Stories on the road
The European Roadmap
Few historical events have changed Europe as greatly as the Reformation did. A social earthquake, with epicentres in Wittenberg, Zurich, Geneva and many other places, it stirred up relationships everywhere. The momentum carried it out from Europe to other continents, shaping cultures and religions.
As of November 2016 the European Roadmap will forge a bond between these different places. In May 2017 the route will wend its way to Central Germany and end up in Wittenberg at the World Reformation Exhibition. Cities in the Netherlands and Hungary, in Slovenia and Ireland will be way-stations, as will Rome, Augsburg, Worms and Wartburg.
Each stop-over will last 36 hours: regional and ecumenical partners will invite people to a festive occasion with numerous activities, in order to discover traces of Reformation history in the local area. A fresh staging of events will bring the past to life. Personal narratives will testify to present-day Reformation viewpoints. Each way-station will pass on a memory to the World Reformation Exhibition in Lutherstadt Wittenberg.
Geneva is rich in Reformation heritage, including the Reformation Wall, the Calvin Auditorium and St. Peter's Cathedral. The International Museum of the Reformation presents the history of Geneva and the Reformation around the world.
Over five centuries of history have shaped the spirit of a European city that is wide-open to the world, from the humanist Geneva suffused by the ideas of the Reformers to the secular and multicultural Geneva of today. The city is notably home to the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the United Nations Office, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In the 16th century, the Reformation adopted by the people of Geneva on 21 May 1536 determined the city’s future. Jean Calvin gave the Protestant Church its structures and contributed to organising those of civil rule at that time. He attracted a considerable stream of refugees from across Europe, who gave the city a cultural and economic boost, elevating Geneva to the rank of “Protestant Rome”. The city was thus endowed with a General Hospice (Hospice Général), giving a place to the concerns of the most disadvantaged in the life of the city. Education became free and compulsory, and the College and the Academy, today the University, were founded for this purpose.
However, in the 18th century, the era of Rousseau and Voltaire, religion no longer occupied a central position. Nevertheless, the Constitution of 1794 reserved citizenship to Protestants alone. Occupied by France in 1798, Geneva witnessed the restoration of Roman Catholic worship. The Restoration and the joining of the Swiss Confederation in 1815, with the unification of Sardinian and French communities inhabited by Catholics, even made it one of the rare denominationally mixed Swiss Cantons as early as the 19th century.
Today, the diverse ecclesial communities, including 70 Christian communities resulting from immigration, foster great ecumenical collaborations in Geneva. The interfaith and philosophical dialogue fuels what has become known as the Spirit of Geneva.
The Museum of the Reformation, the Ecumenical Centre Chapel, the Temple de la Fusterie, and the Temple de la Madeleine are open to visitors. Service every Sunday at 10:00 at St. Peter's Cathedral.
En 1529, le réformateur Guillaume Farel (1489-1565), originaire de Gap (France) vient à Neuchâtel avec une recommandation de Berne, dans le but d'y introduire la Réforme. Il est un prédicateur passionnant et exalté mais n’eut le droit de prêcher que dans la petite chapelle de l’Hôpital. Un de ses adeptes le consola : Jésus aussi naquit dans une étable. Bientôt sa prédication attira tant de monde qu’il persuada la foule de monter sur la colline du château et d’occuper la Collégiale. Une inscription à l'intérieur de la Collégiale rappelle encore aujourd'hui ces événements : Le XXIII d’octobre (1530), fut ostée et abbatue l’idolâtrie de ceans par les bourgeois. En effet les autels, les statues, les peintures et la croix furent détruits, moins par un mobile spirituel des bourgeois que par les soldats rentrés d'une mission à Genève et sortis éméchés des cabarets de la ville. Seul le tombeau des princes de Neuchâtel et leurs gouverneurs fut préservé de cet iconoclasme. Le 4 novembre 1530, par un vote des bourgeois, le culte protestant l'emporta sur la messe papale. Dorénavant, Neuchâtel connaîtra une hégémonie du protestantisme pendant 300 ans. Par contre, la classe dirigeante des nobles resta catholique jusqu’en 1707.
L'imprimeur Pierre de Vingle, chassé de Lyon, s'installa pendant quelques années à Neuchâtel. En 1534, sous la direction du premier pasteur de Neuchâtel, Antoine Marcourt, furent imprimés les fameux placards, affichés jusqu'à la porte du roi de France, François Ier. Le même atelier produit en 1535 la Bible d'Olivétan, la première Bible en français qui servit Jean-Frédéric Ostervald (1663-1774) de base pour sa nouvelle édition. Guillaume Farel eut l’heureuse idée de faire appel à Louis Olivier, alias Pierre Robert Olivétan pour l’enseignement à l'école de Neuchâtel. De retour à Neuchâtel après son bannissement de Genève en 1538, Farel s’efforça d’introduire un règlement ecclésial selon l’exemple de Genève. Lors de nombreux voyages en Italie, en France et en Allemagne, il s’investit en faveur des sœurs et frères francophones de la foi réformés.
