A look at some of the history and holidays on November 21
Though pope but for four years and a half, he exerted a deep influence on the development of church polity, of the liturgy and ecclesiastical discipline. A large number of his decrees have been incorporated into the Canon Law.
In his private life Gelasius was above all conspicuous for his spirit of prayer, penance, and study. He took great delight in the company of monks, and was a true father to the poor, dying empty-handed as a result of his lavish charity. Dionysius Exiguus in a letter to his friend, the priest Julian (P.L., LXVII, 231), gives a glowing account of Gelasius as he appeared to his contemporaries.
That said, Gelasius is important also to secular history. One, Gelasius advocated the primacy of the Roman Pope over the Eastern Orthodox Church, furthering the schism that would, before long, split apart those two bodies. Two, Gelasius wrote the Famuli vestrae pietatis, a letter laying out the position of the Church that the clerisy had primary power to pronounce on moral and spiritual matters, while Kings had the power to direct on secular matters in the worldly domain. This would be a point of contention between Popes and Kings for over the next millennium.
1877 – Thomas Edison announced his first truly major invention — the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound. It would be another ten years before the phonograph became commercially viable.
Edison was a home schooled child with hearing loss from scarlet fever and perhaps an accident. At fifteen he left home and wandered the mid-West during the Civil War, supporting himself as a telegraph operator. Returning home, he eventually made it to New York where he sold one of his earliest inventions, an improved stock ticker, for $40,000. With that wealth, he ceased work as a telegraph operator and began life as a fulltime inventor and businessman. In 1876, Edison moved to Menlo Park, New Jersey, and built his own personal industrial research facility, complete with machine shops and laboratories. It was there that, by accident, he invented the phonograph. It proved to be just one of his many profitable inventions. In 1879 he patented the first successful light bulb and began the first investor owned utility, General Electric Corp. All in all, over his lifetime, this man, with no formal education, was granted over a thousand patents for everything from motion pictures to car batteries. It is safe to say that many of the amenities of modern life got their start in Edison’s workshops.