Commemorations

On the calendar of the Christian Church a number of special dates are noted as commemorations, opportunities to remember special people of God from centuries past. Our churches teach that the remembrance of saints may be commended to us so that we may imitate their faith and good works according to our calling, Augsburg Confession XXI.

Background

Lutherans have always understood that there is great benefit in remembering the saints whom God has given to the Church. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Article 21) lists three reasons for such honor. First, we thank God for giving faithful servants to His Church. Second, through such remembrance our faith is strengthened as we see the mercy that God extended to His saints of old. Third, these saints are examples both of faith and of holy living to imitate according to our calling in life.

Included on this Lutheran sanctoral calendar are men and women both from the Old and New Testament era as well as from the succeeding centuries of the Christian Church. Their faith and its expression in their lives have established them as individuals who deserve our recognition and regard, not for their own sake but for the greater glory of God among His people. An encouragement to the observance of these commemorations of individuals in the great cloud of witnesses is written in the Letter to the Hebrews:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).

The list of individuals chosen for this list of commemorations is representative and not exhaustive. Certainly, other names could have been added whose commemorations would also be of edification to God's people. For those who observe the commemorations the purpose is to focus on Christ Jesus and His Gospel, giving thanks to God for demonstrating His mercy through graced and gifted women and men through whom the Holy Spirit has accomplished wonderful things. As the Confessions simply and encouragingly state: “It is truly worthwhile to hear of these things and to see some examples of mercy” (Apology to the Augsburg Confession, XXI, 36).

 

Calendar of Commemorations

The names listed below are the commemorations found in Lutheran Service Book.

 

January

  • 2 — J. K. Wilhelm Loehe, Pastor
  • 10 — Basil the Great of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, Pastors and Confessors
  • 20 — Sarah
  • 27 — John Chrysostom, Preacher

February

  • 5 — Jacob (Israel), Patriarch
  • 10 — Silas, Fellow worker of St. Peter and St. Paul
  • 13 — Aquila, Priscilla, Apollos
  • 14 — Valentine, Martyr
  • 15 — Philemon and Onesimus
  • 16 — Philip Melanchthon (birth), Confessor
  • 18 — Martin Luther, Doctor and Confessor
  • 23 — Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Martyr

March

  • 7 — Perpetua and Felicitas, Martyrs
  • 17 Patrick, Missionary to Ireland
  • 31 — Joseph, Patriarch

April

  • 6 — Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer, Artists
  • 20 — Johannes Bugenhagen, Pastor
  • 21 — Anselm of Canterbury, Theologian
  • 24 — Johann Walter, Kantor

May

  • 2 — Athanasius of Alexandria, Pastor and Confessor
  • 4 — Friedrich Wyneken, Pastor and Missionary
  • 5 — Frederick the Wise, Christian Ruler
  • 7 — C.F.W. Walther, Theologian
  • 9 — Job
  • 11 — Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs
  • 21 — Emperor Constantine, Christian Ruler, and Helen, Mother of Constantine
  • 24 — Esther
  • 25 — Bede the Venerable, Theologian

June

  • 1 — Justin, Martyr 
  • 5 — Boniface of Mainz, Missionary to the Germans
  • 12 — The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325
  • 14 — Elisha 
  • 25 — Presentation of the Augsburg Confession
  • 26 — Jeremiah
  • 27 — Cyril of Alexandria, Pastor and Confessor
  • 28 — Irenaeus of Lyons, Pastor

July

  • 6 — Isaiah
  • 16 — Ruth
  • 20 — Elijah
  • 21 — Ezekiel
  • 28 — Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor
  • 29 — Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany
  • 30 — Robert Barnes, Confessor and Martyr
  • 31 — Joseph of Arimathea

August

  • 3 — Joanna, Mary, and Salome, Myrrhbearers
  • 10 — Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
  • 16 — Isaac
  • 17 — Johann Gerhard, Theologian
  • 19 — Bernard of Clairvaux, Hymnwriter and Theologian
  • 20 — Samuel
  • 27 — Monica, Mother of Augustine
  • 28 — Augustine of Hippo, Pastor and Theologian

September

  • 1 — Joshua
  • 2 — Hannah
  • 3 — Gregory the Great, Pastor
  • 4 — Moses
  • 5 — Zacharias and Elizabeth
  • 16 — Cyprian of Carthage, Pastor and Martyr
  • 22 — Jonah
  • 30 — Jerome, Translator of Holy Scripture

October

  • 7 — Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Pastor
  • 9 — Abraham
  • 11 — Philip the Deacon
  • 17 — Ignatius of Antioch, Pastor and Martyr
  • 25 — Dorcas (Tabitha), Lydia, and Phoebe, Faithful Women
  • 26 — Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heerman, and Paul Gerhardt, Hymnwriters

November

  • 8 — Johannes von Staupitz, Luther’s Father Confessor
  • 9 — Martin Chemnitz (birth), Pastor and Confessor
  • 11 — Martin of Tours, Pastor
  • 14 — Emperor Justinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ
  • 19 — Elizabeth of Hungary
  • 23 — Clement of Rome, Pastor
  • 29 — Noah

December

  • 4 — John of Damascus, Theologian and Hymnwriter
  • 6 — Nicholas of Myra, Pastor
  • 7 — Ambrose of Milan, Pastor and Hymnwriter
  • 13 — Lucia, Martyr
  • 17 — Daniel the Prophet and the Three Young Men
  • 19 — Adam and Eve
  • 20 — Katharina von Bora Luther
  • 29 — David

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