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EXPERIENCE LUTHER CLOSE UP

Saxony-Anhalt was Luther’s home and is the place where the Protestant Reformation originated. This is where Martin Luther was born, where he lived and is also the place where the Great Reformer died. The ideas associated with the Protestant Reformation changed Europe fundamentally and found adherents throughout the entire world. The heartland of the Reformation is a place to discover Luther’s life and works even today. Whether in Luther’s Eisleben, in Halle (Saale), in Luther’s Mansfeld or in Luther’s Wittenberg: Saxony-Anhalt is the place to go to experience Luther close up.

 


I, KATHARINA VON BORA, WELCOME YOU

Katharina von BoraYou do not know who I am? Well, I am certain that you know my husband. His name is Martin, Martin Luther. People often ask me if being married to a reformer is strenuous. Well, when has marriage ever been easy? One thing I can say for certain is that we were never bored! I did all I could to support Martin. After all, I knew what I was getting myself into. 

‘Martin was already a famous man by the time I met him personally. He had already posted his Theses and had left his secret confinement to the Wartburg behind him. All the while, he translated the Bible into German. Back then, no one could have guessed how significant the Protestant Reformation would turn out to be.

I read all of Martin’s critical writings when I was still a nun at the Cistercian monastery in Nimbschen near Grimma. In truth, I was fed up with life in the convent. I wrote Luther a letter and with his assistance, was able to escape the convent together with several other sisters. Martin put me up with the Cranach family in Wittenberg and at that time getting married was the furthest thing from our minds. He even tried to set me up perspective suitors! As a consequence, I avowed that I would marry either him or no one, and that I would finally be his “Katie”. Sometimes – when he felt a particularly strong need to comment on my assertiveness – he would even refer to me as “Mr. Katie”.

Martin was plain spoken, and not just in his role as preacher. I will never forget the letter he sent me from Weimar in 1540. When I read the lines, ‘we are eating like Bohemians (though not entirely) and drinking like Germans (though not as much)’, I knew that he was doing well. Our home in the old Augustinian monastery resembled a business. We lived together with our six children and our relatives as well as with students, visitors and employees. Often times our dining room felt more like a lecture hall. Martin would hold lectures and the students would take notes. I, for my part, administered our sizeable household in addition to a rural estate, operated a brewery and maintained a fish-farm along the branches of the river Elbe.’

Read further accounts from contemporary witnesses under the heading ‘Contemporary Witnesses’.