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

Today in History

December 23

1193 Thorlac Thorhallsson, Iceland's prominent bishop who insisted on clerical discipline and celibacy, abolished lay patronage and fought simony, died (b. 1133).

1559 Anne Dubourg, Protestant professor of civil law, died in Paris, France (b. 1521 in Riom, France). She pleaded in Parliament for persecuted Protestants and was imprisoned, hanged and burned on this date.

1569 St. Philip of Moscow (b. 1507 in Moscow), primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, was martyred by order of Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV).

1597 Martin Opitz, hymnist, was born in Bunglau, Silesia (d. 20 August 1639).

1619 John Sigismund, elector of Brandenburg who was educated as a Lutheran but became Reformed, died (b. 8 November 1572, Halle).

1648 Robert Barclay, Quaker theologian, was born at Gordonstown, Scotland (d. 3 October 1690).

1652 John Cotton (b. 4 December 1585), Massachusetts Bay Colony pastor, died.

1790 Jean Francois Champollion, French Egyptologist, was born at Figeac, France (d. 4 March 1832).

1841 Handley C. G. (Carr Glyn) Moule, Anglican theologian, was born at Fordington, England.

1845 Ludwig Herman Ilse, composer, was born in Hanover, Germany (d. 5 December 1931).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]

1862 Amos R. Wells, American Christian educator, was born (d. 6 March 1933).

1870 Ernst Henry Engelbrecht, professor at Concordia Teachers College (River Forest, Illinois), was born at Farmers Retreat, Indiana (d. 28 February 1944).

1875 Henry Peter Louis Studtmann was born in Chicago (d. 7 April 1964, Austin, Texas). He was a graduate of Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis) in 1897 and served as pastor in Beloit, Wisconsin (18971900); Crowley, Louisiana (19001904); and Riesel, Texas (19041926). He was a member of the Texas District Board of Missions and editor of Texas-Distriktsbote (19151920). He served as secretary of the Southern District of the Missouri Synod and secretary, vice-president (19181920) and president (19201926) of the Texas District. He became president of Concordia College (Austin, Texas) in 1926, where he served until his retirement in 1949.

1889 Emil Brunner, Swiss dialectical theologian, was born in Winterthur, Switzerland (d. 6 April 1966, Zurich).

1909 Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born (d. 17 May 2000).

1915 William H. Doane (b. 3 February 1832), American Baptist businessman and hymn writer, died.

1946 August Otto Wilhelm Pieper, Wisconsin Synod theologian, died (b. 27 September 1857).

1987 L. Lloyd Behnken died in Altamonte Springs, Florida (b. 19 August 1921, Houston, Texas). A 1945 graduate of Concordia Seminary (Saint Louis), Behnken served pastoral ministries in Springfield and Steeleville, Illinois; Omaha, Nebraska; and Hollywood, Florida. He was elected as the first full-time president of the Florida-Georgia District in 1974 and was re-elected in 1978, 1982 and 1985. He was a son of John W. Behnken, LCMS president from 1935 to 1962.

2001 Clayton Melby, who was instrumental in the founding of the Missouri Synod's Laborers for Christ (LFC) program, died in Cortez, Colorado (b. 18 June 1923). He served on the committee that founded the synodwide LFC in 1984 and was its counselor from 1989 until 1992. Before his involvement with the national LFC, Melby was active in the Colorado (now Rocky Mountain) District LFC, which was the model for the synodical program. He also served on the district Board of Directors. Melby was a 1950 graduate of the architecture school at the University of California, Berkeley. In the mid-1950s, he founded Montezuma Mortgage and Investment Co., of which he was president and CEO at the time of his death.