De nos jours, une statue sur l’esplanade devant la Collégiale rappelle l’œuvre de Guillaume Farel qui a contribué à forger le Neuchâtel d’aujourd’hui. Avec la fermeture de la Faculté de théologie en 2015, le fond important de la Bibliothèque des Pasteurs fondée en 1538 est déménagée à la Bibliothèque universitaire et publique. L'on peut y admirer entre autres la Bible d'Olivétan de 1535, les Placards de 1534 et la Bible illustrée de Jean-Frédéric Ostervald que l'on appelle le deuxième réformateur de Neuchâtel.
Reformation City, Basel
In the early 16th century, scholars flocked to the commercial centre of Basel with its university, its outstanding printers, and a bishop with reform on his mind. Here, 500 years ago, shortly before the Reformation, the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament was created in 1516. For this edition, Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) had worked on Byzantine manuscripts according to text-critical principles, delivered a new Latin translation, and offered the reader a scholarly basis for interpretation in comments. Introductions called on people to read and translate the Bible, and offered a methodology for a new, undogmatic, careful textual exegesis of the underlying theology. Erasmus interpreted the New Testament as a testament to God's arrival on earth as Jesus Christ, and read the Bible texts as a life-altering message of salvation. With the Bible, he wanted to reform the church and society. His work on this ground-breaking edition, which laid the groundwork for all Protestant commentaries and Bible translations, was helped by the young priest Johannes Oecolampadius (1482-1531) who possessed an outstanding knowledge of Hebrew.
Enraptured by Erasmus, he - like Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli, though unlike Erasmus - was prepared to implement a reform within the country with authority even against the established papal Church, though not without some initial hesitation. In fiery university lectures and sermons, he interpreted the word of God as being Christocentric and naturalistic. He and Erasmus were concerned with an internal change, a maturing and growth of the faith. The laypeople felt as if they were being properly accepted as people and believers. Oecolampadius introduced a template for German church services and celebrated the Lord's Supper in both forms. As a good humanist, he understood this to be a symbolic meal of remembrance. Erasmus long acted as mediator between the divisive groups of believers. The city fathers, on his recommendation, enforced mutual tolerance. Confessional intolerance soon ran riot in Basel after the imposed breakthrough of the Reformation in 1529. The city, along with its university and printers, soon became again known for its inner-Protestant breadth. The Reformed city of Basel was home to countless exiles, forced out for their differing beliefs. Even today, the Church of Basel is distinguished by its great openness.
A metropolitan as a city of the Reformation
The Austrian capital is a cultural and political centre of Europe. Emperors have resided here for centuries, shaping the city itself. UNESCO has declared the Vienna Old Town and the Schönbrunn castle to be World Heritage sites. Countless international organisations such as OSCE, OPEC, IAEO or CPCE have their headquarters in Vienna - or, like the UN, at least have offices in Vienna.
Thanks to its situation as residence of the Emperors, Vienna also came to play a particular role in the Reformation. Several later Reformers, such as Huldrych Zwingli (1584-1531) or the St. Gallen Reformer Joachim von Watt (1484-1551) studied at the University of Vienna, founded in 1365. Evangelical flyers were distributed throughout Austria from 1520. As early as January 1522, Paul Speratus (1484-1551), the author of the well-known church hymn "Salvation now has come for all", held evangelical sermons in the cathedral (Stephansdom), for which he was excommunicated. Two years later, the Viennese cloth merchant Caspar Tauber was executed for his commitment to the Reformation in Vienna. Yet the Protestant doctrine was greatly appreciated amongst the population. The majority of the nobility and the citizens of Vienna became Protestants. Even the radical Reformation found supporters and a community of Anabaptists was founded in Vienna. In 1528, the Anabaptists leader Balthasar Hubmaier was burnt at the stake.
All of this strengthened the anti-clerical sentiment of the population, which attended the evangelical church services on the nobles' estates in front of the walls of Vienna every Sunday following the ban on the evangelical sermon. The nobility promoted the evangelical movement and employed Protestant pastors. Even the future Emperor Maximilian II (1527-1576) appointed an evangelical court chaplain to the court church in the form of Johann Sebastian Pfauser (1520-1569). Towards the end of the 16th century, three quarters of the population of Vienna was Protestant.
During the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century, the Protestant nobility was disempowered and driven out as supporters of the Reformation. The Protestants could not only live out their faith in secret. Only with the Patent of Tolerance in 1781 could Protestant communities be established once more. Today, there is once again a lively Protestant scene in Vienna, even if the Protestants are the minority. Vienna is the headquarters of the leadership of the Protestant Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria, and the Evangelical Church of the Helvetian Confession in Austria, the Evangelical Methodist Church in Austria.
