The Lutheran Church has, from the time of the Reformation, continued the remembrance of saints. The theological basis for this remembrance may be best illustrated in the words of the Epistle to the Hebrews: "Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."[1] The Apology of the Augsburg Confession states that the remembrance of the saints has three parts: "The first is thanksgiving. For we ought to give thanks to God because He has shown examples of mercy; because He has shown that He wishes to save men; because He has given teachers or other gifts to the Church. And these gifts, as they are the greatest, should be amplified, and the saints themselves should be praised, who have faithfully used these gifts, just as Christ praises faithful business-men (Matt. 25:21, 23). The second service is the strengthening of our faith; when we see the denial forgiven Peter, we also are encouraged to believe the more that grace truly superabounds over sin (Rom. 5:20). The third honor is the imitation, first, of faith, then of the other virtues, which every one should imitate according to his calling."[2]

As a result, the Lutheran reformers retained a robust calendar of saints to be commemorated throughout the year. In addition to the saints found in Holy Scripture, such saints as Saint Lawrence and Saint Martin of Tours were retained on the calendar, as were even extra-Biblical commemorations like the Assumption of Mary. Following the Reformation, most especially in the latter half of the twentieth century, many names were added to the calendar, both new and restored pre-Reformation commemorations.

The Calendar found below is a listing which aims to give a sense of the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by various Lutheran Churches in the English-speaking world. The calendars of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in their present forms are listed below, as found in the 2006 Lutheran Service Book of the LCMS, and the 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Worship of the ELCA. In addition to these, some historic observances not currently found on the aforementioned calendars but appearing in earlier Lutheran uses are also provided.

While extensive, the Lutheran sanctoral calendar is not presently as strictly ranked as that of the Roman Catholic Church. Principal festivals are marked with BOLD CAPS and lesser festivals with bold text. If applicable, the country where a particular observed is also noted, if it is not commonly observed on that date in North America. For individuals, the date given is generally the date of their death or "heavenly birthday." The liturgical color for vestments and paraments is noted as follows: White (W), Red (R) or Violet (V). Commemorations specific to the LCMS, ELCA, or an earlier source are noted following each entry. Commemorations and festivals held in common are not annotated.


Gregory of Nazianzus


Martin Luther's face and hands cast at his death.


Simon Ushakov, The Last Supper
Saint Joseph


Catherine of Siena


Sts. Constantine and Helen


Lucas Cranach the Elder, Philipp Melanchthon


Benedict of Nursia
Elias Gottlob Haussmann, Johann Sebastian Bach


Florence Nightingale
Mary, Mother of Our Lord


Carlo Crivelli, Francis of Assisi


Gianlorenzo Bernini The Ecstasy of St. Teresa


Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg


Domenico di Pace Beccafumi, Saint Lucy

See also


  1. ^ Hebrews 12:1
  2. ^ Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XXI.4-6
  3. ^ a b "The Church Year" (PDF). Renewing Worship. January 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 8, 2006. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  4. ^ Evangelical Lutheran Worship Leaders Desk Edition (8th (2019) Printing ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress. 2006. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-8066-5620-5.