Faithful Heroes: Martin Luther

Martin Luther broke free from the Roman Catholic Church to open the doors for the Protestant movement to begin.

Martin Luther as a friar

Martin Luthern was born in Saxony, the Holy Roman Empire on November 10, 1483. He was the eldest son of Hans and Margarethe Lindemann Luder {later Luther}. His father worked as a leaseholder of copper mines and smelters. Martin had several younger brothers and sisters.

Martin was sent to school where he learned “grammar, rhetoric and logic”. He later compared his education to “purgatory and hell”. He graduated with a master’s degree in 1505 from University of Erfurt.

He entered school to study law.

He later recounted a life changing account that occurred on July 2, 1505. He said, he was “returning to university on horseback after a trip home. During a thunderstorm, a lightning bolt struck near him. Later telling his father he was terrified of death and divine judgment, he cried out, “Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk!” He came to view his cry for help as a vow he could never break. He left law school, sold his books, and entered St. Augustine’s Monastery in Erfurt on 17 July 1505. One friend blamed the decision on Luther’s sadness over the deaths of two friends. Luther himself seemed saddened by the move. Those who attended a farewell supper

Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther

walked him to the door of the Black Cloister. “This day you see me, and then, not ever again,” he said. His father was furious over what he saw as a waste of Luther’s education.”

He devoted himself to fasting, pilgrimage, long hours of prayer and frequent confession. He later described these early years as a time of “deep spiritual despair”.

He was awarded a Doctor of Theology on October 19, 1512 and entered the faculty of the University of Wittenberg a week later

In 1515, he was made a provincial vicar with eleven monasteries under his guidance and direction.

On October 31, 1517, Luther wrote to his bishop, protesting the sale of indulgences being sold to raise money to rebuild St Peter’s Bascilica. In the letter, he enclosed what we now know as his Ninety-five Theses.

Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms

In January 1518, the Theses were translated from Latin to German and quickly spread throughout Europe. He also published several other works during this time.

In mid-1520, Luther was warned to recant 41 sentences of his writings within 60 days or risk ex-communication. He only stoked the fires and Pope Leo X excommunicated him on January 3, 1521.

On April 18, 1521 he appeared before the general assemble of the estates of the Holy Roman Empire, known as the Diet of Worms. He stated that he was bound by the scriptures and could not and would not recount anything, since it would go against his conscience.

Martin Luther

On May 25, 1521 he was declared an outlaw, his literature was banned and he was declared to be arrested.

Luther disappeared into Wittenberg Castle, while at the same time broadening the foundations of the reformation. He discreetly returned ten months later.

He set out reversing and modifying church practices.

In April 1523, he married Katharina von Bora, a nun he had helped escape. The couple would have six children together and earned a living by farming and taking in boarders.

By 1526, Luther set out organizing a new church. He wrote a German Mass and several catechisms. He also translated the New Testament. He also wrote hymns such as A Mighty Fortress is Our God and Christ is Risen.

He served as the dean of theology at the University of Wittenberg from 1533 to 1546.

Wartburg castle were Luther took refuge

He suffered from ill health for years. He delivered his last sermon on February 15, 1546. Three days later, he died at the age of sixty-two.

This reformation not only reshaped the church, but also Europe. “As German-speaking lands asserted their independence from Rome, other forces were unleashed.Although {the Thirty Years War} did not begin until decades after his death, it arose in part because he had created no institutional structure to replace the one he walked away from.”


Martin Luther broke with the Catholic church beginning the Protestant Reformation #heroesofthefaith #faithfulheroes Share on X


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