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Birthday of Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Christian reformer who rejected blind obedience to religious authority and recognized the priesthood of all believers. Luther's hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" stirs us to gratefulness for God's abiding gift of Truth.
Martin Luther initially studied philosophy and law, but at age 22 changed course and became an Augustinian monk. He received a Doctor of Theology Degree from the University in Wittenberg, and went on to translate the Old and New Testaments into German. In 1534, his translations were published as the Wittenberg Bible, making Christian scriptures accessible to ordinary people.
In 1517, Luther presented his superiors with his "95 Theses": objections to what he considered abuses of authority and wealth in the established church. Pope Leo declared 41 of Luther's teachings heretical. When Luther refused to recant, he was first banned as an outlaw and then excommunicated. The effort he had been pouring into reform of the Catholic Church became a seed for the emerging Protestant Church, and, in particular, for the worldwide Lutheran denomination which bears his name.
In 1525, after 20 years in the Augustinian monastery, Luther married a former nun, Katharina von Bora. Their wedding initiated the tradition of clerical marriage now prevalent in most Protestant churches.
To read selected works of and about Martin Luther, visit Project Wittenberg's website.