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Posts from the ‘Martin Luther’ category

Lutherstadt Wittenberg: town’s 13 historical highlights

Above: Facing west from Kirchplatz, the Stadtkirche (City Church) and Schlosskirche (Castle Church) at upper-left and lower-right, respectively, are Wittenberg’s major landmarks.

If you’re thinking about or you’re already present in Wittenberg, two words have already provided the marquee reasons why you’re here at this blogsite and there in the town: Martin Luther.

The biggest reason why people will step foot in Wittenberg is to see and learn about how the Protestant and Reformation movement began and took hold, who the major players were, and what their roles were in the movement. For most, they’ll want to visit the four sites which form the basis for the town’s status as UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS; see below). In addition to these four, there are other highlights for the curious and interested visitor, and all of them are easy to reach in the compact Old Town.

  1. Bugenhagenhaus (Bugenhagen House)
  2. Cranach-Haus, Cranach-Hof (Cranach House and Court)
  3. I.G. Schneider Modehaus
  4. Leucorea
  5. Luther-Eiche (Luther Oak)
  6. Lutherdenkmal (Luther Monument)
  7. Lutherhaus (Luther House) – UNESCO WHS
  8. Melanchthondenkmal (Melanchthon Monument)
  9. Melanchthonhaus (Melanchthon House) – UNESCO WHS
  10. Markt, Rathaus (Market Square, Town Hall)
  11. Schlosskirche (Castle Church) – UNESCO WHS
  12. Stadtbäche (town streams)
  13. Stadtkirche St. Marien (St. Mary’s Town Church) – UNESCO WHS


1.   Bugenhagenhaus (Bugenhagen House)

Considered the “Third Reformer” after Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, John Bugenhagen was from 1523 the priest at Wittenberg’s Town Church (where he is buried), lecturer of theology at Wittenberg University, and Martin Luther’s personal adviser. He also became responsible for supporting the Reformation in northern Germany and Scandinavia. He was also known as Doctor Pomeranus for his roots in Pomerania (present-day northern Germany). Bugenhagen led the wedding service for Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora on 13 June 1525. At the northeast corner of the town’s Kirchplatz (Church Square) stands the Bugenhagen House with a sculpture of Bugenhagen nearby. Above the main door of the house a sign reads:

Hier wohnte, wirkte, und starb Dr. Johannes Bugenhagen, Gen. Sup. des Kurkreises, geb. zu Wollin in Pommern, D. 24. Juny 1485, gest. in Wittenberg D. 20 April 1558. Hebr. 13, 7.” (Dr. John Bugenhagen lived, worked, and died in this house. He was born in Wollin in Pomerania on 1485 June 24, appointed and served as the superintendent general of the Electorate of Saxony, and he died on 1558 April 20.)

Johannes Bugenhagen, Doktor Pomeranus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Bugenhagenhaus (Bugenhagen House)

Johannes Bugenhagen, Doktor Pomeranus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Johannes Bugenhagen statue between Bugenhagenhaus and Stadtkirche


2.   Cranach-Haus, Cranach-Hof (Cranach House and Court)

Lucas Cranach the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Younger were both renowned painters in medieval Germany. The Cranach family housed Katharina von Bora after she left the nunnery; the Cranachs became close friends to the Luther family. The Cranachs would also become painters and artists for the Reformation. Cranach Senior was also an astute businessman as he purchased a variety of properties in town. Of his many holdings, two are now owned by the town: Cranach the Elder’s first property at Markt 4 (Cranach House) which he purchased in 1512, and the town’s prominent property at Schlossstrasse 1 which would be his home, painting studio, printing workshop, and pharmacy.

In the courtyard at Schlossstrasse 1, two plaques read:

Lucas Cranach d. Ältere (1472-1553), Maler und Unternehmer; 1537-1544 Bürgermeister. (Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1472-1553: artist and businessman; town mayor 1537-1544.)

Lucas Cranach d. Jüngere (1515-1586), Maler und Porträtist, 1565 Bürgermeister. (Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1515-1586: artist and portraitist;
town mayor 1565.)

