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Personalities & Contemporary Witnesses

The Reformer:
Martin Luther

1483-1546

Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben on 10 November 1483, the son of Hans and Margarethe Luder. On the day after his birth, he was baptised at the Church of St. Peter and Paul and given the name Martin. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to the nearby city of Mansfeld, where Hans Luther had been working in mining and metallurgy. As a boy, Martin Luther attended school first in Eisleben, then in Magdeburg and Eisenach as well. He went on to the university at Erfurt, initially to study law. Something happened however. While travelling, young Luther was caught in a thunderstorm which put him put him in such a state of mortal fear that he vowed to become a monk. Within two weeks of the incident, he had joined the mendicant order of the Augustinians, entering into their monastery at Erfurt. Luther was ordained priest in 1507 and began studying theology at Erfurt the same year.

After receiving his doctorate in theology, Luther was awarded a professorship as Doctor in Bible at the University of Wittenberg in 1512. Two years later, he was appointed to Wittenberg town church as a priest. On 31 October 1517, Luther published his famous 95 Theses denouncing the sale of indulgences, a practice which was rampant at the time. According to legend, he was supposed to have nailed a document containing his ninety-five theses to the gates 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 infallibilty during a dispute held at the university in Leipzig. Pope Leo X countered in June 1520 by issuing a papal bull warning him that he risked being cast from the Church. When the professor from Wittenberg had finished reading the document, he put it to the torch. Shortly thereafter, in January 1521, Luther was excommunicated.

Luther maintained his position at the Imperial Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his writings even to Emperor Charles V himself. In turn, the Habsburg ruler issued the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther under imperial ban. To ensure that the reformer survived this ban Frederick the Wise, the Elector of Saxony, had Luther abducted and taken to Wartburg castle for safe keeping. There here hid for the next ten months, assuming the alias Junker Jörg and translating the Bible into German. In March 1522, Luther returned to Wittenberg. Three years later, he married the escaped nun Katharina von Bora, with whom he would go on to have six children. On 18 February 1546, Luther died while visiting Eisleben. He was 62-years-old at the time. Three days later, Martin Luther was interred in the Wittenberg castle church.

Overview

Born on November 10, 1483, Luther's Eisleben
Died on 18. February 1546, Luther's Eisleben
Buried on February 22, 1546, Schlosskirche, Luther's Wittenberg

World Heritage Luther Memorials

In December 1996, the "Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg" were included in the World Heritage by UNESCO. A total of six sites in Luther's birthplace Eisleben and Luther's main site Wittenberg were recognized as cultural heritage of humanity:

  • Luther's birthplace
  • Luther's deathhouse
  • Luther's House
  • Melanchthon's House
  • City 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 November 10 in Eisleben.

1484

MOVING TO MANSFELD

Family Luther settles from Eisleben to Mansfeld.

1488-1496

SCHOOL VISIT IN MANSFELD

Martin Luther visits the school in Mansfeld.

1497

MAGDEBURGER DOM SCHULE

Visit of the Magdeburg cathedral school.

1498-1501

SCHOOL VISIT IN EISENACH

Visit the Georgenschule in Eisenach.

1501-1505

UNIVERSITY OF ERFURT

Philosophical studies at the University of Erfurt.

1505

ERFURT AUGUSTINERKLOSTER

Entry into Erfurt Augustinian monastery.

1507

ORDINATION TO THE PRIEST

Ordination to the priest in Erfurt Cathedral - beginning of the study of theology.

1512

BIBLE PROFESSIONAL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WITTENBERG

Acquisition of the bible professorship at the University of Wittenberg.

1514

APPEAL TO THE PREDIGER

Appointment as preacher at the Wittenberg town church.

1517

THESE STROKE

Attack of the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church on October 31st.

1517

LETTER TO CARDINAL ALBRECHT

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

1521

REFUSAL TO REVOCATE

Luther refuses to resign his writings at the Diet of Worms.

1521-1522

PROTECTIVE AT THE WARTBURG

Luther translates the New Testament into German during his protective custody on the Wartburg.

1522

RETURN TO WITTENBERG

Return to Wittenberg.

1525

MARRIAGE WITH KATHARINA

Luther marries former nun Katharina von Bora on June 13th.

1534

SHOW THE LUTHERBIBLE

The complete edition of Luther's Bible translation appears.

1535-1546

DECAN THEOLOGICAL FACULTY

Luther is Dean of the theological faculty of Wittenberg.

1545

ORDINATION OF PRINCE GEORG III.

Luther ordained Prince George III. to the bishop of Merseburg.

1546

DEATH LUTHERS

Luther dies on 18 February in Eisleben and is buried on February 22 in the Wittenberg Castle Church.

Personalities & Contemporary Witnesses

Read interesting contemporary witness reports and biographies of confidants and opponents of Luther.

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Die Adventszeit hat ganz Sachsen-Anhalt schon eingenommen.
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Die Doppelkapelle St. Crucis thront wie ein romantischer Wohnturm über der Stadt Landsberg und kann auf eine mehr als 800 Jahre alte Geschichte zurück blicken. Als wahres Kleinod der Romanik zählt die Landsberger Doppelkapelle zu einer Auswahl von Bauwerken, die unter dem Oberbegriff der "Straße der Romanik" zusammen gefasst werden. Aktuell feiert diese auch 25-jähriges Jubiläum.
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