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

Today in History

May 21

Constantine, Emperor, and Helena, his mother

996 Gregory V (ca. 970999; reigned 996999) crowned Otto III (9801002) as emperor.

1471 Albrecht Dürer, Reformation painter, artist, engraver and woodcut designer, was born in Nuremberg, Germany (d. 6 April 1528).

1527 Michael Sattler (b. ca. 1490), a former monk of Saint Peter in Freiburg, who had become a convert and spokesman for the Anabaptists, was burned at the stake in Rottenburg, Germany.

1536 The General Assembly of Geneva officially adopted the Reformation, separated from the Roman Catholic diocese and accepted the evangelical faith of the Swiss reformers. John Calvin arrived two months later. At the occasion of the official adoption, William Farel preached and mass was suspended.

1559 The first Lutherans were burned at the stake for heresy in Spain.

1688 Alexander Pope, poet and hymnist, was born in London (d. 30 May 1744).

1690 John Eliot, Puritan missionary to Native Americans, died in Roxbury, Massachusetts (b. 5 August 1604).

1711 Johann Gottfried Olearius, hymnist, died in Arnstadt (b. 1635, Halle).

1738 Charles Wesley (17071788), co-founder of Methodism with his brother John, converted to Christianity while sick with pleurisy.

1774 John Henkel, early American Lutheran pastor, was born (d. 30 December 1803).

1780 English Quaker and social reformer Elizabeth Fry was born in Norwich, England (d. 12 October 1845).

1813 Robert Murray M'Cheyne, Scottish clergyman, was born at Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 25 March 1843).

1832 Hudson Taylor, pioneer English missionary to China and the founder of the China Inland Mission, was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire (d. 3 June 1905).

1841 Joseph Parry, Welsh religious composer, was born at Merthyr Tydfile, Wales (d. 17 February 1903, Penarth, Wales).

1864 Joseph de Veuster (better known as Father Damien, 18401889) was ordained priest in Honolulu. In 1873 at his own request he was sent to a settlement of lepers on the island of Molokai, where he later contracted the disease and died.

1878 William Nelthorpe Hall, Methodist missionary to China, died (b. 19 April 1829, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England).

1881 Clara Barton (18211912), New England humanitarian, founded the American Red Cross.

1882 The first issue of The Lutheran Witness, edited by Pastor C. A. Frank (18461922), appeared. It was presented to the English Synod of Missouri in 1888 and approved as its official publication. In 1911 when the English Synod merged with the German Missouri Synod, it became the official English publication of the latter.

1935 Jane Addams, settlement worker, founder of Hull House and author, died (b. 6 September 1860).

1953 Henry Frederick Offermann, New Testament professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), died (b. 11 July 1866, Hanover, Germany).

1972 Wielding a hammer, Laszlo Toth damaged one of the world's most celebrated sculptures, Michelangelo's Pietà, in the Vatican at Rome.