Luther in Rome



    The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 52, #3, 1985 - Erwin Weber


In October 1510 Luther, the pious monk, arose from his bunk at the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt, located in central Germany, and prepared himself for a journey of 850 miles south on foot to the eternal city of Rome. There is no period in Luther's life that is so confusing and so full of legends as his trip to Rome. What is certain is that Luther went to Rome on foot with another monk, because Augustinians were not permitted to travel alone.

This article explains the reason for the journey and shows stations along the route. Undoubtedly, Luther accompanied Anton Kresz from Nuremberg who was in charge of the mission. Kresz was familiar with the ways of the Curia in Rome. Along the route, they probably stayed in Augustinian monasteries in Ulm with its gigantic cathedral tower, the highest in the world; went through the Sempter Pass in Switzerland to Milano, Italy; visited the convent San Gallo in Florence; and stayed at the Augustinian Monastery, Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome.

On the cover is my photo of a painting titled, "The Virgin Mary with the Child" XIII century. It is located in the Church of the Augustinian Monastery Santa Maria del Popola in Rome. I received permission from Umberto Scipioni, the current prior of the monastery at the time, to photograph the painting.