Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Wittenberg’

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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Lutherstadt Wittenberg: 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

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Patience and hope, wall mural, Herakut, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Patience and hope, by Herakut (Wittenberg)

As my taxi weaved through the streets of Wittenberg’s Old Town, the bright yellow caught my eye and I quickly turned my head. I immediately took note of the location and proximity to the hotel; I knew I’d have to come back and see this wall mural again.

The mural is of a girl with big brown eyes and she is surrounded by stars. Her hands are partly open as if she’s just let go of the two small dragons. On the right is the accompanying caption “Sie heissen Geduld und Zuversicht1 und ihr Schicksal liegt in meinen Händen. (They’re called patience and hope, and their fate lies in my hands.).” Created for the Kura 2016 festival in Wittenberg, this beautiful work is by “herakut”, the artist duo of Hera (Jasmin Siddiqui) and Akut (Falk Lehmann).

I wrote about Herakut’s wall mural in Heidelberg for the 2015 Metropolink Festival here.


1 dict.cc and LEO define “Zuversicht” as “trust” or “confidence.”

I made the photo above on 30 October 2016 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/500s, f/11, ISO1000, and 70mm focal-length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9hB.

My thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the city of Wittenberg, and the Luther Hotel for their patronage and access to facilities. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive.
Petrikirche, Taufkirche, Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Tracing Martin Luther’s steps in 16 German cities

Above/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?

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Lutherstadt Wittenberg: 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 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 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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