In the museums and archives of Vienna lies a unique treasure trove of documents from the time of the Reformation, such as the original Confessio Augustana presented to Emperor Charles V, or one of three remaining copies of Luther's 95 Theses, as well as countless flyers and paintings from the Reformation. In 2017, much of this is to be presented to the general public in an exhibition at the Vienna Museum. The Reformation will be commemorated at various events such as the European Protestant Reformation Ball on 10/02/2017 or the grand festival in the Vienna Town Square on 30/09/2017. Be there - you are most welcome!
Images: epd/Uschmann, pixabay/Markl, pixabay/Saarmaica
Prague has been the natural capital of the Bohemian lands since time immemorial. It was here that leading persons met and that ideas of the Reformation movement, that had their beginnings one hundred years before the European Reformation, were forged. Jan Hus (d. 1415) spent most of his life in Prague, whilst Hieronymus of Prague, Jan Mili of Kremsier and other church reformers also worked here intermittently. The name Prague is also included in the "Four Prague Articles" or 1420. These were perhaps the first officially proclaimed and widely supported (even by the nobility) "Reform Theses" in Europe.
Modern-day Prague, home to many churches and monasteries, is characterised by its Roman Catholic Church. But it wasn't always so; in the early centuries, at least ever since the "Hussite Revolution" from 1420 to 1620, when violent 'Recatholicisation' began, the majority of people who were members of today's Catholic Church belonged to the "Utraquists", i.e. those Christians whose liturgy was characterised by the Lord's Supper "under both species", i.e. by the bread and wine, or body and blood of Christ.
The history of this change is felt in Prague at each step, for example immediately on the Old Town ring, probably a way-station of the European Roadmap: here you will find a 1915 memorial for Jan Hus. However, for many centuries, starting in 1652, you would have also found the Column of Mary here, one of the first in Europe. For three years - 1915-1918 - the Column of Mary and the Hus memorial stood side by side. In 1918, when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy fell with the end of the First World War, this Column of Mary was also destroyed by a crowd of people.
Or the church, that soars above the houses of the Old Town ring, the Teyn Church! Today - as it has been for many centuries - this is a real Catholic cathedral in full baroque magnificence. However, only a few of us would guess that it hasn't always been so. On the front side, between the towers, the bust of the Virgin Mary now stands where a chalice used to. A sharp eye and a keen mind can nevertheless uncover traces of an almost completely hidden fact: many centuries ago, the church was the Cathedral of the Utraquists where the sacrament was distributed under both species and where church services were held in Czech. And we can continue exploring. So, dear friends, we welcome you to join us in Prague!
OsnabrückOsnabrück underwent a quite special Reformation. This is attested to even today by the church and religious atmosphere in the city. It was a bishop, Franz von Waldeck,, who began the Reformation in 1543. This was a rarity. Indeed, he was forced to revoke everything five years later, yet the evangelical faith could not be repressed even if the law had reinstated Catholicism as the official religion of the region. The Peace of Westphalia, 100 years later, was of equal significance for the city. In 1648, European diplomats came to Osnabrück and to Münster to resolve the end of the Thirty Years War. Catholic and Protestant bishops continued to alternate in Osnabrück until 1802. This is how Osnabrück became the City of Peace.
Peace is promoted and celebrated in the city even today, with great engagement. Tolerance was practised in Osnabrück when people were forced to emigrate north because of their faith. Since the time of the Reformation, Protestants and Catholics have lived side by side, enriched in recent decades by other religious communities. All of these communities are coming together at the Interreligious Round-Table.
The year 2017 is significant for Christians and will be planned by Protestants and Catholics in the region together under the header "500 years of Reformation: dare to believe - live in diversity". The Protestant regional church and Catholic diocese, city and municipality, university and regional authority are cooperating for the occasion, and on many other projects and topics. You are warmly invited to discover Osnabrück, a city of the Reformation, a city of ecumenical Christianity, a city of peace. For the occasion, the city and regional authority is offering a range of different events at various locations in 2017. You are most welcome.
In 1529 and 1530, the Reformation in Minden led to changes, outbreaks, and upheavals - for Church, Council and School. With the First Westphalian Protestant church ordinance, a Latin school - today the Ratsgymnasium grammar school - also was founded. How would a school ordinance that takes into account the changes of the modern day look today? What sort of education and what values does today's globalised world need? The Reformation introduced basic changes regarding language, general education, responsibility of the individual and the structures of sovereignty.
Heinrich Trapphagen, appointed as priest at St. Simeonis, held sermons with Reformation content and was imprisoned in a dungeon. The citizens of Minden were so in support of his ideas, however, that they released him from the dungeon and reinstated him as preacher. The "36er" group formed in connection with this - this was a group of prestigious Minden citizens who wanted to promote the Reformation in Minden in a peaceful and orderly manner. The priest Albert Nisius, working at St. Mary's, was indeed cited before the cathedral chapter, but he escaped without reprimand. The citizens brought to Minden Nicolaus Krage who had been educated by Martin Luther himself in Wittenberg. In February 1530, Krage read out a church and school ordinance for Minden in St. Martini in the form of a statue of the town council. That same year, this church ordinance secularised a monastery and grounded a school. The Protestant citizens of Minden therefore did not only create their own statutory freedom of religion comparatively early, they also established a regulated education system at the same time.
