Augustinian Monastery in Gotha
In the room where Martin Luther once preached
Cistercian nuns founded a convent here in 1251, but they did not stay long and relinquished the building to the Augustinian monks after a few years. The mendicants now built new buildings and received the deed of transfer from Pope Innocent V. in 1276. Thanks to donations, endowments and purchases, the order's property and income grew, enabling the monks to extend the Augustinian Church, amongst other things. An inscription on the church’s east tower “Erbaut im Jahre des Herrn 1366” (“Built in the Year of our Lord 1366”) reminds visitors of the monastery’s heyday, from which the chapter house, the sacristy and the cloister are still preserved to this day. The cloister encircles the large courtyard. In those days, it served as a place of worship, was used for processions and was a burial place for monks and high-ranking personages.
As a monk, Martin Luther stayed in the monastery in 1515 and 1516 for visits of inspection. As a Reformer, he preached in the Augustinian Church on his way to the Diet of Worms. He apparently left a lasting impressing there. During his sermon, stones fell from the gable wall with a loud crash. According to legend in Gotha, this was the devil’s rage because Luther had stolen so many souls from him.
After the Reformation, Friedrich Myconius became the first superintendent the grammar school that was then established in the former monastery, and had a decisive influence on this school. The only preserved monastery in Thuringia keeps the memory of past centuries alive to this day. Today, visitors can stand in the very room where Luther preached.
Nowadays, the monastery is a community centre that offers a programme of concerts, events, talks and exhibitions. It also has an impressive library with more than 5,000 volumes and a cosy café.
Header: ©Anja Christel, Augustinerkloster Gotha Herberge gGmbH