The sign over the door to the pharmacy reads:

Lucas Cranach, Maler zu Wittenberg, wie er sich selbst stets geschrieben, wurde 1472 zu Kronach in Franken geboren, kam 1504 nach Wittenberg, kaufte 1520 diese Apotheke, war von 1537 bis 1544 Bürgermeister und starb am 16. October 1553 in Weimar. Die Stadt Wittenberg im Jahre 1872. (Painter in Wittenberg, Lucas Cranach the Elder was born in 1472 in Kronach, Franconia, arrived in Wittenberg in 1504, purchased this pharmacy building in 1520, served as town mayor between 1537 and 1544, and died 1553 October 16 in Weimar. Inscription by the town of Wittenberg in 1872.)

Cranach-Hof, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Cranach courtyard at Schlossstrasse 1, with statue of Lucas Cranach the Elder, by Frijo Müller-Belecke

Cranach-Apotheke, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Cranach-Apotheke (Cranach Pharmacy) at Schlossstrasse 1


3.   I.G. Schneider Modehaus (Clothing Store)

At the present location of the I.G. Schneider clothing store was a former hotel where luminaries such as Grand-Duke Karl August of Saxony-Weimar, French emperor Napoleon I, Russian writer Maxim Gorki, and German writer Friedrich Schiller once stayed.

Modehaus, I.G. Schneider, historical building, Wittenberg, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Four plaques on south-facing wall: Grand-Duke Karl August, Napoleon I, Maxim Gorki, and Friedrich Schiller.


4.   Leucorea (Fridericianum)

Frederick III (Elector of Saxony, also known as “Frederick the Wise”) founded in 1502 the “Alma Mater Leucorea“, known as Wittenberg University. The word “Leucorea” comes from the Greek “leukos oros” or “white mountain” in reference to the town’s name Wittenberg. The university would become a centre for arts, sciences, humanities, and theology, greatly helped by the arrival and presence of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. These two would help define the spiritual life of the university and town, and the university would become a vital centre for discussion and dissemination for ideas and spirit for the Reformation. The former “Fridericianum” university buildings would be converted to military barracks and residences. The site is now home to the Foundation for Public Law at the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle–Wittenberg).

Leucorea, Fridericianum, Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle–Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Leucorea (Fridericianum). A closer look at the top of the arch in the image below …

Leucorea, Fridericianum, Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle–Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Hodie michi, cras tibi” is about the short temporal nature of human existence: “here today, gone tomorrow” or “today, it’s me; tomorrow, it’s you.”


5.   Luther-Eiche (Luther Oak)

This location was one of the town’s former city gates, the Elster Gate, where it was common practice in Luther’s time (15th- to 16th-century) to burn the clothes of people who died from disease. In 1520 three years after his (apparent) posting of the 95 Theses at the city’s Castle Church, Martin Luther received a ‘papal bull’ warning him of excommunication from the Catholic Church if he continued his “heretical teachings.” Luther promptly burned the papal bull here in front of Elster Gate on 10 December 1520. Stories state that an oak tree was planted at the spot the following day. The tall thick oak tree in the picture below was planted in 1830 on the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (see Melanchthon).

Luther-Eiche, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Luther Oak (left-centre)


6.   Lutherdenkmal (Luther Monument)

The town’s market square is the location for the Luther Monument (1821) which is thought to be the oldest Luther memorial in Germany.

Lutherdenkmal, Luther Memorial, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Martin Luther


7.   Lutherhaus (Luther House) – UNESCO WHS

This house is where Martin Luther and his family lived, from his arrival in 1508 until his death in 1546. The building is now museum and testament to his family and to his work. Examples of his home- and work-life merge in and out of the various rooms within the house. Former nun Katharina von Bora married Luther and she eventually took charge of the household and its finances. Her support at home played a critical role in Martin’s life for which he was clearly most grateful; he referred to her as “meine herzliebe Käthe” or “my dearest Kate.”