At these historical locations, "Reenactors" will bring the time of 1530 back to life. A competition for a modern, contemporary school ordinance under the motto "Not without you" will offer prizes, with Minden's leading schools participating with a "Community Dance" project. Here it is all about lively inclusion, a "warm welcome" to refugees and people with disabilities, or socially disadvantaged people.
Also planned: church music projects, a "Poetry Slam", lectures from the historical society, school projects and educational activities at the adult education centre, and an exhibition of contemporary artworks on the topic of "Reformation".
Further information: Minden parish
Goslar The picturesque city of Goslar, lying at the foot of the Harz mountain range, enjoys great interest amongst tourists. Its attractions include the Royal Palace dating back to the 11th century which gave Goslar its title of "Royal City". Also worth a visit is the Old Town with its workshops, many of which date back to the Middle Ages, as well as four of the 5 churches, some chapels, the town fortification, the town hall and some preserved hospitals. The Old Town and the museum at the Rammelsberg mine, that is witness to the millennium-old tradition of mining, form the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site which has also included the "Oberharzer Wasserwirtschaft" (Upper Harz water supply) that served the mine for many years.
Goslar is also worth visiting if you're on the trail of the history of the Reformation. Several monastery ruins around the city are witness to the dramatic social and political debate that took place on the eve of the Reformation. The debate was about the access to silver and copper mines in the Rammelsberg mountain, the source of Goslar's livelihood. Hence, the Reformation was also introduced from the perspective of political ordinances. As early as 1528, a friend of Luther Nikolaus von Amsdorf was undertaking important preparations for this. The Ratsgymnasium grammar school, still in existence today, was founded that same year.
A particular jewel is the library of the market town of St. Cosmas and Damian that is home, amongst other things, to the only surviving copy of the first church hymn-book, the Erfurt Färbefassenchiridion. This humanist and Reformation book collection originally belonged to the Halberstadt cleric Andreas Gronewald who brought the collection to Goslar in 1535, possibly because he believed the books to be safer in the already Reformed Goslar. The hand-written entries by Gronewald in his books make it possible to retrace the internal process of converting an opponent of the Reformation to an advocate.
The Reformation celebrations, which will be held in the sense of a cosmopolitan self-affirmation of the Protestant heritage and confession, will include an exhibition on the market library, an art project, children's Bible studies, special city tours and much, much more.
"When the images are no longer in the heart, they can do no harm when seen with the eyes" (Luther) Art/Paraments and Reformation
The Lower-Saxony city of Helmstedt is, within the general history of today's Federal Republic of Germany, a place of transition, a border with the former Iron Curtain. Between 1945 and 1989, this separated two opposing power blocs - the socialist East and the democratic West.
As a city of the Reformation, Helmstedt is known for its university that was founded in the North-East of Germany by Julius, Duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1528–1589) as the first Protestant university and where well-known academics such as theologian Georg Calixt (1586–1656) taught up until the university's closure in 1809.
Only a few people are aware that the significant St. Marienberg convent was founded in the city of Helmstedt as early as the 12th century as an Augustine Choir Nunnery. The Marienberg Choir women initially rejected the reformation until their convent, like so many others, was also converted into a Protestant nunnery. Many of these convents still exhibit considerable reminders of their pre-Reformation paraments. This includes the St. Marienberg convent, whose mediaeval textiles were only rediscovered in the 19th century, becoming a starting point for the development of a Protestant parament. Domina Charlotte von Veltheim and Anna Gräfin von der Schulenburg were in close contact with the theologian Wilhelm Löhe in Neuendettelsau and in 1862, at the St. Marienberg convent, they founded the Lower-Saxony Parament Association, with which they would become famous far beyond the borders of Germany. Today, the Veltheim-Stiftung continues this work at the St. Marienberg convent.
The convent has defined this historical aspect of liturgical textile art as its focus on the European Roadmap, and will look at the changes caused to this area of art by the Reformation.
The topic of the transition will therefore - not just from the point of view of local history, but above all in terms of Protestant pictorial worlds and their effects on today's liturgy - be the focus of the events at the St. Marienberg convent in Helmstedt.
"Humans as co-creators. Discovering work afresh"
"Humans as co-creators. Discovering work afresh” will be the theme from 5 to 7 December 2016 in Wolfsburg. After the show-truck arrives at Hollerplatz, a central square, on 5 December, there will be a procession through the illuminated street (Bebelstrasse) and the "Light-Art Gate of Freedom" to Christuskirche (Christ Church). That will lead straight into an ecumenical opening service, with regional bishop Dieter Rathing.
