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Personalities & Contemporary Witnesses

The Reformer:
Martin Luther

1483-1546

Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born on 10 November 1483 in Eisleben to Hans and Margarete Luder. On the day after his birth, he was baptised at the Church of St. Peter and Paul and given the name Martin. When Martin was just one year old, the family moved to Mansfeld just a few kilometres away, where his father worked in mining and metallurgy. As a boy, Martin Luther attended school first in Eisleben, then in Magdeburg and Eisenach. In 1501, he went on to the university of Erfurt to study law. While travelling, the young student was caught in a thunderstorm which put him  in such a state of mortal fear that he vowed to become a monk. Two weeks later, he joined the mendicant order of the Augustinians, entering into their monastery in Erfurt. Luther was ordained as a priest in 1507 and began studying theology in Erfurt the same year.

After receiving his doctorate in theology, Luther was awarded a professorship in Bible studies at the University of Wittenberg in 1512 and was appointed as preacher at the Parish Church two years later. On 31 October 1517, Luther published his famous 95 Theses denouncing the sale of indulgences, a practice which was common at the time. According to legend, he nailed his 95 Theses to the portal of the Wittenberg Castle Church. In response, the Roman Catholic Church initiated proceedings to have him declared a heretic. Luther refused to recant his writings however, choosing instead to cast into doubt the doctrine of papal infallibility during a dispute held at the University of Leipzig. Pope Leo X countered in June 1520 by issuing a papal bull warning him that he risked being excommunicated; after reading it, the Wittenberg professor set it on fire. In January 1521, Luther was excommunicated.

Later that year, Luther upheld his position at the Imperial Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his writings even to Emperor Charles V; this led to the Emperor issuing the Edict of Worms, placing Martin Luther under imperial ban. To protect Luther, Frederick the Wise, the Elector of Saxony, had Luther abducted and taken to Wartburg castle where he hid for the next ten months, assuming the alias Junker Jörg and translating the Bible into German. In March 1522, Luther returned to Wittenberg and married the former nun Katharina von Bora, with whom he would go on to have six children. On 18 February 1546, Luther died at the age of 62 while visiting Eisleben. Three days later, Martin Luther was interred in the Wittenberg Castle Church.

Overview

 

Born on 10 November 1483 in Lutherstadt Eisleben
Died on 18 February 1546 in Lutherstadt Eisleben
Buried on 22 February 1546 in Castle Church, Lutherstadt Wittenberg 

 

World Heritage Luther Memorial Sites

In December 1996, the "Luther Memorial Sites in Eisleben and Wittenberg" were included in the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. A total of six sites in the town of Luther's birth Eisleben, and the place where Luther worked for the most part, Wittenberg, were recognized as part of mankind's cultural heritage:

  • Luther's Birthplace
  • The House where Luther passed away
  • Lutherhaus
  • Melanchthon's House
  • Parish Church of St. Mary
  • Castle Church

Since 1996, Reformation research has shown more and more that the Reformation encompasses more than "only" Luther. To illustrate this, an application for extension was submitted to UNESCO in February 2016.

To read on

www.luther.de

1483

BIRTH

Martin Luther was born on 10 November in Eisleben.

1484

MOVe TO MANSFELD

The Luther family moves from Eisleben to Mansfeld.

1488-1496

ATTENDING SCHOOL IN MANSFELD

Martin Luther attends school in Mansfeld.

1497

MAGDEBURG CATHEDRAL SCHOOL

Attendance at Magdeburg Cathedral School.

1498-1501

ATTENDING SCHOOL IN EISENACH

  Attendance at St. George's School in Eisenach.

1501-1505

UNIVERSITY OF ERFURT

Philosophical studies at the University of Erfurt.

1505

AUGUSTINIAN MONASTERY IN ERFURT

Entry into the Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt.

1507

ORDINATION AS A PRIEST

Ordination as a priest in Erfurt Cathedral - begins studying Theology.

1512

PROFESSOR FOR BIBLE STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WITTENBERG

Appointment to the Chair for Bible Studies at the University of Wittenberg.

1514

APPOINTMENT AS PREACHER

Appointment as preacher at the Wittenberg Parish Church.

1517

POSTING OF THESES

Posting of the 95 Theses on the portal of the Wittenberg Castle Church on 31 October.

1517

LETTER TO CARDINAL ALBRECHT

Luther sends a letter with his Theses to Cardinal Albrecht in Halle.

1521

REFUSAL TO REVOKE

At the Imperial Diet of Worms, Luther refuses to revoke his Theses.

1521-1522

PROTECTIVE CUSTODY IN THE WARTBURG CASTLE

During his imprisonment in Wartburg Castle, Luther translates the New Testament into German.

1522

RETURN TO WITTENBERG

Return to Wittenberg.

1525

MARRIAGE TO KATHARINA

On 13 June, Luther marries the former nun, Katharina von Bora.

1534

PUBLICATION OF THE LUTHE RBIBLE

The complete edition of Luther's Bible translation is published.

1535-1546

DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF THEOLOGY

Luther is Dean of the Faculty of Theology in Wittenberg.

1545

ORDINATION OF PRINCE GEORG III

Luther ordinates Prince George III to Bishop of Merseburg.

1546

LUTHER'S DEATH

On 18 February, Luther passes away in Eisleben and is buried on 22 February in the Wittenberg Castle Church.

Personalities & Contemporary Witnesses

Read interesting reports and biographies written by Luther's confidantes and adversaries.

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