Lutherhaus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Luther Haus, from Collegienstrasse


8.   Melanchthondenkmal (Melanchthon Monument)

Considered the “Second Reformer” after Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon studied Greek and Hebrew, and became professor in Greek in 1518 at Wittenberg University. He turned his interests to theology and began lecturing on the subject after securing a degree in theology from the university in 1519. A major figure in helping Luther to translate the Old Testament into German, Melanchthon was also an important player in drafting the Augsburg Confessions in 1530. He would be known as “Praeceptor Germaniae” or “Germany’s teacher” for his lifelong dedication to reorganize the education system. Wittenberg’s market square is also the location for the Melanchthon Monument (1865).

Melanchthondenkmal,  Melanchthon Memorial, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Melanchthon monument, at Markt


9.   Melanchthonhaus (Melanchthon House) – UNESCO WHS

This house was built between 1536 and 1539 for Philipp Melanchthon and his family. The building now houses a museum dedicated to Melanchthon with exhibitions about his work and family life.

Melanchthonhaus, Melanchthon House, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Back courtyard, Melanchthon House


10.   Markt, Rathaus (Market Square, Town Hall)

Like most towns, Market Square is the past and present focal point of the town’s activities for commerce, politics, and justice. The Renaissance-style Town Hall was built between 1523 and 1535, and the portico (“raised porch”) in 1573 comes complete with the sculpture of Justicia, the (Roman) goddess of justice, accompanied by six figures representing bravery, faith, hope, love, patience, and wisdom. The square is also home to the Luther monument (1821) and the Melanchthon monument (1865).

Wittenberger Rathaus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Rathaus


11.   Schlosskirche (Castle Church) – UNESCO WHS

The Castle Church is best known as the location where Martin Luther apparently posted his 95 Theses. Constructed between 1489 and 1525 by Frederick III, the church was part of the original castle compound for the electors of Saxony. The church became the university’s church in 1503 with Protestant services beginning in 1524. The church is home to the graves for Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, and Frederick III. I featured this city landmark in a separate post here.

Schlosskirche, Luthergarten, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Castle Church, from the Luther Garden


12.   Stadtbäche (town streams)

In the Middle Ages (c. 14th-15th centuries AD/CE), the Rischebach and Trajuhnscherbach streams were diverted into the city for water-powered milling. Around the diverted streams were breweries, tanners, and dyers, as well as fishmongers who could keep fresh fish caught from the Elbe river. The city streams were closed in the late 19th-century for reasons of hygiene, but by the 1990s, plans to reopen the streams as free-flowing water through the city came to light, and by 2006, water flowed through the Altstadt along Coswiger Strasse and Collegienstrasse/Schlossstrasse.

Rischebach, Coswiger Strasse, Schlosskirche, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Rischebach stream at lower-centre: Coswiger Strasse, west to Schlosskirche


13.   Stadtkirche St. Marien (St. Mary’s Town Church) – UNESCO WHS

With the original St. Mary’s chapel built around 1280 AD/CE, the church is the town’s oldest building which houses the altar designed and built by both Cranach the Elder and Cranach the Younger. At a time when church services were conveyed only in Latin, the first mass delivered entirely in German is thought to have taken place in this church. I will feature this landmark in a separate post.

Stadtkirche, Luthergarten, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

City Church, from the Luther Garden


Other highlights include:

•   “Luther 1517” 360-degree panorama (by Yadegar Asisi)
•   Luthergarten (Luther garden)
•   Haus der Geschichte (House of History)
•   Museum für Stadtgeschichte (Museum of the town’s history)
•   Hundertwasserschule (Hundertwasser School)

Deutsche Bahn service to Wittenberg:

•   hourly train service from Berlin with InterCity Express trains (40 minutes) or Regional Express trains (80 minutes).
•   hourly train service from Leipzig with InterCity or InterCity Express trains (30-35 minutes).


Click the arrow-window icon in the upper-left corner of the map below to toggle for the legend. Note the two train stations near Wittenberg’s Old Town. “Lutherstadt Wittenberg (Bahnhof)” is the town’s main station served by InterCity Express (ICE) trains and regional trains. Located adjacent to the Luther Garden in the southern part of the Old Town, “Lutherstadt Wittenberg Altstadt” station is served only by regional trains.

My thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the city of Wittenberg, and the Luther Hotel for their patronage and access to facilities. I made the photos from 29 to 31 October 2016 inclusive. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9ew. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, and Halle (Saale).

Augsburg: Luther vs. Cajetan (1518), Confessions (1530)

With its founding date as “Augusta Vindelicorum” by the Roman Empire in 15 BC/BCE, Augsburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany, and has ties with Martin Luther and the Reformation which marks its 500th anniversary in 2017.

Months after making his 95 Theses known to church authorities and the public, Martin Luther was called to the free imperial city of Augsburg in 1518 by Cardinal and papal legate and representative Cajetan to answer charges of heresy, for challenging the morality of indulgences, and for questioning the supreme authority of the Pope. Cajetan urged Luther to recant or revoke his statements (“revoca!”), but Luther held firm and refused to obey Cajetan.

The following identify locations in Augsburg where Luther made his stand against Cajetan and the Catholic Church and where an important document describing key principles of the Reformation were unveiled and read in official capacity.

Click on the arrow-window icon at the upper-left corner of the map below for the legend. All of the locations are easy to reach on foot or with public transit. Tram stops with the AVV transport authority are indicated as green circular icons. I’ve drawn a suggested path (2.5 kilometres without stops) to catch all five locations.


Fuggerhäuser (Fugger houses)

Martin Luther verweigerte hier im Oktober 1518 gegenüber dem päpstlichen Legaten Cajetan den Widerruf seiner Thesen.

Here in October 1518 Luther refused to deny his Theses as demanded by Cajetan. The town palace, financed and constructed by the wealthy Fugger merchant-family, began in 1512 and completed in 1515.

Fuggerhaeuser, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fuggerhäuser (Fugger houses)

Fuggerhaeuser, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Martin Luther at Fuggerhäuser


St.-Anna-Kirche (St. Anna Church)

Hier im Karmeliterkloster bei St. Anna wohnte Dr. Martin Luther vom 7. bis 20. Oktober 1518 während seiner Verhandlungen mit dem päpstlichen Legaten Cajetan.

Carmelite monks built this church in 1321 AD/CE. In 1518 between the 7th and 20th of October, Luther stayed in the Carmelite monastery at St. Anna’s church over the course of his meetings with papal legate Cajetan.

St.-Anna-Kirche, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Martin Luther at St. Anna church

Martin Luther, Museum Lutherstiege, St.-Anna-Kirche, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Museum Lutherstiege, inside St. Anna church

St.-Anna-Kirche, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

St. Anna church, in afternoon light


Domportal (Cathedral gate)

Martin Luther’s Widerspruch gegen die Eröffnung des Ketzerprozesses in Rom wurde im Oktober 1518 am Domportal angeschlagen.

The cathedral was built on the foundations of a medieval church going back to the end of the 10th-century AD/CE. After the debate between Luther and Cajetan resulted in an unsatisfactory conclusion for either side, Luther posted at the cathedral’s portal a notice of dissent opposing Rome’s heresy trial against him.

Augsburger Dom, Cathedral, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Augsburger Dom (Augsburg Cathedral)

Augsburger Dom, Cathedral, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Martin Luther at Augsburg Cathedral


Fürstbischöfliche Residenz (Prince-Bishop’s Residence)

“Hier stand vor dem die bischöfliche Pfalz in deren Kapitelsaal am 25. Juni 1530 die CONFESSIO AUGUSTANA verkündet wurde.”

Only the tower (as seen below) remains from the original episcopal palace at the centre of power and rule for the Bishopric of Augsburg which had been present since the Middle Ages. In May 1530, an imperial parliament (Diet) convened in Augsburg, and on June 25, the episcopal Palatinate proclaimed the Augsburg Confessions here in their primary chamber. The Augsburg Confessions are considered statements of faith for the Lutheran church, and an important historical document of the Reformation. The late-Baroque style building now houses government offices for the administrative district of Schwaben, one of seven districts in the German federal state of Bavaria.

Residenz, Fronhof, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

The tower is all that remains of the former bishop’s residence. The colours of Bavaria, Germany, and the European Union now fly outside.

