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

Today in History

May 31

The Visitation

1559 The Scottish Presbyterians (called Covenanters because of their solemn agreements for religious and political purposes) signed their Second Covenant at Perth.

1567 Guido de Bres (b. 1522), Walloon reformer and chief author of the Belgic [Reformed] Confession, was martyred.

1578 The Catacombs of Rome were discovered.

1638 The Puritan Thomas Hooker (15861647) arrived in what is now Connecticut after leaving Massachusetts because of a rivalry with Roger Williams. The minister was also one of the main forces behind organizing America's first federal government, the United Colonies of New England.

1680 Joachim Neander, German hymnist, died (b. 1650).

1699 Alexander Cruden, Scottish author and editor of Cruden's Concordance, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland (d. 1 November 1770).

1723 Johann Sebastian Bach (16851750) was installed as cantor at Saint Thomas Church, Leipzig.

1725 Ernst Gottlieb Woltersdorf, German poet, educator, preacher and author, was born in Friedrichsfelde, near Berlin (d. 1761).

1803 Presbyterians appointed Gideon Blackburn (17721838) as their first missionary to the American Indians, the Cherokee nation.

1809 Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer, died (b. 31 March 1732).

1821 The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Maryland, was dedicated by John Carroll. This was the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the U.S.

1843 The Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America was formed at Utica, New York. It was antislavery and anti-episcopal.

1857 Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti was born near Milan, Italy (d. 10 February 1939). In 1922 he became Pope Pius XI. Though he condemned the dictatorships in Italy (in 1931) and Germany (in 1937), how much he worked to stop the Holocaust has been hotly debated by scholars.

1889 Horatius Bonar, regarded as the most eminent hymn writer of Scotland and also a preacher of great fame and power, died in Edinburgh (b. 19 December 1808, Edinburgh).

1898 Reformed minister Norman Vincent Peale, who combined psychology with Scripture in his ministry, was born in Bowersville, Ohio (d. 24 December 1993).

1911 Albert Friedrich Hoppe, editor of the Saint Louis edition of Luther's Works, died in Saint Louis (b. 24 July 1828, Rostock, Mecklenburg, Germany).

1919 The American Lutheran Board for Relief in Europe was appointed by President Friedrich Pfotenhauer of the LCMS. It was discontinued in 1926 with work to be carried on by the Lutheran Immigrant Society.

2002 August Theodore Mennicke, first vice-president of the Missouri Synod from 1986 to 1995, died in Coon Rapids, Minnesota (b. 1931). From 1970 to 1986 Mennicke was president of the Minnesota North District, and prior to that he was executive counselor for that district from 1963 to 1970.