QUAE ORIGO?
QUI ANTECESSOR?

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D. Martin Luther

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1. January 2007

 
 
 
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[Source: Günter Luther 'The Luther-Family', Berlin 1986]

Johannes Luther is born on 7. June 1526 in Wittenberg. His grandperents were the provost Justus Jonas and Lucas Cranach the Older, the chancellor Müller from Mansfeld, the vice-chancellor Baier, Bugenhagen and the wife of the mayor Hohndorf from Wittenberg.

His friends and playfellows were 'Josten', born 1525, the son of his godfather Justus Jonas and 'Lippius', the son of Philipp Melanchthon, who was born on 3. December 1525 in Wittenberg. Magdalena von Bora, 'Muhme Lene', an aunt of his mother, attended to Johannes. In the year 1537 aunt Lene deceased.

Already in the year 1533 he matriculated at the University of Wittenberg. The pedagogues Georg Schnell, Franz Bock and most of all Hieronymus Weller from Molsdorf attended to his other education. In the years 1542/43 he came to the magister Crodel in Torgau. Here he prepared 1543 for the magister graduation. In support of this graduation his father sent Georg Major to him. Following Johannes started with the real studying.

From 1545 Johannes was allowed to accompany his father on some journeys, so also in January 1546 to Eisleben, where D. Martin Luther on 18. February 1546 died. But Johannes has further-traveled to Mansfeld to visit there his uncle Jacob Luther, the younger brother of his father.

Philipp Melanchthon, mayor Reiter, his uncle Jacob Luther and Caspar Cruziger, who was now the rector of the University Wittenberg, as proxy for the personel physician Ratzeburger, were ordered to his guardians. Elector Johann Friedrich of Saxony offered to employ Johannes in his office. But Johannes asked him to allow to continue firstly his studies.

Because of the Schmalkaldi War 1546/47 the working at the university could be kept only provisional upright. In this time Johannes worried about his brothers and sisters, as eldest son together with his mother. Particularly as they twice because of the war over Magdeburg to Braunschweig to flee had.

In the year 1548 Johannes took up again the study of the rights. After a recommendation letter of Melanchthon, promoted now also duke Albrecht of Prussia the studies. The son-in-law of Melanchthon, George Sabinus, became rector of the university in Königsberg. Shortly thereafter he was in Wittenberg and with him together traveled Johannes Luther in May 1549 to East Prussia. He wanted to continue its study there. Since in Königsberg the plague had broken out, they had to be for the time being in Laptau and Prussian Holland. So Johannes could continue only at the beginning of the year 1550 his study.

In Königsberg Johannes Luther became the friend of castle count Achatius zu Dohna .He received his leaving certificate of the university on 15. July 1551. Afterwards both still remained at the ancestral seat of the 'zu Dohna' in Mohrungen, before they traveled in October 1551 to Wittenberg to continue their studies.

Because of outbreak of the plague, in autumn 1552, the University Wittenberg was moved to Torgau for a provisional working. Also the mother with his siblings moved to Torgau. There on 20. December 1552 his mother Katharina von Bora deceased.

With the distribution of the inheritance 0n 29. June 1553 Johannes Luther became patriarch and together with his brothers Martin and Paul lords of the Luther-Manor Wachsdorf, south of the Elbe river near Wittenberg.

Johannes was employed as court chansellor at the court of Friedrich the Middle of Saxony and went to Weimar. 1561 he moved with the duke to Gotha.

In the year 1563 Johannes Luther interrupted his activity at the court to visit his sister Margarethe von Kunheim in East Prussia. There were still some hereditary affairs, particular according to the big house, the Black Monastry in Wittenberg, to manage. The Black Monastry was sold then 1564 to the university.

Johannes was 1563/64 for a longer time in East Prussia and here he had married his wife Elisabeth von Schlieben, widowed 'von Creytzen'. She was a cousin of his brother-in-law Georg von Kunheim and a daughter of Wilhelm von Schlieben.

At this time Johannes was godfather of the son, born in Mühlhausen, of his friend, since studying in Königsberg, Kaspar Henneberger, who was pastor there. Also the ancestral seat of the 'von Kunheim' family belonged to this parish.

In September 1564 Johannes traveled to Wittenberg. There he managed the sale of the Black Monastry. From there he returned to Gotha, where he had been absent for one and a half year. Obviously his wife remained in East Prussia, where 1564 the daughter Katharina was born.

Nearby Jena Johannes Luther had also a close contact to Johannes Wigand, who was theology professor there and had married Eva Dresser, a granddaughter of his uncle Jacob Luther.

Probable caused by Wilhelm von Grumbach, who had to much influence over duke Johann Friedrich of Saxony, he asked for his dismissal to move to his family in East Prussia. But he got only on 5. May 1566 a leave of absence. Johannes moved to Königsberg and was employed by Albrecht of Prussia, who was his long-lived benefactor. In East Prussia Johannes some sons were born.

With this relocation to East Prussia, that falls into the time of the Grumbach quarrels, the biography of Johannes remains a little bit veiled. It is certain however that further years in Prussian services followed. In the year 1569 he was in Berlin, where his brother Paul had become personal physician of the elector Joachim II. of Brandenburg. Johannes became the godfather for his, born here, nephew Johann Joachim Luther at the baptism on Palm Sunday 1569. To this time he stood in services of the duke Albert Friedrich of Prussia, at whose court in Königsberg he also lived.

The small distance between Königsberg and Knauten made it possible to Johannes Luther, as minister Henneberger reports, to meet frequently with his sister Margarete. This deceased young at the age of 36 years. Afterwards Johannes lived obviously on one of the family estates in the environment of Königsberg. It is probably to be owed to the influence of Johannes Luther at the Prussian court the fact that Konrad Schlüsselburg, married with Anna Dresser, a granddaughter of Jacob Luther, the younger brother of the Reformators, came in the year 1573 to Königsberg.

At the same time also Johannes Wigand with his wife and the brothers-in-law Adam and Christoph Dresser moved to Königsberg. He became a rector at the university of Königsberg and late bishop of Pomesanien. Likewise the theology professor Heshusius from Jena came to East Prussia and received the appointment to the bishop of Samland. The study friendship of Johannes with Achatius to Dohna persisted. His father was married in first marriage with Anna zu Eulenburg, whose family had likewise estates in East Prussia. Achatius to Dohna was in the meantime ducal Prussian envoy, and at Mohrungen married with Barbara von Wernsdorf, a daughter of Catharina von Ölsnitz. The niece Dorothea of this Catharina von Ölsnitz married 1573 Georg von Kunheim in his 2nd marriage.

Because of a serious illness Johannes Luther lay in the city dwelling of the counsel Heinrich Stenderich in Königsberg. There he was treated by the court physician Dr. Severin Göbel, which attained a doctorate with the brother Paul Luther once.

Here Johannes Luther deceased on 27 October 1575. He is buried before the altar of the church in the Old Town of Königsberg. To the funeral service has called Johannes Wigand, who was installed one week before to the bishop of Pomesanien. Bishop Heshusius held the sermon for the mourners.

 

 
 
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Johannes Luther, the first born son of the Reformator, had three sons and one daugther? Yes! Continuation of page 2
 
 
     

 
     

     
 


     

 
 
     
 
     
 
     

     
 
     

     

continued in the right column in this part

 

[Staatsarchiv preuss. Kulturbesitz, Berlin XX HA 50a # 57]

     

     
 
     
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Copyright 2007  Wolfgang Appell