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

Today in History

July 4

371 Martin of Tours (316/317397) was consecrated against his will.

414 Pulcheria (399453) was proclaimed Augusta of the empire. She fought Nestorianism and convoked the Council of Chalcedon.

966 Pope Benedict V died.

993 The first official Roman Catholic saint, Ulrich of Augsburg (890973), was named. Before this, saints were selected “by chance.” To formalize the system, the church established rules of canonization, Ulrich being the first thus selected.

1415 Pope Gregory XII abdicated so that a fresh election might be made and the Western Schism (1378–1417) could be ended.

1519 The second session of the Leipzig Debate, between Johann Eck and Martin Luther, began and continued through July 13 or 14.

1630 King Gustavus Adolphus (15941632) of Sweden landed in Germany as he came to the aid of German Lutherans during the Thirty Years’ War.

1648 Antoine Daniel, a Jesuit who taught the Hurons many hymns in their own language, was martyred by the Iroquois (b. 27 May 1601).

1715 Christian F. Gellert, hymnist, was born at Hanichen in the Saxon Harz (d. 13 December 1769).

1755 John Cennick (b. 12 December 1718), English clergyman and hymnist, died.

1776 The Continental Congress, comprising delegates sent by the legislatures of the thirteen colonies, approved the formal wording of the Declaration of Independence, and the document was signed.

1816 Johann Georg Burger, a pastor involved in the efforts leading to the founding of the Missouri Synod, was born in Noerdlingen, Bavaria (d. 26 March 1847).

1826 Stephen Foster, musician, was born (d. 13 January 1864).

1826 Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died.

1831 (or 1832) The patriotic hymn “America,” written by Baptist clergyman Samuel Francis Smith (18081895), was first sung at worship services (at Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts). Smith had taken the tune from a German songbook and was unaware that it was also the tune of the British national anthem, “God Save the King (Queen).”

1840 James McGranahan, American sacred music song writer and music pioneer, was born in Adamsville, Pennsylvania (d. 9 July 1907).

1848 François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, died (b. 4 September 1768). Originally a skeptical French historian, he converted to Christianity at his mother's death and wrote The Genius of Christianity to defend Christianity against the French Revolution.

1870 James Moffatt, New Testament scholar, was born in Glasgow, Scotland (d. 1944).

1878 Missionary to African Americans J. F. Doescher, having completed his first survey for the missionary board of the Synodical Conference, returned to Altenburg, Missouri. The breakthrough had been made and in the 1880s the work expanded into Virginia and North and South Carolina. It was intensified during the 1890s, and four African American clergy members of the Alpha Synod joined the Synodical Conference. These were David J. Kootz, Samuel Haupt, Nathan Clapp and William Filo Phier. The addition of Rosa J. Young and her work in Alabama in 1916 added significantly to the interest and support within the Synodical Conference for the work. Miss Young personally raised the funds to operate the Rosebud Literary and Industrial School, which was later turned over to the mission board as its first station in the Alabama field. Following World War I, as people migrated out of the South, Synodical Conference work among African Americans spread throughout the country. The centennial of this work was celebrated in 1977.

1880 John Nicolas Henry Jahn, president of Seminario Concordia, Porto Alegre, Brazil, was born in Mishawaka, Indiana (d. 7 September 1942). He graduated from Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) in 1905 and served as a pastor in Copenhagen, Denmark; as an assistant professor at Concordia College (Bronxville, New York); as a pastor in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and as president of the Porto Alegre seminary from 1925 to 1936. He received a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

1887 The Bethany Indian Mission and Industrial School was dedicated for the Winnebago Indians at Wittenberg, Wisconsin, by the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America.

1952 Luther's Small Catechism was published in Japan.

1984 Martin August Haendschke died at Seward, Nebraska (b. 23 October 1914, Milwaukee, Wisconsin). He graduated from Concordia College (Milwaukee) in 1934 and from Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) in 1938. He served parishes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Michigan and Missouri before teaching at Concordia College (Milwaukee) from 1964 to 1975. He then taught at Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) until his death. He earned a doctor of theology degree from the Saint Louis seminary in 1961 and also had a doctorate from Marquette University. He was a licensed psychologist.