Jaroslav Pelikan, renowned church historian, former Lutheran, dies
5/15/2006 12:00:00 AM
by Frank Imhoff, ELCA News Service
Dr. Jaroslav J. Pelikan died May 13 of lung cancer. He was 82.
The Sterling Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University,
New Haven, Conn., served on the Yale faculty from 1962 to 1996.
He was a noted scholar on the works of Martin Luther and the
history of the Christian tradition. In 1998 Pelikan joined the
Orthodox Church in America, and the Three Hierarchs Chapel at St.
Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, N.Y., became
his parish home. A funeral will be celebrated the evening of May
16 in the chapel, and a memorial service will be held the morning
of May 17.
Born Dec. 17, 1923, in Akron, Ohio, Pelikan's father was a
Lutheran minister and his grandfather was bishop of the Slovak
Lutheran Church in America. He graduated from the former
Concordia College, Fort Wayne, Ind., received a bachelor of
divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, and earned
a doctorate from the University of Chicago. Pelikan was ordained
in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and was an assistant pastor
of Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church, Chicago. He later became a
pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Pelikan
taught at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind., Concordia
Seminary and the University of Chicago before joining the faculty
at Yale. He edited 22 volumes of Luther's Works, American
Edition, and was author of more than 30 books, including the five-
volume "The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of
Doctrine." He chaired The Orthodox Church in America's
Department of History and Archives, was president of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, and served as honorary curator for
"Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries."