February 19, 1546: Katie Luther’s world is turned upside down. Shortly after 6 am, the news of her husband Martin’s death is brought to her by close family friends Philipp Melanchthon, Johannes Bugenhagen, and Caspar Cruciger. They had all received the news of Luther’s death from Justus Jonas who had been with Luther when he died.
Melanchthon reported later to Chancellor Gregor Brück: “It is easy to see that the poor woman is deeply shocked and greatly troubled, but especially on account of the three sons whom the sainted Doctor had in Eisleben, not knowing how they might react to their father’s death.” (Kroker: “The Mother of the Reformation: The Amazing Life and Story of Katharine Luther” pg. 221)
Meanwhile in Eisleben, Luther’s body was laid in state at St. Andrew’s church where he had preached just days before. Justus Jonas preached a funeral sermon and that night ten citizens of the town kept vigil over his body out of respect for this great church leader.