in Saint Louis, Missouri (d. 21 November 1970, Winter Haven, Florida). He graduated from Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) in 1920 and served his entire fifty-year ministry as pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Epiphany, Detroit, Michigan. During World War II he was appointed by LCMS President Behnken to represent the Missouri Synod in Washington, D.C. He coordinated work for the synods Army & Navy Commission. He also served on the Board of Directors of the synod from 1953 to 1969 and was a member of the Valparaiso University board of directors for many years.

1906 Henry W. Buck, leader in the Lutheran Laymen's League and member of the Missouri Synod Board of Directors was born (d. 20 April 1960).

1944 Ernst Henry Engelbrecht, professor at Concordia Teachers College (River Forest, Illinois) and field secretary for the Walther League, died (b. 23 December 1870, Farmers Retreat, Indiana).

1944 Nazi soldiers invaded the home of Dutch Christian Corrie ten Boom (18921983) and arrested the family on the charge of harboring Jews.

1960 The first meeting of congregational delegates from the LCMS mission effort in Hong Kong was held.

2013 Pope Benedict XVI resigned is office, the first pope to do so since 1415.