The keynote event day, 6 December, will feature a lively educational programme with a variety of activities for students on vocational courses, held at Alvar Aalto Kulturhaus. This will be open to all interested persons from the region and also serve as an action day for 500 trainees at the Volkswagen (VW) factory.
On the evening of 6 December there will be a panel discussion at the Customer Center of the VW Autostadt, with contributions from Premier Stephan Weil, Bishops Heinrich Bedford-Strohm (Munich) and Ralf Meister (Hanover), and Prof. Dr. Jutta Allmendinger, President of the Berlin Social Science Center. A panel discussion in Christ Church, to be opened by a short cabaret performance, and a symposium organised by the network on church and manual trades will explore further aspects of the way-station theme.
Schmalkalden – Politics and faith in the past and the present
The example of the Schmalkaldic Leage, the political arm of the Reformation, can show us how political developments were enacted in the early modern age. The Schmalkaldic Articles, written as a Lutheran confession document, are in turn a good example of how religious beliefs were formulated and made binding at this time.
However, the Reformation is not just a historical phenomenon. When the European Roadmap comes to Schmalkalden, we will focus on the present as well. On how politics and faith are shaped and formulated in a modern-day context. All generations should get involved and voice their opinions here.
HeidelbergThe Evangelical Church in Heidelberg is approaching the anniversary of the Reformation 2017/2018 under the heading "Education and ecumenism Christianity". We are quite deliberately planning the anniversary together with our Catholic brothers and sisters. We will celebrate our Protestant heritage and at the same time perhaps, look to the future. Christendom is no longer divided into Catholic and Protestant for many people - we are all simply Christians. It is therefore important that we consider where we can strengthen that which we have in common according to Eph. 4 "one Lord, one faith, one baptism", all the while bearing in mind our respective traditions.
As a city, Heidelberg is associated with two great events of the Reformation. On 26 April 1518, Martin Luther defended his theological Theses at the Heidelberg Disputation. This event was just as important for the dissemination of Reformation ideas at universities as the spread of Martin Luther's 95 theses was for the nobility, craftsmen and farmers. Young, and later very influential students and teachers of the university took up Luther's approach seriously and with great enthusiasm, though the Disputation brought Luther few sympathisers amongst the older professors. It was not until relatively late (c. 1546) that the ideas of the Reformation were able to take hold in the city, though there was still a constant battle between proponents of the Lutheran and Reformed doctrines. The enemies condemned each other and fought in hand-to-hand combat even in front of the altar, until Elector Friedrich III became too enraged and ordered the printing of the Heidelberg Catechism which was the foundation for all parishes in the region. This had its origins in the desire to establish order and peace amongst Protestant Christians; it made its triumphant entrance into the world in 1563 and has survived until today.
In 2017/18, the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church, wish to make it clear that the Christians in Heidelberg learn a lot from one another today and follow many paths together. We will sign an ecumenical charter that is intended to confirm this. At the same time, we would like to take up the main thoughts behind the Reformation: the contemporary dissemination of Christian faith in speech, music and, above all, actions. Actors from politics, culture, universities and business will all participate in the festivities. Heidelberg is one of 73 Reformation cities in Europe, something which the local population sees with pride.
Dr Marlene Schwöbel-Hug
Dean of the Evangelical Church in Heidelberg
Crailsheim is one of the cities of South Germany where the Reformation took hold very early. Adam Weiß, the Johanneskirche Church priest at St. John's Church, preached "in the evangelical sense" as early as 1522. Beyond Crailsheim, Weiß was also absolutely key for enforcing the Reformation in Central Franconia (formerly the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach).
Crailsheim is an example of the fact that the Reformation was not just for metropolitan areas and imperial cities, with small and medium-sized towns also playing an important role in the Protestant movement.
The focus of the countless activities to celebrate the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 is the "Crailsheim Reformation Route" project. In the centre of Crailsheim there will be a circular route with twelve stops which will bring to life the breakthroughs initiated by the Reformation from different aspects. Reference will be made here in particular to current issues and areas of tension, as well as the local and regional relationships with individual points of interest. The "Crailsheim Reformation Route" is a joint initiative between the City of Crailsheim, and Protestant and Catholic parishes.
As the birthplace of Hans Scholl and Eugen Grimminger (the White Rose resistance group), Crailsheim will host events in the Reformation anniversary 2016/17 under the motto "Civil Courage and Civic Engagement".
Reformation city, Bern
Unlike Zurich and Geneva, Bern is generally not regarded as one of the more important areas of Switzerland when talking about the Reformation. Appearances can be deceptive, however. True, Bern cannot boast any prominent Reformers such as Zwingli or Calvin. Nevertheless, it would not be too far-fetched to say that the Reformation would have looked rather different without Bern. The reason for this lies in the power politics of the early 16th century.
