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

Today in History

April 17

326 Alexander of Alexandria, Patriarch of Alexandria, died.

617 Donnán of Eigg, Celtic Christian martyr, patron saint of Eigg, died.

1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain gave Christopher Columbus (14511506) a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.

1521 Martin Luther spoke to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.

1539 George, Duke of Saxony, defender of the Roman Catholic position at the time of the Reformation, died (b. 27 August 1471).

1620 Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, was born (d. 12 January 1700).

1640 Reorus Torkillus (15991643), Swedish Lutheran pastor, arrived in America at New Sweden (Fort Christie or Fort Christina). He was the first Lutheran pastor to arrive in North America.

1680 Kateri Tekakwitha, first Native American to receive beatification, died (b. 1656).

1690 Kaspar Ziegler, hymnist, died in Germany (b. 15 September 1621, Leipzig).

1708 Ambrose, Archbishop of Moscow from 1768 to 1771, was born.

1713 David Hollatz, Pomeranian Lutheran dogmatician, died (b. 1648).

1816 Thomas Hazlehurst, English Methodist chapel builder, was born (d. 14 July 1876).

1821 Eurotas Parmelee Hastings, missionary to Ceylon, was born in Clinton, New York (d. 31 July 1890).

1865 Ursula Julia Ledóchowska, Polish-Austrian Catholic nun who founded the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, was born (d. 29 May 1939).

1891 Stephen Klingmann, president of the Michigan Synod, died (b. 3 September 1833, Gau Angelloch, Baden).

1912 The West Virginia Synod was organized through efforts of the Maryland Synod. It belonged to the General Synod and became a part of the United Lutheran Church in 1918.

1920 Robert G. Bratcher, principal translator of the American Bible Society's Today's English Version, also known as the Good News Bible, was born.

1920 August Schlechte of Chicago, founder of Missouri Synod city mission or institutional work, died (b. 1868).

1937 With Mussolini's troops occupying Ethiopia, Sudan Interior Mission missionaries who had started a small church among the previously devil-worshiping Wallamo tribe were forced to leave the country. The missionaries returned in July 1943 to find that, despite severe persecution by Italian soldiers, the Christian community had grown from 48 members to 18,000.

1941 The Zamzam, a freighter flying the Egyptian flag, was shelled and sunk by the German raider Tamesis (Atlantis). Though the Zamzam carried 201 passengers, including 144 missionaries and their families bound for Africa, there were no casualties. The survivors were picked up by the raider and transferred to the Dresden, which landed them at Sainte Jean de Luz in German-occupied France on 20 May.

1950 Pangarisikuppam Lutheran station was opened in Pernambat, India.

1960 Lettie B. (Mrs. Charles E.) Cowman (b. 1870), pioneer missionary to Japan, died.

1977 William Cardinal Conway, Roman Catholic archbishop of Armagh, Northern Ireland, and primate of all Ireland, died (b. 22 January 1913). He was head of the Catholic Church in Ireland during the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

1987 Cornelius Van Til, Reformed apologist, died at age 91 (b. 3 May 1895).