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You Are Here: Ruminations > Luther on His Way Home

Luther on His Way Home

In the dreary cold­ness of Feb­ru­ary I have to admit to not being entirely sad that we aren’t walk­ing back from Rome, espe­cially think­ing of the rot­ten weather that Luther cer­tainly would have encoun­tered in the famously harsh win­ter of 1510-11. But five hun­dred years ago this month he was on his way back home, car­ry­ing news of the fail­ure of the mis­sion back to this broth­ers. On the bright side, he got to see some dif­fer­ent sights on his return journey.

The trip home started out the same as the inbound jour­ney, from Rome back to Siena and then on to Flo­rence and Bologna. But at that last city, Luther and his com­pan­ion took a turn to the east, fin­ish­ing their Ital­ian sojourn through the cities of Mod­ena (home to the orig­i­nal bal­samic vine­gar), Man­tua (the set­ting of “The Tam­ing of the Shrew”), Verona (the set­ting of “Romeo and Juliet”), Rovereto, Trent (home to the even­tual Coun­cil of Trent, con­vened by the papal party in response to the Reform­ers), Salorno, Bolzano, Klausen (today Chiusa), Brixen (today Bres­sanone), and Sterz­ing (today Vip­iteno). They crossed back to the north side of the Alps through Bren­ner Pass, bypass­ing Switzer­land entirely by tak­ing the path through the Aus­trian Alps. After Inns­bruck and Seefeld, they re-entered Ger­many near Mit­ten­wald and car­ried on to Peitung, Lands­berg, and Augs­burg. They made their final Danube cross­ing at the bridge at Donauw­erth and picked up their pre­vi­ous route, fin­ish­ing the jour­ney through Nurem­berg, Bam­berg, and Coburg before arriv­ing back home again in Erfurt.

Surely this intrigues those still as-yet-unidentified Catholics out there who intend to retrace Luther’s return journey…?

In other news, look for another arti­cle reflect­ing on our pil­grim­age last fall in the April 5, 2011 issue of Chris­t­ian Cen­tury! I’ll post a link to the issue when it’s published—I think you’ll be able to read the begin­ning of the piece online.

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