Martin Luther was born inEisleben
(only in german) in 1483, the son of a mining family of rural origin. He attended the Latin School in Mansfeld from 1488 onwards, continuing his schooling in Magdeburg and later in Eisenach. In 1501 Luther began his studies in Erfurt and intended to become a lawyer.
In 1505, however, he made a decision that changed the course of his life radically: he decided to enter the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. This decision shaped the rest of his life, and his search for a merciful God and His Will culminated in the development of the Reformation of the Church. Luther's negative personal experiences with the ecclesiastical means of grace resulted in not only increasing criticism of the deplorable state of affairs within the church but above all to a fundamental reconsideration of medieval theology.
His public criticism of the misuse of letters of indulgence in 1517 did not result in the desired discussion but led to the start of a court of inquisition culminating in Luther's excommunication after the Imperial Diet of Worms in 1521. Friedrich the Wise organized a "kidnapping" to protect Martin Luther's life. Luther spent almost a year as Knight George on the Wartburg, where he translated the New Testament into German.
Luther's most obvious break with his monk's vows ensued when he married the former nun Katharina von Bora in June 1525. The basic unit of the protestant parish house had been born. After the Peasants' War in 1525, which Luther had disapproved of, the Reformer promoted the development of the protestant territorial church through visitations and church policies.
He died inEisleben
(only in german), the town of his birth, in February 1546. By order of the Elector Luther was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
With his translation of the Bible into German Martin Luther attained permanent fame as far as a unification of the German language was concerned. Today some 70 million believers on all five continents are members of the Lutheran Church.