We are pleased that you are interested in the Luther-Trail in southern Thuringia.
It leads you to the workplaces of Martin Luther and to many places connected with the reformation. In addition, many evangelic churches invite you to visit them and to stop for a moment.
Big town churches and small village churches open their rooms for reflection and prayer in a thoughtful silence.
In addition, the idea of pilgrimage takes an essential place on the Luther-Trail. Sometimes we must set out from that what binds us. Sometimes we must arrange to be free of the daily grind. Sometimes it is advised to go about a new way to find ourselves.
“Who does not have the sky inside oneself, does not look for it in vain in the whole universe.” The poet Otto Ludwig who was born in Eisfeld wrote this sentence. His two hundredth’ birthday in 2013 is the reason for us to wish you a pleasant stay at Eisfeld and in our region, and to gain further experience for oneself. We would like to wish you interesting meetings in Thuringia and time for thought and prayer on the places where Martin Luther has left his mark.
In Eisfeld, you will discover the name of Justus Jonas who was one of the closed friends of Luther.
Justus Jonas (born 5 June 1493 in Nordhausen; died 9 October 1555 in Eisfeld) was a German jurist, humanist, poet of hymns, Lutheran theologian, reformator and comrade of Luther.
As an important personality of the reformation, he has been famous as a translator of works of Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. As a member of the reformers’ movement at Wittenberg, he was a representative of the marriage of priests and a lawyer of the reformators. He took an important part in the reforms of canon policy and law at Leipzig, Halle, Naumburg and Zerbst with Anhalt. After the death of Martin Luther, he unrelentingly pursued the confessionalization and took part in its realization at Hildesheim, Coburg, Regensburg and Eisfeld.
Jonas studied at the university in Erfurt. In 1511, he began his studies of jurisprudence in Wittenberg. He returned to Erfurt. There he did his doctorate and became a professor in jurisprudence and a leading member of the circle of humanists in Erfurt. As the vice-chancellor (rector) of the university, he had contacts with Erasmus of Rotterdam and turned his attention to the theology. In 1521, he became the provost of the All Saints’ Church, commonly referred as castle church at Wittenberg. Together with Martin Luther, he was a professor of theology at Wittenberg.
In August 1553 he answered the call of his former prince-elector Johann Frederick I as a vicar and superintendent at Eisfeld. On the 25 August 1953, he took over the lead of the churches in the region around Coburg. In old age and very physically restricted, he tried to replace the dilapidated churches and the school system of the country. He established a consistory after the example created by him at Wittenberg.
Justus Jonas died in the presence of his wife on October 9th, 1555, at 9 p.m. traditionally; his last words should have been “Lord Jesus Christ, into your hands I order my little soul, you have redeemed me.”
His memory in Eisfeld, his last workplace, is honoured with an epitaph, which shows him and Nikolaus Kindt praying. Jonas is represented as an old man with a beard and the main hair combed into the forehead. The last resting place of Justus Jonas is in the cemetery chapel on the old cemetery of Eisfeld. After the example of the epitaph Jonas’ statue as a reformer in the All Saints’ church (castle church) at Wittenberg was erected.
Over the board in the arcade, there is the following inscription in Latin:
Nobile Doctorum par lector amice virorum
Hic cernis quorum nomina urbe volant
Nicolaus Primus fuerat cognomine Kindus
Sparsit in hoc populo qui sacra verba Dei,
D. Kind obiit Cal. Oct. 1549
D. Jonas obiit 9. Jdus Oct. A 1555
Quod fuerat fragile hoc corpus requiescit in argo
Exspectans summo gaudia summa die M.J.K.E.
(Magister Johann Kind Eisfeld, the son of Nicolaus Kind) MDLXV.