As a follow-up to our post on the seasons, feasts, and festivals in the Church Year, we’ve compiled a list of Church Year commemorations to help deepen your understanding. Read below for more information on the Church Year. Then follow the links to learn about each commemoration.
What Is a commemoration in the Church Year?
In the book Ordering Our Days in His Peace: An Introduction to the Christian Church Year, Rev. Heath Curtis reminds us why we set aside certain days as commemorations during the Church Year:
Commemorations provide us an opportunity to thank God for the saints’ examples of how we should cling to Christ for salvation.
How Do We Celebrate Commemorations in the Church Year?
Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Services provides even more insights into how Christians can observe these important days of commemoration:
In contrast to the feasts and festivals of Christ and His New Testament saints, commemorations of His saints from the Old Testament and from throughout the history of His Church on earth are normally not celebrated with a full Divine Service but in daily prayer, whether within the family, in the Christian Day School, in the chapels of our church colleges and seminaries, or in parishes where the congregation may be gathered for Matins or Vespers during the week. The different character of these days is indicated in LSB by setting apart the commemorations in their own calendar (LSB xii–xiii), following the Sundays and seasons and
feasts and festivals. To that end, readings and other propers are not assigned to the commemorations as they are for the feasts and festivals.
Church Year Commemorations by Month and Day
The following is a complete list of commemorations taken from Lutheran Service Book, pages xii–xiii. Scroll through the list to see important dates. Then follow the links to see a brief reading for each day.
10 Basil the Great of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, Pastors and Confessors
10 Silas, Fellow Worker of St. Peter and St. Paul
16 Philipp Melanchthon (birth), Confessor
18 Martin Luther, Doctor and Confessor
23 Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Martyr
7 Perpetua and Felicitas, Martyrs
17 Patrick, Missionary to Ireland
6 Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer, Artists
20 Johannes Bugenhagen, Pastor
21 Anselm of Canterbury, Theologian
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
11 Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs
21 Emperor Constantine, Christian Ruler, and Helena, Mother of Constantine
25 Bede the Venerable, Theologian
5 Boniface of Mainz, Missionary to the Germans
12 The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, AD 325
25 Presentation of the Augsburg Confession
27 Cyril of Alexandria, Pastor and Confessor
28 Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor
29 Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany
30 Robert Barnes, Confessor and Martyr
3 Joanna, Mary, and Salome, Myrrhbearers
10 Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
19 Bernard of Clairvaux, Hymnwriter and Theologian
27 Monica, Mother of Augustine
28 Augustine of Hippo, Pastor and Theologian
16 Cyprian of Carthage, Pastor and Martyr
30 Jerome, Translator of Holy Scripture
7 Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Pastor
17 Ignatius of Antioch, Pastor and Martyr
25 Dorcas (Tabitha), Lydia, and Phoebe, Faithful Women
26 Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt, Hymnwriters
8 Johannes von Staupitz, Luther’s Father Confessor
9 Martin Chemnitz (birth), Pastor and Confessor
14 Emperor Justinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ
4 John of Damascus, Theologian and Hymnwriter
7 Ambrose of Milan, Pastor and Hymnwriter
17 Daniel the Prophet and the Three Young Men
Quotation from Ordering Our Days in His Peace: An Introduction to the Christian Church Year, p. 21, is copyright © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Quotation from Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Services, p. 263, is copyright © 2022 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Church Year commemorations are from Lutheran Service Book, pp. xii–xiii, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Learn more about Church Year commemorations in Celebrating the Saints.
Looking to learn even more about the saints we commemorate throughout the year? Rev. Will Weedon’s book, Celebrating the Saints, provides insights into the lives and work of those who have gone before us in the faith.