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Since October 15, 1997
The mentor of the Lutheran Reformation was
A monk, a priest and professor of Theology,
Martin Luther is better known as the Church Reformer, although his influence is also to be
found in Education and Literature. Luther also fought for popularization of the schools
and translated the Bible into German.
Luther was born on November 10th, in Eisleben, Turingia. He attended Latin
schools in Mansfeld, Magdeburg and Eisenach, and was awarded the degree of Bachelor and
Master of Arts by the University of Erfurt.
In 1505, he started his studies of law, but had to quit because of a message
which he claimed to have received: on a stormy day he pleaded for help with Saint Anne,
promising her to become a monk. Since then he retired into the Monastery of the
Augustinian Order in Erfurt.
Luther was made priest in 1507. Encouraged by his superiors, he proceeded in
his studies and obtained the degree of Doctor of Theology, in 1512. By decision of the
Orders Vicar, Hans von Staupitz, he was made a professor of Theology (Lectura in
Biblia) at the Wittenberg University. Is his research, he discovered in the Epistle to the
Romans what would be the theme of his future: salvation by faith alone. And, as a
professor, he could freely propagate his ideas.
In was in 1517 that Luther fastened to the doors of the Wittenberg church 95
theses rejecting, for the whole part, the practice of selling indulgences and sustaining
the proposition that God gives forgiveness freely to whomever believes in Jesus Christ.
After they were translated into German these theses spread throughout Germany like a train
of gunpowder. The Lutheran Reform had thus begun.
The Curia prompted the Order of the Augustinians, the Papal Court and others
to act in hushing up the conflict. But Luther had secured the support of the chapter of
the Augustinian Order and had been backed up by the faculty professors of the Wittenberg
University. He presented and defended his position in a debate with Hans Eck, in Leipzig.
Even thus, the Pope excommunicated Luther in 1521.
At the same year, Luther was indicted by the Emperor Karl V and had to
appear before the Assembly of Worms. Feeling sure of himself, he told the following to his
inquisitors who wanted a retraction: "Whatever there is no retract from, I do not
know, or want to, or can... because to act against ones conscience is neither safe
Luther was outlawed by the Emperor and was sheltered by Duke Frederik
at the Castle of Wartburg, near Eisenach. In his shelter, he translated the New Testament
from Greek into German, striving to write in such a simple and clear form as to be
understood by everyone. He literally changed the language of his country, laying the
foundations of modern German, although this had not been his prime intention.
Following the Peasants War in 1525, Luther set about to bring
together the churches and schools that had adhered to the Reform in the German territories
and the neighboring countries. He published cut service orders and books of Christian
teaching, among which the Great Catechism and the Small Catechism.
Em 1530, the Emperor summoned him to the second Augsburg Assembly in an
attempt in overcome the conflict. Philip Melanchton submitted to the Assembly a defense
that would later be known as the Augsburg Confession. In spite of this, neither the
Augsburg Confession, nor the efforts subsequently made could restore unity into the Roman
Church and the Empire. In the intervening years, during the Council of Trent
1545/63 the Counter-Reform broke out.
The principles of the Reform were adopted in Germany, in the Baltic and
Scandinavian countries, and in Finland. They were also accepted in France, England
where the Anglican Church was under State authority and in the Netherlands. With
emigration, the Lutherans spread throughout the word. Today, they amount to about 62
In Brazil, Lutheranism is represented by nearly 1 million people congregating
in the Evangelic Lutheran Church in Brazil (Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil
IELB) and the Evangelic Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil (Igreja Evangélica de
Confissão Luterana no Brasil).
In 1525, Luther married Katharina von Bora, and ex-nun noble descent, and had
six children. He died in Eisleben on February 18th, 1546. He was buried at the church of
the Wittenbergs Castle.
Based on a text by the Brazilian Enterprise of Post and