Martin Luther is heralded as the founder of the Protestant Reformation. In reality, by the time Luther posted his 95 Theses, The Orthodox Church in Europe had already been forced underground. For the better part of five hundred years the church we know today as the Roman Catholic Church had been actively reforming outside of Orthodoxy. The Hildebrandian or/AKA Gregorian reforms had already created a religion and papist structure fundamentally different (heterodox) than The Orthodox Faith delivered once by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and subsequently to their successors. Luther’s reformation was an attempt to recreate a more ancient form of Christianity that he felt had been lost or corrupted. The Orthodox Faith had not been lost or corrupted. It had, in fact, continued on unknown to most Europeans.

Some consider the Birthday of Lutheranism to be October 31, 1517. On this day, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on Castle Church in Wittenberg. In fact, the beginning of Lutheranism could be more accurately established in the events of July 2, 1505. On this day in history, a promising law student named Martin Luther found himself in the middle of a terrible lightning storm as he walked from his family home to school. The storm was so terrible he feared he would die. Seeking safety clinging to a rock, Luther prayed…

Hilf, Heilige Anna, ich will Mönch werden!

Help, Saint Anna, I will become a monk!

Anna means Grace. He had received grace and kept his vow. A few days later he joined the monastery at Erfurt. The rest is history. The so called Protestant Reformation would never have begun if Luther had not prayed to Saint Anna.

The imagery present in this story is fascinating. Fearing the cares of the world, Luther clings to a rock. Rock in scripture is used as an analogy to describe Christ and His Mother. In Luther’s vow to become a monk, he is making a promise to imitate Saint Anna’s children by living monastically.

Germans erected a stone in 1907 near Stotternheim to mark the location where this event took place.

We find ourselves in a lightning storm of confusion as we face the emergence of the antichrist and his society. Luther prayed to Saint Anna. We should do the same in our terrible storm of wordly cares.

Luther was correct to leave a heretical church and bishop. Luther unfortunately formed his own heretical system of beliefs that was not founded on the patristic consensus of The Orthodox Faith. For something to be Orthodox it must conform to the teaching of the Catholic Church clarified in the words of Saint Vincent of Lerins…

Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. The Commonitory of Vincent of Lérins 434 AD

We are blessed to have translations and patristic texts from the first few centuries of The Church. The amount of information we have at our fingertips is orders of magnitude greater than Luther could have even imagined. We have hours of Orthodox apologetic videos citing Church teachings. We can successfully identify and return to the ancient Christian Faith. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and its Faith, is there for us to embrace. Luther attempted and failed. We can attempt and succeed.