Residenz, Fronhof, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Confessio Augustana” Gedenktafel (memorial plaque): “Hier stand vor dem die bischöfliche Pfalz in deren Kapitelsaal am 25. Juni 1530 die CONFESSIO AUGUSTANA verkündet wurde.” Picture made and generously provided by Kristen Strejc.


Galluskirche (St. Gallus church)

Martin Luther soll an dieser Stelle durch eine Pforte in der Nacht zum 21. Oktober 1518 heimlich die Stadt verlassen haben.

A church in some form has been present at this location since the 10th-century AD/CE.
With charges of arrest looming after debates with Cajetan in 1518, Luther escaped the city through a portal or gate in the city walls at this location on the night of October 21. Or so goes the legend, with the appearance of an additional plaque of “Da hinab!” or “down there (through the gate)!”

Galluskirche, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Galluskirche (St. Gallus church)

Galluskirche, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Martin Luther at Galluskirche

Galluskirche, Augsburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

The legend of “Da hinab!”


Thanks to Augsburg Tourism for their support, Kristen Strejc for her time on the guided city tour, and to Hotel Am Alten Park for their hospitality. I’m also grateful to the staff at the Fugger und Welser Erlebnismuseum for pointing the way to Galluskirche. With the exception of one photo by Kristen Strejc, I made the remaining photos between 10 and 12 March 2017. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie on fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9uj.

Erfurt: Martin Luther’s start at the Augustine Monastery

You can almost imagine a 16th-century monk walking these halls, contemplating various aspects of spirituality, and reconciling them with the hardships of everyday living.

In the federal state of Thuringia in central Germany, the Augustinerkloster (Augustine monastery) in Erfurt is a notable place for the history of Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Martin Luther arrived in 1501 and began studies in liberal arts, law, and theology at Erfurt University. In 1505, Luther experienced a big personal event (the scare of his life, as legend goes), and decided to leave his studies by entering the Augustine Monastery to become a monk, much to his father’s displeasure and objections. Built originally around 1300, the Augustine Monastery was home for Martin Luther until 1511, and it’s here where he was ordained as a priest. The site underwent extensive post-war reconstruction after suffering heavy bombing damage in the Second World War. The monastery is now a seminary and a modest hotel: guided tours of the monastery provide a glimpse to Luther’s early years as a monk, and visitors can now reserve rooms for overnight stays in a no-frills technology-free setting and a peaceful comfortable environment.

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in Germany.


Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, fotoeins.com

Inside the Lutherpforte gate: east to the Gästhaus (guest house)

Erfurt Augustinerkloster, Toma Babovic, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH

Cloister (TB/TTG)

Erfurt Augustinerkloster, Toma Babovic, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH

Reconstructed library (TB/TTG)

Erfurt Augustinerkloster, Toma Babovic, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH

Recreation of Luther’s spartan room, a monk’s cell (TB/TTG)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, fotoeins.com

Vulgate Bible, printed in 1491 by Johann Amerbach in Basel and subsequently bound in Erfurt. Shown are the gospels of Mark and Luke in the New Testament. The “Q” at the upper-right is the first verse of the first chapter in the gospel of Luke: “quoniam quidem multi conati sunt ordinare narrationem quae in nobis conpletae sunt rerum …” The NIV translation goes as: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us …” Photo by HL

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, fotoeins.com

Copies of Martin Luther documents. Top: “Ein schon sermon tzu Erffurdt …”, printed 1522 in Erfurt by Michael Buchführer. Bottom: “Allen frommen Christen zu Erfurt. Vorrede zu Justus Menius: Wider den hochberühmten Barfüsser zu Erfurt …”, printed 1527 in Wittenberg by Hans Lufft. Photo by HL

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, fotoeins.com

Luther-Festsaal, Renaissancehof (HL)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, fotoeins.com

From the reception area towards the newer “Haus der Versöhnung” (HL)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, fotoeins.com

Klostergarten (HL)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, fotoeins.com

Kreuzhof (HL)


Thanks to Germany Tourism, Erfurt Tourismus, and Visit Thuringia for their support during GTM15 and for access to various venues throughout the city and region, and to Mercure Hotel Erfurt Altstadt for their generous hospitality. Three photos labeled “TB/TTG” indicate photos made by Toma Babovic for Thüringia Tourismus GmbH. I made the other photos on 26 April 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-98x.

