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Current Issue November Subscribe. The Latest Multisite Campus: Prison. Follow Christianity Today Facebook. The Galli Report Weekly. It is commonly believed that, in the same year he published his theses, Martin changed his surname from 'Luder' to 'Luther' , which some believe was in line with the Greek word 'erleutherios' meaning freedom and liberty. His father changed both their names after being inspired by a tour of various holy sites throughout Europe on which he learned about the huge effect of Martin Luther on the church.

Martin Luther was the eldest of a large family and his father planned for him to study law in order to help with the family business. But it appears Luther had other plans. At age 21 he was caught up in a large storm and the story goes that he prayed to St. Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, to save his life, promising to become a monk if he survived.

Some claim this was a common practice in young people at the time, who did not want to follow in the path chosen for them by their parents. Whatever his reasoning, Luther honoured his promise and was ordained two years later. Nativity play at St. Salvator Chirch in Sachsen. Before the reformation, children in Germany often received presents on December 6th, the day of St. Meanwhile Jesus' birth was not specifically celebrated at all, as the Epiphany on January 6th was the main day of celebration as this was the day the three wise men are said to have visited Bethlehem.

Luther was against St. Nicholas being so particularly revered, so over time St. Nicholas' day lost more and more of its importance in the Protestant faith. In its place the birth of Christ began to be celebrated which led to the modern celebration of Christmas Eve on December 24th in Germany and many other European countries. Coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire. Photo: Wikipedia. It seems odd for someone with such a wide-reaching influence, but according to the New Yorker , Martin Luther only traveled outside of the German speaking lands in Europe once. He was sent to Rome in in a failed mission to deal with problems in the Augustinian order.

Luther had to be 'kidnapped' by his friend to avoid severe repercussions from the Catholic Church.

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After publishing his 95 Theses, Luther was called to Rome to answer for his heresy. When he did not comply, he was excommunicated but brazenly burned the paper which announced his excommunication in a pit used by a Wittenburg hospital to burn old rags. He avoided execution for this because of his huge popularity with the general public, but in he was called to a Diet in the town of Worms, an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire, to explain himself. In Worms, Luther announced he would only retract his criticisms of the church if they could show him sufficient evidence from the holy scripture to support the practices he deemed to be corrupt.

1. Eschatology is a major part of the Christian storyline

As he was travelling back from Worms, Luther's protector, Frederick the Wise, ordered a group of knights to "kidnap" and hide him until the Catholic church had calmed down. He translated the entire New Testament from Greek to German in just 11 weeks. Wartburg Eisenach. After being 'kidnapped' and taken to in an isolated castle in Eisenach , he spent 11 weeks of his 10 months in captivity translating the New Testament, which he did single handedly at a blazing rate of 1, words a day.

Luther then went on to translate the old testament from Hebrew. He wasn't the first person to translate the bible into German but many consider his version to be the most beautifully written and it was certainly the most popular. Martin Luther not only had a huge impact on the church, but also on the German language.

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Lutherian bible facsimile published by Taschen Luther was a prolific writer and wrote almost works in his lifetime. What's more, he was lucky to have been born just 10 years after the invention of the printing press. This meant his works reached thousands of people at a time when literature was sparse. Most of his writing was in Early New High German and experts credit the widespread use of this dialect to the popularity of Luther's writing, especially his translation of the bible. Despite this high price, all 3, copies of the bible sold out as soon as they were put on sale.

The Lutherian bible also included woodcut illustrations all done by the same artist.

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In a beautiful two volume facsimile of Luther's original bible was published by German art book publisher Taschen , which had the drawings in colour. Portrait of Luther by Cranach Despite his powerful legacy, it is important not to sweep the darker aspects of Martin Luther's life under the mat. Even for the time, Luther's aversion to the Jewish faith was extreme. Earlier in his career he advocated gentle treatment of Jews and criticised the Catholic Church for "treating them like dogs". It appears this criticism was merely because Luther saw the harsh treatment of Jews as the reason they would not convert to Christianity.

However as he got older Luther began to take a much more aggressive stance against what he claimed to be a "false religion. He proposed seven measures of "sharp mercy" to be taken against the Jewish population in Germany in which included "setting fire to their synagogues or schools". He met her while helping a group of nuns who had recently left a Cistercian convent in light of the reformation.

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  7. While eleven of the twelve nuns were either returned to their families or found husbands, the year-old Katharina was left. Though Luther claimed to have not felt any kind of "burning" attraction towards the young woman, she wanted him and proposed marriage, to which he agreed, the New Yorker writes. Katharina managed his huge household which, apart from their large number of children, also included 20 or so students, 8 orphaned children, a large family escaping the plague, various visitors and a small staff. Historians noticed a change in Luther's attitude towards women after his marriage and he appeared to respect his wife a great deal, calling her "the most holy Frau Doctor" in letters.