Every era has produced its own famous personalities whose names live on through the centuries. However, it was not only rulers, but also men of the church, monks, nuns and martyrs who distinguished themselves through their deeds.
Martin Luther – the great church reformer
Martin Luther (born in Eisleben, 1483-1546) made history as the spiritual father of the Protestant Reformation of the medieval church by nailing his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle in 1517. He is also remembered for translating the New Testament at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach . The Protestant church still celebrates Reformation Day on 31 October, the day on which Luther's theses were published. more »
Sebastian Kneipp: priest, naturopath and father of Kneipp medicine
Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) was a Bavarian priest, hydrotherapist and the father of Kneipp medicine who gave his name to the famous Kneipp hydrotherapy treatment. He was appointed a papal chamberlain by Pope Leo XIII in late 1893. While there are many Kneipp hydrotherapy resorts, he is particularly closely associated with Bad Wörishofen where, although a priest not a doctor, he began practising his holistic healing methods in 1855.
Pope Benedict XVI – head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican
In 2005 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, member of the Roman Curia and former Archbishop of Munich, entered the papal conclave in Rome as favourite to succeed Pope John Paul II and left it as Pope. On 24 April he received the pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman to symbolise his entry into the service of St. Peter. The Benedict Trail , almost 250km long, starts and finishes in Altötting and links the places where Pope Benedict spent his youth.
The well-known Benedictine nun Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), who was one of the most popular women of the German Middle Ages, remains very much a widely regarded saint today. She was a visionary, mystic, doctor, scientist, artist, politician, composer, theologian and abbey superior. Her faith and lifestyle have made her a guide for many people.
St. Boniface, apostle of the Germans and one of the most important missionaries and church reformers in the Frankish Empire
Boniface (born 672/73 in Wessex, died 5 June 754 in Dokkum) was a Benedictine monk and missionary archbishop, one of the 'Ice Saints' and regarded as one of the pioneers of western Christianity. He was likened to the apostles even during his lifetime. His iconographic attributes include the oak and axe, missal and sword. He is buried in Fulda Cathedral, where his tomb has attracted crowds of pilgrims since the 8th century.
Elisabeth of Thuringia – the patron saint of charity and the rose miracle
Elisabeth (1207-1231), daughter of the King of Hungary, is considered the epitome of charitable work and celebrated as a patron saint throughout the world. She was canonised in 1235 by Pope Gregory IX and has become one of the leading women in European church history. Her name and work have close links with Wartburg Castle in Eisenach and St. Elisabeth's Church in Marburg, where the three Elisabeth Paths meet.