Bugenhagen became a supporter of Luther in the early 1520s and soon moved to Wittenberg. On October 25, 1523, he was named the pastor of St. Mary’s church in Wittenberg, making him Luther’s pastor. He also became a lecturer and professor at the University of Wittenberg. Luther often affectionately referred to him as Dr. Pommer in reference to the location of his birth.
Luther and Bugenhagen soon became close friends. It was Bugenhagen who performed the marriage ceremony for Martin and Katie. They also gave him the honor of being named one of the god-fathers of their first born Hans.
Bugenhagen proved himself useful to the spread of Lutheranism as well. He was often sent out by Luther to advise various territories in Northern Germany and Scandinavia. He also revised the church orders in these areas, removing the papistic abuses and including more congregational singing.
In this painting from the altarpiece from the City Church (St. Mary’s) in Wittenberg, Bugenhagen is depicted administering the office of the Keys – forgiving the sins of the penitent and retaining the sins of the impenitent. The painting is by Lucas Cranach the Elder.