At this time, Bern was the largest city state north of the Alps. As a result of its transition to the Reformation, the movement became decidedly stronger, and Zurich was no longer isolated in the Confederation, despite its defeat in the Second War of Kappel. However, it was Bern above all others that became the protective power over the city of Geneva due to its occupation of the Canton of Vaud. Without this political assurance, the Reformation could never have taken hold in Geneva. Only with these specific, power-political relationships were Geneva and Calvin able to subsequently have such an influence on the world. One can study the example of Bern to identify the extent to which the Reformation was also dependent on the interests of the political powers.
The Reformation was not introduced in Bern by the will of a prince, but following a public debate on key theological issues: the Bern Disputation of 1528. Clergy from the city and the countryside met in the Barfüsserkirche Church from 6 to 26 January, joined by delegates of confederate governments and southern German states. The bishops of Constance, Basel, Sitten and Lausanne refused to participate. For the Disputation, the Bern natives, Father Berchtold Haller and Father Franz Kolb, compiled ten theses. Negotiations were held in the national language, the only criterion being the Holy Scriptures. At the end of the Disputation, a majority of those present accepted these theses. As early as 27 January, the Council of Bern decreed the abolishment of the Mass and the removal of images. The implementation of the theses was then laid down in the Reformation mandate of 7 February 1528.
With the anniversary of the Reformation in mind, the Church of Bern is again taking stock of itself. Following the model of the Disputation, this stocktaking is also to take account of the foundation of the church. Under the motto "Vision Church 21", the Synod has initiated a process in which members are requested to offer contributions to the question of what the mandate of the Reformed church should be at the beginning of the 21st century. The celebration of the Reformation will therefore be an occasion for Bern to prove itself as ecclesia semper reformanda.
A European City of the Reformation and the world: The Zürich Reformation in keywords
On 1 January 1519, Huldrych Zwingli (1484 - 1531) held his inaugural sermon in German at Zürich Cathedral. From 2017 and 2019, Zürich wants to commemorate this start of the "Reformed" movement on a big, open and varied scale.
Whilst Luther triggered an avalanche, a critical pilgrim priest was holding office in Einsiedeln. He also castigated the indulgences, hypocrisy and empty rituals. As a 'preacher in the field' he saw many young mercenaries die and fought against recruitment. The aspiring populace of Zürich was behind him, as were the farmers. Zwingli preached to them, giving them hope of a better life not just after death. The learned members of the region were convinced: only the Bible could show them the way out of the labyrinth of church rules, folklore beliefs and confusion of interests. A team produced the Zürich Bible; people were to read and think themselves. Others defied the rules of fasting in 1522; a conflict broke out wit the bishop.
The Council now called people to the "Disputation"; Zwingli emerged victorious. Zürich broke off with the old church. The clergy became obliged to preach the Bible, purge the liturgy, and sacred images were removed. Instead of giving alms and buying church furnishings, Zürich preferred to help the poor and provide education. Anna Reinhard took care of Zwingli when he fell victim to the plague. They married in 1524. The Abbess of Fraumünster, Katharina von Zimmern, dissolved her abbey that same year and handed over all rights and possessions. This helped Zürich avoid civil war.
From 1527 onwards, six "Anabaptists" were sentenced to death in the Limmat river. They did not want to take an oath or serve in the army and only recognised the believer's baptism. They were therefore considered to be enemies of the state. It was not until 2004 that the church and city asked for forgiveness from their descendants. Zwingli met Luther in Marburg in 1529 in order to unite the Protestants. Zwingli believed that God did not convert the bread and wine during the sacrament, rather he converted people into the "body of Christ". This is where negotiations broke down. It was not until 444 years later that Europe's Protestants finally all came together (Leuenberg).
In his final years, Huldrych Zwingli ignited an aggressive political attack on those loyal to Rome. He died in battle in 1531. Heinrich Bullinger was his successor who networked Zürich with the rest of Europe. In 1549, he managed to bridge the gap to Geneva. The "Reformed" world movement that arose as a result now counts 85 million members, more or less as many as the Lutheran movement. Today, the heritage of the Reformation belongs to everyone equally. Welcome to Zürich!
Photographs copyright © Zuerich Tourismus
The Reformation in Schwäbisch Hall was shaped by Johannes Brenz. In 1522, the city appointed him preacher at St. Michael where he worked as "Luther's Man in Southern Germany" until 1548. The town council and Johannes Brenz insisted on a gradual transition to the Reformation. There was no iconoclasm in Schwäbisch Hall. As a result, pre-Reformation altars and devotional images can still be found in St. Michael's Church and the Hällisch-Fränkisches Museum. During Christmas 1526, Brenz first handed out the sacrament under both species in front of the Altar of the Three Kings. The "Brenzkelch" chalice is still in use today.
