Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560)

Luther's right hand and successor in Germany

Melanchton was a humanist and a theologian who adapted Luther’s ideas. His attempts to reconcile the different reformation trends failed.

A humanist

  • Melanchthon (1497-1560)

Philip Schwarzerdt, called Melanchton, was a scholar who taught Greek at the university in Wittenberg, and who readily adopted the Reformation ideas from the start and became Luther’s right hand.

In Loci Communes (1521) he systematically exposed Luther’s ideas.

He was anxious to harmonise Reformation and christian classical studies.

He confirmed the power of the State, awarded by nature, against the supremacy of the Church.

He tried to unite the different trends of reformation and even tried to bridge the gap between Reformation and Catholicism to maintain Christian unity and political unity in the empire.

Luther's right hand and successor

  • Melanchthon Philipp, Loci praecipui theologici... (1559)

He was the author of the Augsburg Confession submitted to the diet convoked by Charles the Fifth in Augsburg in 1530 to put an end to religious dissensions in the empire. No agreement could be reached with the catholics even though the said Confession of Faith was very restrained. To this day it still is the official confession of faith of the lutherans.

Upon Luther’s decease in 1545, he became the main lutheran leader.

He prompted the creation of universities and colleges, trained the teachers and defined the syllabus.

He published a lot of writings, notably comments on the Bible and dogmatic works.

Exhibition on Philipp Melanchthon

Website of the Melanchthon House in Bretten

Associated tours

Associated notes

  • The Melanchthon House in Bretten (Germany)

    The great humanist and famous reformer Philipp Melanchthon, born in Bretten in 1497, was an intimate friend and collaborator, of Luther. A museum in Bretten bears his name, it was...
  • The Augsburg confession (1530)

    This confession of faith was written by Philipp Melanchton for the diet in Augsburg in 1530 and was meant as a unifying text. It was based on the Scriptures and...
  • Renaissance and Humanism in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries

    At the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453, Europe was peaceful for a while as there were less disease epidemics and less conflicts. The population grew, cities developed...
  • The Lutheran Reformation

    Luther initiated a reformation movement with the aim of correcting the practices as well as the doctrine of the Church. He did not intend to found a new Church. But...
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546)

    Martin Luther’s theology is based on the Bible and not on dogmas. Referring to Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he claims that salvation is given through God’s grace and not...
  • Charles the Fifth (1500-1558)

    Charles the Fifth inherited a vast empire; although he saw himself as a defender of Catholicism, he was unable to prevent the spread of the Reformation Movement in the Holy...
  • Frederic the Wise (1463-1525)

    Prince Frederic III, Elector of Saxony, always offered protection to Luther against the Pope’s terrible sentences (he was banned as an outlaw) and also the attacks of Emperor Charles the...
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder (1427-1553)

    The painter and engraver Lucas Cranach or Cranach the Elder adopted the reformation ideas of Luther as soon as his theses were posted in 1517. He was the official painter...