Dr. Martin Luther in Erfurt

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Luther as monk in Erfurt

Martin Luther
as monk

Erfurt is the city where Luther lived as a young man when he was a student and a monk. These ... years  were spent in study, making mistakes and undergoing inner struggles. Here, within the narrow confines of his monastic cell, he became convinced of the certainty of the Gospel message proclaiming the crucified Christ and his commitment to humanity.

This was also the city where he met many of his faithful friends such as Spalatin, Jonas, Lang and Draconites. Altough Luther had to defend himself against attacks from his former academic colleagues in Erfurt, the citizens of Erfurt greeted him with a triumpal procession. He then made a great impression on the people when he preached from the pulpit. Erfurt was Luther's spiritual home town. Even after 450 years, there is still an amazing numer of places in Erfurt which have associations with Martin Luther (*).


An outline of Luther's life in Erfurt (*)

  • 1501- Spring - Luther matriculated as a student of the university of Erfurt

  • 1502 - 23. September - successful completion of the semester as a Bachelor of Arts

  • 1505 - January - Luther passed his Master of Arts examination.

  • 1505 - 20. May - Luther attended law lectures in the Collegium Marianum (situated behind the right-hand side of the cathedral, but now no longer in existence).

  • 1505 - Spring - Luther read for the first time the complete text of the Bible, the Vulgate version in the university library.

  • 1505 - 2. July - Luther's conversion experience during a thunderstorm at Stotternheim when Luther vowed to become a monk.

  • 1505 - 16. July - in the Collegium Amplonianum (situated in Michaelisstraße, now no longer in existence) Luther was supposed to have given a farewell supper for his friends.

  • 1505 - 17. July - Luther bade farewell to his friends at the entrance to the eremitical Augustinian monastery.

  • 1506 - 3. April - Luther's first meeting with Johann von Staupitz, the vicar general of the eremitic branch of the Augustinians

  • 1506 - September - In front of the altar of the Augustinian church, Luther took his final vows to become a monk when he lay down on the gravestone of Johannes Zachariae, a former professor of theology.

  • 1507 - 27. February (?) - the Erfurt bishop Johann Boonemilch von Laasphe (died 1510) consecrated Martin Luther to the priesthood in front of the high altar of the cathedral Beate Mariae Virginis.

  • 1507 - 2. May - Luther said his first mass in the Augustian chapel. He invited his relatives from Mansfeld and his friends from Eisenach to the ceremony.

  • 1509 - The year of "Erfurt's madness". Luther was horrified when he was confronted with the beginnings of the rising tide of discontent from the people of the city and he was clearly opposed to this movement.

  • 1510 - Following academic tradition, Luther gave his innaugural lecture in the Auditorium coelicum, the formal hall of the theological facultly at Erfurt cathedral.

  • 1518 - 9. May - in the Erfurt Collegium Marianum, Luther visited his friend Judocus Trutvetter for the last time.

  • 1521 - 6. April - on his journey from Wittenberg to Worms, Luther entererd Erfurt through the "Schmidtstedter" gate and was given a jubilant reception by the citizens of Erfurt.

  • 1521 - 7. April - Luther preached in the Augustinian chapel with "deep and sincere devotion" and uttered these words which have since become famous: "I want to speak the truth and I must speak the truth even if twenty heads should fall." This sermon is believed to have had the greatest effect of all in spreading his doctrines in Erfurt.

  • 1522 - 2. March - coming from the Wartburg in Eisenach on his journey to Wittenberg - Luther, disguissed as "Squire Jörg" , stopped at the "Hohe Lilie" (The Tall Lily). Although this refers to a former building, the present inn, "Hohe Lilie" situated on the south eastern corner of the cathedral square, still stands on the same site.

  • 1522 - 21. October - Luther preached a sermon on "faith and works" in the "Michaeliskirche" (St. Michael's Church)

  • 1522 - 22. October - Luther preached a sermon on "the cross and suffering" in the old market church of Erfurt "Zum Kaufmännern" (The Merchant's Church)

  • 1529 - 11. October - on his return from Marburg, where he had been discussing religion with Ulrich Zwingli, the reformer from Zurich, Luther gave a sermon on the text "I have come in my Father's name" in the "Barfüßerkirche" (The Franciscan Church).

  • 1537 - 4. March - Luther was in a very bad state of health, so he left Schmalkalden to go to his friend Georg Sturtz who lived at the "Engelsburg" (the famous meeting place of the Humanists), where Luther received lodging and medical care.

  • 1540 - 4./5. July - Luther, Jonas and Melanchthon stay at the "Schlehendorn" inn. Altough it no longer exists, it was the most exclusive guest house in Erfurt at that time.

  • 1540 - 27. July - on his return from Eisenach, Luther and his companions stopped at the "Schlehendorn". This was his last stay in Erfurt.

(*) Martin Luther in Erfurt, published 1996 by VHT Verlagshaus Thüringen ISBN 3-930960-14-1. The book contains a preface by Dr. Hans-Jochen Genthe, a modified text of the book "Luther in Erfurt" published 1943 by Gebr. Richters Verlagsanstalt Erfurt, numerous pictures and a city map of Erfurt with Erfurt's places associated with Martin Luther. There is also available a German edition of of the book titled Martin Luther bei uns in Erfurt ISBN 3-89683-006-6. - Published in this internet site with courteous permission of the publishing company.

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