Martin Luther, Reformer

31 October -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Pastors, page 483

Martin Luther was born in 1483 at Eisleben in Saxony and educated at the cathedral school in Magdeburg and the university in Erfurt. He joined an order of Augustinian hermits there and was ordained priest in 1507, becoming a lecturer in the university at Wittenberg. He became vicar of his Order in 1515, having charge of a dozen monasteries. His Christian faith began to take on a new shape, with his increasing dissatisfaction with the worship and order of the Church. He became convinced that the gospels taught that humanity is saved by faith and not by works, finding support in the writings of St Augustine of Hippo. He refuted the teaching of the Letter of James, calling it 'an epistle of straw'. Martin sought to debate the whole matter by posting ninety-five theses or propositions on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg on this day in the year 1517. The hierarchy chose to see it as a direct attack on the Church, which forced Martin into open rebellion. The Protestant Reformation spread throughout Germany and then Europe, many seeing it as liberation from a Church that held them in fear rather than love. Martin Luther died in 1546, having effected a renaissance in the Church, both Protestant and Catholic.