Petrikirche, Taufkirche, Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Tracing Luther’s steps in 16 German cities (Reformation 500)

FEATURED: “Luther war hier. // Luther was here.” Eisleben, Germany (HL, 27 Oct 2016).

In pre-teen years, I attended a Catholic elementary school by weekday, and a missions-oriented Protestant church by weekend. I already had multiple questions running around my pre-scientist brain, like electrons appearing and dissipating in a fuzzy halo. When various disparate elements began to settle with few satisfying answers, I left behind the churches and their respective religions. But one thing that’s remained is my love of history. History has never been boring, because I carry the past (as offspring of immigrants), and I’m determined to bring history’s lessons into the present.

Even in youth, I had to ask: why was one set of churches called “Protestant”? What was under protest? How did one man help spark a movement that would help merge and create a version of a language that continues today, that would bring accessible means to literacy for the public, and that would begin to change rule by religion to rule by law?

( Click here for more )

Wittenberg Schlosskirche (Castle Church): UNESCO WHS

In the east German town of Wittenberg, the Schlosskirche (Castle- or All Saints’-Church) is one of four sites as part of the town’s status as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

Elector Frederick III of Ernestine Saxony (1463-1525, also known as Frederick the Wise, Friederich der Weise) became the first patron of the Protestant Reformation with his support and defence of Martin Luther. On the site of the original city castle, Frederick the Wise authorized in 1489-1490 a renaissance palace with the entire north wing occupied by the Castle Church. The church was consecrated and inaugurated in 1503 as the castle and university church “Allerheiligen” (All Saints); Martin Luther taught theology as professor at the neighbouring university. The first Protestant service at the Castle Church was held in 1524-1525.

A significant portion of the church including the original wooden doors was burned and destroyed in 1760 during Europe’s Seven Years’ War (1754-1763). The 1770 replacement church was subsequently destroyed in the conflict against France’s Napoleon which ended with the town under Prussian control in 1815. With support and backing by Emperor Wilhelm II, a full renovation of the church took place between 1885 and 1892 with the west tower taking the form and shape we see today (see also below). The graves for Martin Luther, contemporary colleague and fellow reformer Philipp Melanchthon, and Frederick the Wise are inside the church. After three years of renovation and restoration work in time for the Reformation quincentenary in 2017, the Castle Church was reopened in the autumn of 2016.

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

Theses’ portal (Thesentür)

The church’s north portal or Theses’ Portal is the location where Martin Luther is believed to have pinned his “95 Theses”1 in opposition to Catholic Church practices (e.g., selling indulgences). The church’s original doors were burned and destroyed during the Seven Years’ War. In 1857, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia ordered a replacement portal door cast in bronze with Luther’s 95 theses engraved into the door; the door as memorial was unveiled in 1858. While there is no direct evidence supporting Luther having gone and actually pinned notes to the church doors2, he would have most certainly sent to local church authorities a letter expressing his concerns and his points of argument/discussion.

1 95 Theses, known formally as the “Disputation for Clarifying the Power of Indulgences” (1517), in Latin, German, and English.

2 In 2006, Martin Treu from the Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten in Sachsen-Anhalt (Foundation for Luther Memorials in Saxony-Anhalt) visited the Thurigina University and State Library in Jena, and examined the 1540 copy of Luther’s German translation of the New Testament. Treu found on one of the final pages a handwritten note in Latin attributed to Georg Rörer, doctor of theology serving as Martin Luther’s secretary. The note roughly translates as: “On the evening before All Saints’ Day in the year of our Lord 1517, theses about letters of indulgence were nailed to the doors of the Wittenberg churches by Doctor Martin Luther.” It’s still not direct evidence because there are no written records about the act from witnesses or from Martin Luther himself, but it’s the closest anyone has seen which points to Luther having actually posted documents to the church doors.

