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Posts from the ‘Martin Luther’ category

Martin Luther, Playmobil, Luther Bible, Lutherbibel, Pxhere, CC0

14 for 500 on 10-31: Luther & the Reformation

Above: Playmobil Luther on top of Luther-translated Bible. (Pxhere: CC0, source tog unknown).

October 31 and Martin Luther

In most years, October 31 is a statutory holiday in five German federal states. With 2017 as a special 500th anniversary year, all 16 federal states in Germany will observe October 31 as a statutory holiday.

On 31 October 1517, the story goes that Martin Luther strode up to the front door of the Castle Church and nailed his document called “95 Theses”. Luther’s friend and colleague, Phillip Melanchthon, relayed this story years after the fact, but there’s no evidence Luther walked up to Castle Church to pin the document. Wha is clear Luther was outraged by the Catholic Church’s abuse of power and its use of indulgences as a “guilt tax” or “get-out-of-Purgatory fee” to funnel money to Rome and finance the ongoing construction of St. Peter’s Basilica (started in 1506). What’s more likely is that Luther would’ve circulated his document among trusted friends and colleagues, and would’ve quietly sent his document as a letter to his regional Church superior, Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg. What cannot be denied is that his document was considered a provocation, questioning the supreme authority of the Church as the sole legitimate path to God and heaven. While he might not have initially guessed the full impact of his protest document, he eventually understood that it came down to matters of control and authority, and about personal choice, especially in matters of faith.


Quick list

The 500th anniversary merely begins in 2017, as additional quincentenary dates will continue for years to come. For now, I’ve written 14 posts about Martin Luther. I describe some of Martin Luther’s history; his birth, childhood, and death; the traces he left behind; and his influence on friends, colleagues, and descendants of the Protestant movement. As interested visitor, you can reach by train most of the places in Germany. I’ve labeled UNESCO World Heritage Sites with extra ‘U’s.

  1. Martin Luther’s traces in 16 cities & towns throughout Germany (link)
  2. Augsburg: 1518 Luther vs. Cajetan Debate; The 1530 Confessions (link)
  3. Eisenach: Wartburg at night (link, U)
  4. Eisleben: Martin Luther’s birth and death sites (link, U)
  5. Eisleben: where Martin Luther was baptized (link)
  6. Erfurt: Martin Luther’s start at the Augustine Monastery (link)
  7. Magdeburg: City of 2 Ottos where Romanesque meets Luther (link)
  8. Mansfeld: Martin Luther’s childhood home (link)
  9. Wittenberg: 13 highlights in the Old Town (link)
  10. Wittenberg: Castle Church, where Luther apparently pinned his 95 Theses (link, U)
  11. Wittenberg: St. Mary’s Town Church, where Luther delivered his sermons (link, U)
  12. Weimar: Cranach Altar at the City Church (link, U)
  13. Worms: the world’s largest Reformation monument (link)
  14. The Diet of Worms in 1521: Martin Luther on trial (link)

But as I’ll also write in the near future, marking the important quincentenary is only complete with the crucial acknowledgment of his anti-Semitism, an ugly taint to his legacy and in total opposition to the message of acceptance and inclusion.


This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-aDI.

Thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus who supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt in 2016 with additional assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, Wittenberg, and Halle (Saale); Thüringen entdecken during GTM2015; Romantic Germany (Gastlandschaften Rheinland-Pfalz) in November 2015; the city of Magdeburg in December 2015; and the city of Augsburg in March 2017.

•   “Wie die Feiertage in Deutschland verteilt sind”, Berliner Morgenpost, 30.10.2017.
•   “Luther’s hammer is still heard”, by Kate Connolly for Chatham House, Feb-Mar 2017.

Stadt- und Pfarrkirche St. Marien, St. Mary's Town and Parish Church, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, UNESCO, World Heritage, Luther Country, Luther 2017, Germany, fotoeins.com

Lutherstadt Wittenberg: St. Mary’s Church (UNESCO WHS)

Above: West side illuminated by afternoon sun, 30 Oct 2016 (HL).

The Stadtkirche Sankt Marien or St. Mary’s Town and Parish Church is the oldest building in Wittenberg and is one of four sites in town as part of Wittenberg’s status as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Not only is this the location where Luther preached, the church also contains important relics by the Cranachs highlighting the young Reformation movement. As well as contemporaries and colleagues, the Cranach and Luther families themselves were close.

The east chancel (near the main altar) was part of the original St. Mary’s chapel built around 1280. By the early 15th-century, the chapel was incorporated into a triple-naved structure with two towers in the late-Gothic style at the west end of the new church; the Gothic tops were removed and replaced by octagonal shapes by the mid-16th century. The original pulpit from which Luther delivered his sermons has survived the centuries, and is now located in Wittenberg’s Luther House (Lutherhaus).

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Mansfeld: Martin Luther’s childhood home

Above: View of the town from Mansfeld Castle; numbered labels are described below.

I approach the ledge, and what appears is a typical yet modest German town: red roofs, a church steeple, green pastures, and endless hills rolling to the horizon. But this is no typical town. Five centuries ago, a young lad grew up in this town and ran through these streets. Though the area was dominated by mining activity, Dad was grooming the boy to become a lawyer, but the latter would make a life-changing decision. How was the boy to know his decision and subsequent work would eventually change religion, governance, literature, and culture in Europe.

Mansfeld is a town of about 9000 people in the southwest corner of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The town is dominated by the Mansfeld Castle situated on a rock spur above town. With origins to regional nobles, first mention of the town in official documents occurred in the late-10th century, erection of the castle’s foundations began in the 11th-century, and full charter rights of a city were granted to Mansfeld in the early 15th-century.

In 1484 one year after he was born and baptized in Eisleben, Martin Luder’s parents, Hans and Margarethe (née Lindemann), moved the family to Mansfeld, 10 kilometres to the northwest of Eisleben. Hans Luder earned good wages in a region rich with mineral ore and covered with mines. Hans first worked in the quarries, and worked up to managing smelting furnaces, and eventually, to owning individual mine shafts and smelters. Martin wandered these streets until he was 13 years of age when he departed in 1497 for further education. His parents stayed in Mansfeld for the rest of their lives, whereas Martin moved to Magdeburg, Eisenach, Erfurt, and settling in Wittenberg.

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Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Eisleben UNESCO WHS: Luther’s birth and death sites

Above (HL): Luther monument by Rudolf Simmering at Eisleben’s market square. The monument was inaugurated in 1883 to mark the quatercentenary of Luther’s birth year (1483). At left and upper-right are the Hotel Graf von Mansfeld and St. Andrew’s Church, respectively.

With a population over 25-thousand people, Eisleben is a quiet town in central Germany in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. But the South Harz region holds a special place in German and European history: Martin Luther came into the world in Eisleben in 1483, spent his childhood years in Mansfeld, and, on a trip home from Wittenberg to negotiate a local dispute in Mansfield, died in Eisleben in 1546. As shown in the map below, a number of important locations in Eisleben are associated with Luther and the Reformation, including the Luther monument in the town’s market square, St. Peter’s Church, St. Andrew’s Church, and St. Anne’s Church. Specifically, two sites in town constitute a part of the inscription for UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996: (1) the house where Luther was born, and (2) the museum on Luther’s death.

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My Germany: 30 UNESCO WH Sites

Above: Cologne at dusk, 26 May 2016 (HL).

Every year UNESCO-Welterbetag (UNESCO World Heritage Day) in Germany is celebrated on the first Sunday in June. Out of the 46 inscribed sites in the country, I highlight the following 30 Germany UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS) I’ve visited.

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