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

Today in History

December 5

211/216 (traditional date) Clement of Alexandria, the first early church theologian to show an extensive knowledge of pagan and Christian writings in his refutations of pagan criticisms, died (b. ca. 150).

531/532 Sabas, a monk since childhood, died five days after returning from a diplomatic mission to Constantinople (b. 439, Cappadocia).

1484 Pope Innocent VIII (14321492) issued the bull Summis desiderantes, ordering the Inquisition of Germany.

1532 Nikolaus Selnecker, hymnist and co-author of the Formula of Concord, was born at Hersbruck, near Nürnberg, Germany (d. 24 May 1592).

1590 Johann Habermann, renowned Hebraist, devotional writer and educator, died (b. 10 August 1516, Eger, Bohemia).

1590 Niccolò Sfondrati (15351591) became Pope Gregory XIV, succeeding Pope Urban VII (15211590), who died two months earlier.

1689 Salomo Liscow, hymnist, died (b. 1640, Niemitsch, Lower Lusatia).

1780 John Hands, missionary to India, was born in Roade, Northamptonshire, England (d. 30 June 1864).

1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian musician and composer, died (b. 27 January 1756).

1804 Missionary Wilhelm Tobias Ringeltaube (17701816) landed at Tranquebar, India. [German article in Bautz Kirchenlexikon]

1824 Walter C. Smith, Scottish clergyman and hymnist, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland (d. 19 September 1908, Kinbuck, Dunblane, Perthshire, Scotland).

1829 Alexander Williamson, missionary to China, was born in Falkirk, Scotland (d. 28 August 1890).

1834 Mary Ann Thomson, American hymn writer, was born in London, England (d. 11 March 1923, Philadelphia).

1837 Joshua Marshman, missionary to India, died in Serampore, India (b. 1768).

1855 Judson W. Van DeVenter, American Methodist evangelist and hymnist, was born near Dundee, Michigan (d. 17 July 1939).

1859 John A. Schwoy, professor at Concordia College (Bronxville, New York), was born at Paterson, New Jersey (d. 6 December 1927). He was educated at Concordia College (Fort Wayne, Indiana) and Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis), where he graduated in 1883. He served as a missionary in Texas for a year, then took a call to Alexandria, Virginia, in 1884. Health problems led to him to resign his pastorate in 1893. While recuperating, he studied Latin and English literature at New York University, earning an A.M. degree. In 1896 he served a Hackensack, New Jersey, mission for a time and then was installed as pastor at Richfield, New Jersey. In 1906 he accepted a call to Concordia College (then in Hawthorne, New York) as an instructor in English, serving until 1921, when failing health again led to his resignation.

1875 Charles Michael Jacobs, professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary (Mount Airy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Eyster Jacobs (d. 30 March 1938).

1902 Henry Stephen Cutler, American Episcopal chorister and composer, died (b. 13 October 1825, Boston, Massachusetts).

1907 Priscilla Jane Owens (b. 21 July 1829, Baltimore, Maryland), American Methodist schoolteacher and poet, died in Baltimore.

1921 Charles L. Brown, Lutheran missionary to Japan, died (b. 3 December 1873, Iredell County, North Carolina).

1931 Ludwig Herman Ilse, composer, died in Bedford, Ohio (b. 23 December 1845, Hanover, Germany). He was educated at the Missouri Synod teachers college at Addison, Illinois, and served as teacher and organist at churches in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Brooklyn, New York; and Bedford, Ohio. His publications include several choral and organ books, and he was music editor of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book (1912). [The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, comp. W. G. Polack (Saint Louis: CPH, 1942): 525]

1933 The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and legalizing the manufacture and sale of liquor in the U.S. once again.

1941 Levi Franklin Gruber, Lutheran pastor, professor and lecturer, died (b. 13 May 1870 near Reading, Pennsylvania).

1949 A joint committee of the Synodical Conference and the American Lutheran Church adopted Common Confession, Part I, which was accepted in 1950 by each denomination.

1953 John (Jaan) Sillak died. He was born in Estonia in 1864 and completed his studies in languages (of which he spoke seventeen) in Europe in the 1880s. He continued his studies at Concordia Theological Seminary (Springfield, Illinois) in 1901 and was ordained and installed in 1901 at Saint Peter Lutheran Church (Josephsburg, Canada). He served for fifty-two years throughout Western Canada.

1983 John A. T. Robinson (b. 1919), Anglican clergyman, bishop of Woolwich, and author of Honest to God (1963), died.

2001 F. Samuel Janzow, professor at Concordia University (River Forest, Illinois) and noted hymn writer, author and translator, died. He was a professor of religion and English at River Forest from 1954 until his 1981 retirement. Janzow wrote or translated thirty-three hymns that appear in Lutheran Worship, and he also translated Luthers Large Catechism, published by Concordia Publishing House in 1978. A 1936 graduate of Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis), Janzow served pastorates in London, England, from 1936 to 1946. He earned a masters degree in 1948 from the University of Minnesota, then was pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church (Trimont, Minnesota) from 1948 to 1954. His Ph.D. (1968) was from the University of Chicago.