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Personalities & contemporary witnesses

Justus Jonas


Justus Jonas

"I was by Luther’s side during the final few weeks of his life. We were in Eisleben at the time Luther was there to settle a dispute between the Counts of Mansfeld. He had grown tired and listless and always cold. Luther sensed that his time on Earth was nigh. However, he skilfully mediated the settlement talks anyway and also held a sermon for the people of Eisleben at St. Andrew’s Church. Luther said at the time that as soon as these counts finally got on with each other again, he would lie down in his coffin and give the maggots a fine doctor to consume. At about one o’clock in the morning, during the night of 18 February 1546, Luther called me to his bedside.

He was not feeling well and kept repeating the prayer ‘take my blessed soul’. A number of doctors came and rubbed potent spirits over his body in an effort to improve his circulation, but to no avail. Luther died in the early morning hours, still and patient as always. He did not fear death. The painter Lucas Furttenagel drew a sketch of his face and took his death mask. Afterwards, we laid his body in repose at St. Andrew’s and sounded the church bells so that the people of Eisleben could come and pay their final respects. We sent messengers carrying news of Luther’s death to Halle, Leipzig, Torgau and Wittenberg. We took Luther’s coffin From Eisleben to St. Mary’s Church in Halle before continuing to Bitterfeld and Kemberg and eventually reaching Wittenberg. Luther was interred in Wittenberg Castle Church on 22 February."


Born on 5 June 1493 in Nordhausen
Died on 9 October 1555 in Eisfeld
Lutheran theologian and Reformer

Personalities & Contemporary Witnesses

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