Writings of Martin Luther (1483-1546)
circulated widely | 11th Grade
The Pope demanded an explanation of his
The writings of Martin Luther (1483-1546) circulated widely,
reaching France, England, and Italy as early as 1519, and students thronged to
Wittenberg to hear him speak.
When the Pope demanded an explanation of his writings, Luther wrote a summary and explanation of
his theses to the Pope. While the Pope may have conceded some of the points, he
did not like the challenge to his authority, so he summoned Luther to Rome. At
that point Frederick the Wise, the Saxon Elector, intervened. He did not want one
of his subjects to be sent to Rome to be judged by Italians, so he prevailed on the Holy Roman
Emperor Charles V to arrange a compromise.
An arrangement was effected, whereby the Pope's summons was cancelled. On June
15, 1520, the Pope warned Luther that he risked excommunication unless he
recanted 41 sentences drawn from his writings.
Luther publicly set fire to a bull (papal bull (edict)) from the Pope on December
10, 1520. As a consequence, Luther was excommunicated by Leo X on January 3,