Martin Luther’s Grave

In my post Castle Church Doors I mentioned that I had two pictures on my must take list when I visited Wittenberg, Germany.

Castle Church Wittenberg, Martin Luther, 95 theses, church doors, Mighty FortressThe first was a picture of the doors of the Castle Church where Luther posted his 95 Theses 499 years ago today.

Castle Church, Wittenberg, Germany, Luther, Martin Luther GraveThe second picture I wanted to take was of something inside the church building. Here you can see the interior of the Castle Church. When I arrived a group of musicians was practicing for a concert that they would give later in the afternoon.

Martin Luther Grave, Castle Church, Wittenberg, GermanyAfter their practice was complete I made my way to the pulpit area to take a picture of the grave marker for Martin Luther. He is buried about six feet under the floor here.

The bronze plaque was originally at floor level, but in 1892 was placed on this knee-high sandstone plinth.

A translation of the Latin inscription reads:

Here lies buried the body of Martin Luther, Doctor of Sacred Theology. He died in the year of Christ 1546 on February 18 in his paternal city of Eisleben at the age of 63 years, 2 months, 10 days.

Castle Church Pulpit, Wittenberg, Luthers GraveHere you see the pulpit of the church. The pulpit dates from the late 1800’s so would not have been the pulpit Luther would have preached from.

I could not imagine delivering a sermon or class from a pulpit like this. I would not want to be elevated above the congregation or class.

Martin Luther Grave, Grave Plate, Wittenberg, Germany, Castle ChurchI would have liked this picture much better without the light stand here, but since they were set up for the concert I had to work around the setup.

What I want you to see here is the large bronze plate on the wall. This is a copy of what was to be the grave plate for Martin Luther. The copy was made in 1892 and installed in the Castle Church.

The original grave plate hangs on the wall of the St. Michael Church in Jena, Germany. For more details and to find out why the original is in Jena see Reformation Day II and Notable Jena Gravestones.

Martin Luther, Castle Church, Wittenberg, GermanyIf you look at pictures of the original grave plate in my other posts you will see that this is not an exact copy of the original by Heinrich Ziegler the Younger.

The words around the plaque are in Latin and are translated:

In the year 1546, on February 18, the most honorable Martin Luther, Doctor of Theology, was called home from this fleeting life. Even on his deathbed he firmly testified his teaching to have been the true doctrine necessary to the church (for salvation), and commended his soul to God in faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He died at the age of 63 years after more than 30 years spent in conscientious and successful work for the edification of the people of God in this city. But his body lied buried here. Isaiah 52: ‘How beautiful are the feet of him who publishes peace’

After a little more sightseeing in Wittenberg I returned to the Castle Church to listen to the concert. The concert was given by a group of young people playing music from the Renaissance on instruments modeled after ones that were played during that time period.

I then went to visit the Luther 1517 Panorama. This is a must see if you are planning on visiting Wittenberg in the near future.


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15 Responses to Martin Luther’s Grave

  1. fotoeins says:

    On Reformation Day (31 Oct) this year, I visited Wittenberg’s Schlosskirche to attend the first morning 8am mass/service which was held in English. I’m no longer a religious person, but I’m glad to have made the effort to attend the service as a kind of ritual or tradition, especially in this church on a particularly notable day. I found your post when I looked for an English translation of the plaque on Luther’s tombstone; it’s worth noting the translation also appears in Brad Olsen’s 2007 book “Sacred Places Europe: 108 Destinations.”

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  13. Ron Weller says:

    I am preaching on the Reformation soon. Can I use your pictures?

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