*** Notes for Today’s Show ***

It is the 15th of May 2021 Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org I’m Dan van Voorhis.


A crater on the moon is named after him.

He was put on a postage stamp.

He was a Jesuit when it wasn’t a good idea to be a Jesuit.

His work in Astronomy is lauded while his association with Frederich Anton Mesmer is less laudable.

Also, his name was Father Maximillian Hell.


Born in 1720 into a family of miners and engineers in Hungary.

Studied in Vienna and joined the Jesuit Order.

Court Astronomer to the Queen of Austria and Hungary.

Director of the Vienna Observatory.

Known for popularizing and demythologizing astronomy.

His leadership with the team charged with the observation of the transit of Venus represents one of the first international astronomical collaborations.

But then, the Suppression of the Jesuits.


Suspicions of political connections and corruption.

Too connected to Rome for foreign leaders.

Represents the primacy of the monarchs over the Papacy.

The pope signing off of the suppression with no theological justification given is one of the more curious events in the history of the modern church.

Max refused to leave his research and research post and was slandered by a number of less well-known Astronomers who claimed that he falsified his data.

It would be revived a century later when an American astronomer was able to prove and document the slander against Hell and thus, his reputation was revived.

BTW, his pal Frederich Anton Mesmer was interested in Hell’s work on magnetism and illness. Hell would abandon the work and Mesmer would go full quack. Today when something is eye-catching and brilliant but possibly deceitful we call it “mesmerizing”.

To think about:


Even what we consider “secular” occupations were done by the Religious orders.

What do the skies/space reveal to us about the supernatural, about God, about ourselves, etc…

Today we remember the Astronomer Priest Maximillian Hell who was born on the 15th of May in 1720.

The Last Word comes from the Psalms. This is Psalm 8 verse 3-6.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars that you have established;

what are human beings that you are mindful of them,

mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,

and crowned them with glory and honor.

You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under their feet,

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 15th of May 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.

The show is produced by Christopher “Max Hell” Gillespie.

The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis who does not understand astronomy.

You can catch us here every day. And remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.