The Life of Martin Luther
Luther the Church Leader (1526-1537)
Luther’s Early Years  |  Luther the Reformer  |  Luther the Church Leader  |  Luther’s Later Years 
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1526 (age 42)
January Luther in 1526 Luther publishes the German Mass under the title of Deutsche Messe Und Ordnung Gottis Dientis (German Mass and Order of the Divine Service).  [image]  For aesthetic reasons he continues to use the Latin Mass published in the Formula Missae.   

Luther in 1526
painting by Lucas Cranach

Luther writes Whether Soldiers Too Can Be Saved
June 7 Hans (John) Luther II is born to Martin and Katherine [picture of Katherine]
The First Imperial Diet of Speyer makes Protestant reforms legal. Local sovereigns are able to decide how much they want the reforms within their territory. The Diet suspends the Edict of Worms. Especially in Saxony and Hesse, new forms of church organization begin to emerge.

(age 43)

Luther publishes the Smart Songbook  [picture]

Luther begins to suffer from heart problems and dizziness (possibly Meniere's disease) in addition to his perennial digestive and intestinal difficulties.
April Luther writes Whether these Words: This is My Body 
summer Luther writes "A Mighty Fortress is our God". By mid summer, he is suffering from depression. His ill health plagues him. He feels powerless to help those of his followers who are suffering for their faith and may be suffering from survivor's guilt.
August 2
The black death strikes Wittenberg.  Elector John evacuates the university to Jena, but Luther decides to stay in Wittenberg and minister to the plague victims.  His son Hans contracts the plague but lives.

November Luther writes Whether one May Flee from a Deadly Plague 
December 1 Elizabeth Luther is born to Martin and Katherine.  She is born sickly, possibly because of Katherine's exposure to the black death while pregnant.

By the end of 1527, Saxony was, for all practical purposes, entirely Protestant
1528 (age 44)  [Cranach's 1528 portrait of Luther]

Luther travels and evaluates the Protestant clergy
March 28 Luther writes Confession and the Lord's Supper
May 4 Elizabeth Luther, Martin and Katherine's daughter, dies
June Luther encourages Protestant rulers to banish rather than execute Anabaptists in their territory.
1529 (age 45)
February 21 The Second Diet of Speyer (held through April 22) sets aside the first Diet's judgment. The Catholics believe it to be a fair compromise. It garners protest from the Protestants.  (From that protest comes the word "Protestant.")

Luther writes On War Against the Turk [an essay containing excerpts]
March Luther publishes the Small Catechism 
May 4 Luther publishes the Large Catechism
May 4 Magdalena Luther is born to Martin and Katherine
October 1 The Marburg Colloquy begins. Luther meets with Ulrich Zwingli [picture] in Marburg. German and Swiss theologians try to hammer out a theological statement they both can agree on, hoping for unity between the Protestants. (through October 4) [Heinrich Bullinger's account of the Colloquy]
1530 (age 46)

Luther writes Exhortation to All Clergy Assembled at Augsburg 
April 8

Melanchthon The Diet of Augsburg convenes. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V summons the German Lutheran nobility to Augsburg to account for their "Lutheran" views. They present the emperor with Philip Melanchthon's Augsburg Confession.


April 16
Luther arrives at the Coburg Veste (citadel), where he resides during the diet of Augsburg. (He is under the ban of the Empire and is not welcome at the official meeting, four days' journey away.) He receives periodic updates from Melanchthon and other Protestant participants.
May 1 Hans Luther, Martin's father, dies while Luther is at Coburg.  [a later picture of Hans Luther]
June 20 The first meeting of the Diet of Augsburg is held. The meeting had been delayed because the emperor had not been able to reach Augsburg in time for the convocation
June 25 The Augsburg Confession is read before the imperial diet. It is a deliberately moderate Lutheran confession of faith containing both doctrine and a list of ecclesiastical abuses that demand remedy. Over the course of the next three months, Roman theologians issue a refutation, the Confutatio Pontificia.
September 8
Luther publishes An Open Letter on Translating
October Luther and Melanchthonmeet with political leaders in Torgau. The electoral advisors persuade Luther to leave the question of armed revolt against the emperor to political leaders. Luther begins to rethink his views on the relationship of church and state.
November 19 The Diet of Augsburg ends. The participants are unable to achieve a compromise.   Charles V gives the Protestants until April of 1531 to submit to his and the Catholic Church's authority. He then declares that the they have been defeated.  The Augsburg Confession becomes an authoritative profession of Lutheran faith.
1531 (age 47)

Luther writes Warning to his Beloved Germans, discussing the rightness of armed resistance to the emperor. He leaves the choice to take up arms to the Protestant rulers.

Luther and his co-translators finish translating the Psalms

Margaretta Luther (Martin's mother) dies
March 29 The Smalkaldian Alliance (also known as the Smalkaldic League)is formed. It is a protective alliance of Protestant princes under the leadership of Saxony and Hesse, formed to protect against Catholic attack.
November 9 Martin Luther, Jr. is born to Martin and Katherine
1532 (age 48)

The Religious Peace of Nürnberg grants German Protestants free exercise of religion until further notice.
1533 (age 49)

Luther writes About Private Mass and Ordination

Luther helps reform the theology faculty at the University of Wittenberg.
January 29 Paul Luther is born to Martin and Katherine
1534 (age 50)[picture of Luther at 50]

Luther publishes the first edition of the German Bible. He continues to work on revisions for the rest of his life.
December 17 Margarethe Luther is born to Martin and Katherine
1535 (age 51)

Luther becomes dean of the theological faculty at Wittenberg

Luther lectures on Genesis (through 1545).

Luther publishes his Commentary on Galatians
November 7 Luther negotiates with nuncio Pietro Vergerio at Wittenberg Castle about Protestant participation in the papal council
1536 (age 52)
January 14 Luther writes The Disputation Concerning Man.

Luther writes The Disputation Concerning Justification.
March 21 Wittenberg Concord. A conference of Lutheran and Zwinglian theologians meet at Luther's house. The achieve some compromise but very little understanding or respect for each other.

Luther helps reorganize the Wittenberg University curriculum.

Luther allows for the possibility of executing Anabaptistswho disrupt the public order and refuse to stay in banishment.
December 1 Luther publishes the Schmalkaldic Articles
1537 (age 53)
February 9 The Bundestag at Schmalkald begins (and runs through February 20). Luther attends but is very ill.

Luther issues the Schmalkaldic Articles, as a statement of Lutheran doctrine. 

Luther’s Early Years  |  Luther the Reformer  |  Luther the Church Leader  |  Luther’s Later Years 
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