A particular wish of Johannes Brenz was to reform poverty and schooling. Girls were to be allowed to attend school as well, and parents would no longer have to pay fees. In 1528, Brenz wrote a catechism requiring the expansion of schooling in Schwäbisch Hall and the surrounding area. His Church Ordinance called for relief for the poor and became an important component of the Great Church Ordinance for Württemberg in 1559. In this way, Brenz made a crucial contribution to shaping the face of what is now the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Württemberg.
Education and inclusion are still closely connected in Schwäbisch Hall today. Inclusion is implemented in various models in local nurseries and schools. The adult education centre and the Protestant adult and family education centre wish to make education accessible to everyone. Important institutions include the Sonnenhof, an establishment for people with disabilities, and the Protestant Diakonie, the second-largest employer in Schwäbisch Hall.
"Johannes Brenz - education as participation" is therefore also the motto of the city for the European Roadmap. We will trace the footsteps of Johannes Brenz in Schwäbisch Hall and at the same time pose a question: how can we implement this today? How can we shape our society in such a way that every type of person can participate in its processes. All generations should get involved and voice their opinions on these matters. www.schwaebischhall.de www.kirchenbezirk-schwaebischhall.de www.schwaebischhall.de/erlebnisstadt.html
Images: Jürgen Weller, Schwäbisch Hall and Nicole Hirsch
Chur is the oldest city in Switzerland and is the capital of the Canton of Graubünden/Grigioni. The picturesque old town, the diverse range of cultural offerings, and the countless opportunities for sport and recreation in the Alpine mountains are popular with visitors and locals alike. The first bishopric was established in Chur, north of the Alps, as early as the 4th century. The cathedral and the Bishop's Palace on the "Courtyard", the rocky plateau above the modern-day old town, are still witness to the varied religious history even today.
The Reformation in Chur was for the most part peaceful and was introduced in 1527 on the decision of the City Council. This was made possible by longer developments. The three federations (Bünde) (Gotteshausbund, Grauer Bund, Zehngerichtebund) formed a free city in the area known today as the Canton of Graubünden. After the city fire of 1464, Emperor Friedrich III granted the citizens of Chur almost complete liberation from the rule of the Bishop. The political power in fact went to five newly formed guilds, which became the foundation for later church reforms. In 1523, the City Council called Johannes Comander from Maienfeld to St. Martin's Church. The reformed Jakob Salzmann had already worked in Chur previously, and even the Bishop's Court was open to reform. With the Ilanz Ordinances of 1524 and 1526, the independent city received its own laws which transferred the rights of sovereignty to the parishes for the first time. They communities could now elect and dismiss their clergy themselves. An important condition for this was the "Tolerance Patent" (1526) which gave every man and woman the right to freedom of faith. The Reformation in Graubünden is unique in that individuals and individual locations were allowed to choose their own faith thanks to the Ilanz Ordinances.
Today, the city boasts countless monuments to the time of religious debate, and a harmonious living of confessions side by side.
Debrecen as "Calvinistic Rome"
Since the Debrecen Synod of 1567, which adopted the Second Helvetian Confession (Confessio Helevetica posterior) and established the first church ordinance of the Reformed parishes in North-East Hungary, the largest city of the Hungarian lowlands has been the centre of Hungarian Calvinism. Pulpit, school and printers formed a united organisational entity in the "Hungarian Geneva" in early modern times. This also promoted the general culture of Hungary beyond confessional boundaries. Countless significant theologians, artists, poets, scientists and politicians were trained in the Reformed College of Debrecen for centuries. During the Communist times, when the authorities even banned the city coat of arms because of its Christian motifs (Agnus Dei, both Testaments), the school of this college functioned as the only state-recognised Protestant middle school in this area of Europe.
After the political revolution of 1989, church life in Debrecen also began to slowly bloom once more. Former reformed institutions opened their doors once again. The old structure of the Reformed College was restored, and the Theology Faculty got its university status back.
Of the major church events in the last 25 years in Debrecen, the Pope's visit to the "Calvinist Rome" is particularly worth mentioned and will foreseeably leave its traces in the minds of believers for many years. John Paul II led a prayer in the large Church of Debrecen in 1991 and laid a wreath at the memorial to the Protestant galley slaves from the 17th century. Old wounds were healed by his ecumenical gesture.
The position of Calvinism in today's city, however, cannot be compared to that prior to the Second World War. Due to the quick growth of the city in the last few centuries (today the city is home to around 210,000 people), the distribution of confessions has changed. Around half of Christians in the city no longer belong the Reformed confession. The title of "Calvinistic Rome" for Debrecen is still used in general, however, and more to the point applies to the city as a whole which is still as ever characterised by the world-famous large Reformed Church, the Reformed College with its 3,000 pupils and students, and the state university which arose from this.
The city's 15 reformed parishes and its old college, that will be completely renovated by 2017, are expecting interested individuals to come with countless programmes to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In March, for example, the Leipzig Church of St. Thomas Choir will give a concert in the Large Church, whilst in the city's memorial garden, there are plans for a monumental Reformation memorial in the summer. An exhibition of Reformed church art will also be opened in the ballroom of the college library.
