Martin Luther, a German priest who began the Protestant Reformation in Europe the 16th century, was born on Nov. 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany. He graduated from the University of Erfurt with a Master of Arts degree while on a career track to be a lawyer. He eschewed the legal career for a life as a monk in July of 1505 after he had made a promise to St. Anne during a dangerous thunderstorm.
On Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed a paper containing 95 theses on the chapel door at the University of Wittenberg. This document criticized the Roman Catholic Church's indulgences and corruption, and copies made by the printing press spread throughout Germany. In January of 1521, the Roman Catholic Church officially excommunicated Luther.
On May 8, 1521, following Luther's continued refusal to renounce his theses, the Diet of Worms issued the Edict of Worms, which banned Luther’s writings and labeled him a heretic. In 1522, he began a new religion he called Lutheranism, and it gained support in Germany. He married former nun Katrina von Bora in 1525, and the couple had six children. In 1533 he became dean of theology at the University of Wittenberg. He died on Feb 18, 1546, in Eisleben, Germany.