When Martin Luther was making his pilgrimage from Erfurt to Rome in 1510, he took ‘Hohe Straße’ through Eisfeld and visited Trinity Church and the vicarage. In 1525, Dr Nikolaus Kindt, who had worked in Eisfeld for 23 years, introduced the Reformation here.
In Eisfeld you’ll also come across the name Justus Jonas, one of Luther’s closest allies. He worked as a lawyer, humanist, hymn writer, Lutheran theologian and Reformer, but is most well-known for his translations of works by Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. As part of the Wittenberg movement, he defended the rights of priests to marry and acted as a lawyer for the Reformers in legal situations. In this way he played a significant role in the church-political reform in Leipzig, Halle, Naumburg and Zerbst mit Anhalt. After the death of Martin Luther he carried out systematic Confessionalisation in Hildesheim, Coburg, Regensburg and Eisfeld. In August 1553 he responded to the request of his former Prince Elector John Frederick I to become vicar and superintendent at Eisfeld. He then took over the running of all the Coburg churches on 25 August 1553. In his old age and with his physical abilities in decline, he tried to overhaul the state church and education systems. To do this he set up a consistory according to his own Wittenberg model.
In Eisfeld, where he last worked, an epitaph to the Reformation depicts him praying with Nikolaus Kindt. Jonas is shown as an old man with a flowing beard and hair combed over his forehead. His final resting place can be found in the Gottesackerkirche church in the ‘Old cemetery’.
Although Martin Luther himself never visited Bad Rodach, the town still played an important role in Reformation history. At the beginning of July 1529, representatives of the Electorate of Saxony, Brandenburg-Ansbach, Hesse, Strasbourg, Nuremberg and Ulm met in the Church of St John in what is now Bad Rodach to try to prevent the threat of war with a Protestant defence league. In connection with the ‘Rodach Treaty’, they agreed on the ‘Rodach Notel’, a mutual but also military backup. These agreements were entered into the Schmalkaldic Constitution.