•   Sammlung Georg Rörer (in German), Thüringer Universitäts und Landesbibliothek, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena.
•   “Sensationsfund mit Streitwert: Historische Quelle zu Luthers Thesenanschlag entdeckt“, April 2007 in Uni-Journal Jena.
•   “Neuer Beleg für Luthers Thesenanschlag” (in German), 1 February 2007 in Der Spiegel.

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

In the above closeup of the upper arch (lunette, tympanum) over the Theses’ Portal is the 1850-1851 encaustic mural painting by August von Kloeber “Christus am Kreuz mit Luther und Melanchthon.” On either side of Christ on the cross in the foreground, Luther (viewer left) holds his 1522 Greek-to-German translation of the New Testament, and Philipp Melanchthon (viewer right) holds his 1530 “Confessio Augustana” (Augsburg Confessional), another important document of the Lutheran Reformation. The background scene is of medieval Wittenberg as the viewer stands on the south bank of the Elbe river facing north to the Castle Church (far left) and St. Mary’s Town Church (Stadtkirche, centre-left).


Central nave to apse

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

West-east central nave, facing east to the apse at the far end.

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

Eastern apse: main altar draped with red and the Luther rose.


Pulpit

Carved by Wittenberg sculptor Wilhelm Lober, the 19th-century wood pulpit is decorated with the coat-of-arms from towns associated with Luther, including Eisleben, Erfurt, Wittenberg and Worms. I attended at 8am the first service of Reformation Day (2016) which was held in English. Delivering the sermon was Dr. Robert G. Moore, ELCA Reformation500 Representative in Wittenberg and Leipzig.

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

Dr. Robert G. Moore, delivering sermon in English on Reformation Day 2016.


Martin Luther’s grave

Under the staircase pulpit is the final resting place for Martin Luther (1483-1546). He died in Eisleben on 18 February 1546, and after several days on the road by foot from Eisleben via Halle, the funeral procession with Luther’s body arrived in Wittenberg. Philipp Melanchthon (see also below) delivered the eulogy at Luther’s funeral on 22 February 1546. A copy of the large plate over Luther’s grave hangs on an adjacent wall; the original bronze version is in Jena. A modest plate fixed to a raised sandstone base now marks the spot where Luther is buried a couple of metres below ground. The marker’s Latin inscription translates roughly as:

“Here lies the body of Martin Luther, Doctor of Divinity, who died at Eisleben, his birthplace, on the 12th of the Calends of March, in the year 1546, when he had lived 63 years, 2 months, and 10 days.” (Sacred Destinations)

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

Philipp Melanchthon’s grave

Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560), born with the surname “Schwartzerdt” (black earth), became an expert in Greek, and changed his surname to the corresponding word in Greek: Melanchthon. He was called “Germany’s Teacher” (Praeceptor Germaniae) for his work in reforming the educational system. With his influential writings on theology and collaborations with Luther, Melanchthon was an important figure in the early stages of the Reformation. Melanchthon died in 1560 and was buried a few metres from Luther’s grave. The Latin inscription of the plate over Melanchthon’s grave translates roughly as:

“Here rests the body of the most commendable Philipp Melanchthon, who died on 19 April 1560, in this town after he had lived for 63 years, 2 months, and 2 days.” (Sacred Destinations)

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

Church tower

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, ein gute Wehr und Waffen” is the first verse from one of Martin Luther’s best-known hymns written between 1527 and 1529. The verse encircles the tower as a one-metre tall frieze made with over 100-thousand individual pieces of porcelain. The massive 88-metre (290-feet) high Neogothic spire dominates the skyline as one of Wittenberg’s landmarks.

Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com
Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

Castle church tower illuminated by mid-autumn afternoon light.


Schlosskirche, Castle Church, Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Germany, fotoeins.com

Reformation Day 2016: 1st service at 8am, in English.

My thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the city of Wittenberg, and the Luther Hotel for their patronage and access to facilities. I made the photos from 29 to 31 October 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-968. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, and Halle (Saale).

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