LUTHERS COMPANION BERNHARDI
Kemberg is a small town situated only a few short kilometres from Wittenberg. In 1522, Kemberg aligned itself with the Protestant Reformation. During the period that followed, the Provosts of Kemberg kept close ties to the University at Wittenberg. On the eve of his funeral on 21 February 1546, Martin Luther was laid in repose here once more. There was a good reason for this: Bartholomäus Bernhardi lived in Kemberg. He was a close confidant and contemporary of Luther and was intensely dedicated to the cause of the Reformation. In 1521 in Kemberg, Bernhardi became one of the very first clerics to marry. Luther praised this courageous act. Martin Luther often visited Kemberg and gave many sermons at St. Marienkirche (the Church of St. Mary).
The garden of the provosts is allegedly the place where Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon hatched the plan to formulate their theses against the infamous seller of indulgences, Johann Tetzel. It is said that Luther groaned continually on the road between Wittenberg and Kemberg, his deteriorated condition having made travel extremely uncomfortable.
The charm of the former agricultural centre continues to come from the uniformity of its skyline. The 86 metre high tower of the early fifteenth-century Church of Our Lady is characteristic. Until falling victim to a fire in 1994, the church in Kemberg was home to an altar fashioned by Lucas Cranach in 1565. Today, the restored remains of the altarpiece can be seen in the sacristy. Kemberg is one of the stations along the "Luther Way" pilgrimage route which stretches more than 400 kilometres across Saxony-Anhalt.