Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel (1465-11 August 1519) was a Catholic German friar, Grand Inquisitor of Heresy to Poland, and Grand Commissioner of Indulgences in Germany. His granting of indulgences in exchange for money was one of the main reasons by Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation.


Johann Tetzel was born in Pirna, Electorate of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire in 1465, and he entered the Dominican Order in 1489. In 1509, he became an inquisitor in Poland, and he was made commissioner of indulgences in Germany in 1517 by the Archbishop of Brandenburg. Tetzel's goal was to trick people into giving the Catholic Church money to that it could rebuilt St. Peter's Basilica and pay off the debts owed by Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg to those who helped in making him Archbishop of Mainz. Martin Luther criticized him and wrote his Ninety-Five Theses in reaction to Tetzel's corrupt practices, which led to him being forced into a Dominican monastery in Leipzig. He died in Leipzig in 1519, having fallen into disrepute.