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zum Inhalt springen Luther Monument Erfurt © Andreas Weise, Thuringia Tourist Board

Reformation Heroes

While no one can dispute Martin Luther's vital role as the "Father of the Reformation", we would be remiss to overlook the many others whose support transformed this movement into a wave of change that engulfed the entire world.

Luther's greatest friend and one true love, Katharina von Bora, shines as one of the leading female leaders of the Reformation. A former nun turned loving wife and mother, Katharina was a smart, shrewd woman and pillar of strength for Luther and their many children.

Martin Luther's path was also made smoother by the help and support of his friends, such as the great intellectual Philipp Melanchthon. Known as Luther's right-hand man, Melanchthon was a loyal source of advice and friendship throughout the Great Reformer's life. Another one of Luther's contemporaries and life-long friends was Georg Spalatin, a man whose political influence and diplomatic skill proved indispensable to both the Reformation and to Luther personally.

Luther's teachings found support in the artistic world, as well, and particularly among the Cranach Family. A good friend of Luther and his wife Katharina, the "Reformation Painter" Lucas Cranach the Elder and his son, Lucas Cranach the Younger, left behind a legacy of breathtaking, Reformation-inspired artwork that also radically influenced the artistic style of the time.

The Great Reformer's values resonated so deeply with the society that other Reformation Heroes continued to appear even centuries after Luther's death. Johann Sebastian Bach, for example, was not only one of the greatest composers in history, but also a fervent Lutheran. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg was yet another late-rising star of the Reformation, making the dangerous journey to North America in 1742 to plant seeds that would eventually grow into the modern-day American Lutheran Church.