Sopron (Ödenburg)The city of Sopron/Ödenburg is one of the strongholds of the Reformation in Hungary. Thanks to their spiritual and economic relationships, the citizens of the city encountered the teachings of the Reformation very early on. The Franciscan priest Kristóf was preaching the doctrine of Luther as early as 1520 here. After a visit from the King, attempts were made to put an end to the spread of Luther's doctrine, for example by burning his books. But these measures could not stand in the way of the spread of the Reformation. The loosening up of spiritual and financial dependence on the Catholic Church was also supported by the citizens. The city's first Protestant priest, Simon Gerengel, founded the First Ödenburg Evangelical Lutheran Parish in 1565 - moreover, the city's first Lutheran education centre was founded here just eight years later and still exists today as the Lyceum. The majority of the population and the political leadership also converted to this new faith, which allowed the population to practise their Protestant beliefs freely.
In the 17th century, the Catholics got their churches and goods back from the Lutherans. The Lutherans ousted by this were able to head to the courtyard of the house of Margravine Eggenberg in St. Georg-Gasse for a church service. The church services held here in any kind of weather gave the believers of Ödenburg their nickname "sodden Lutherans". Ödenburg became a place where evangelical sermons have been heard every Sunday since the 16th century without exception. In 1784 the new stone church building was inaugurated. The community was now on the verge of centuries of growth.
Disease, bombardments and expulsion were the consequences of the Second World War. The greatest tragedy for the Protestant community was the 1946 expulsion of Ödenburg Germans that shook our community to its core. As a result of the war, the number of Ödenburg Protestant parishes decreased between 1941 and 1949 from 10,865 to 4,773. In the 1950s, church institutions were nationalised. The ruling power had deliberately weakened the power of the church. The faith and the power of the community nevertheless remained unbroken. After the opening of the Iron Curtain, Ödenburg Lutherans were able to continue their lives in a new context.
The events following the revolution of 1989 also brought about a significant revolution in the life of the Protestant community. Today, Protestant institutions are again active in the city: three schools, a home care service for the sick, and a retirement home. The community regained several state buildings. A pastor has been delegated to our community by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria since 1993. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, our international contacts have also intensified, particularly with the Lutherans of Bad Wimpfen in Germany and Seinäjoki in Finland.
The number of Ödenburg Lutherans has been decreased dramatically during these tumultuous centuries, shifting into the realm of a minority which nevertheless takes great pride in its past that stretches back almost half a millennium - this is also visible in the permanent German/Hungarian-language exhibition on the history of the congregation in the parish centre. Bilingualism is ever present in the spiritual and cultural events of our community of 4,000 souls.
Cieszyn is a town with a rich and complicated history, located in a picturesque part of the Silesian Foothills on the River Olza. The town’s beginnings extend back to the 10th century, when it became a fortified border town of the Polish state, and by the 13th century the capital of a Piast duchy. Religious matters were a vital element in the life of the town’s citizens. This is perhaps seen in Cieszyn’s first stone Christian church, the 11th-century rotunda of St. Nicholas located on the castle hill, today one of the oldest surviving religious architectural treasures of Romanesque art in Poland. In the contemporary architecture of Cieszyn and Český Těšín on the other side of the Olza we can see the centuries-old diversity and religious co-existence exemplified in the numerous Christian churches of various denominations, cemeteries and religious buildings, including former Jewish ones, for instance the only surviving Jewish synagogue in the town.
In 1545 the duke of Cieszyn, Wenceslaus III Adam, introduced the Reformation to the duchy on gaining power, although the actual ideas of Martin Luther had begun to reach the town earlier. The heyday of the Reformation in the Cieszyn Duchy in the second half of the 16th century led to a consolidation of Lutheranism strong enough to be able to survive the times of the 17th-century Counter-Reformation. It was actually in the town on the Olza in 1592 that the priest Jerzy Trzanowski, the so-called “Luther of the Slavs”, a graduate of the University of Wittenberg, a writer and the most outstanding Cieszyn intellectual of those times was born. He was the author of religious texts, among others translations into Czech of the Augsburg Confession, but his compilation and publication of the hymnal Cithara Sanctorum (The Lyre of the Saints) had special importance. The hymnal, published a year before his death in 1636, played an immense role in the propagation of the idea of the Reformation in Slavic countries, also owing to which Father Trzanowski was named the Luther of the Slavs.
An important event in the history of the Reformation of the region was the permission to build and construction outside Cieszyn of the only Lutheran church in Upper Silesia, which eased the more than fifty-year period of the Counter-Reformation and concealment of the Protestant faith. The Church of Jesus – today the largest Lutheran church in Poland and Central-Eastern Europe – which was built then and beside it a Lutheran school led to significant social and cultural changes which are visible today and which continue to influence the development of the town and the entire region.
LiverpoolLiverpool was granted a charter in 1207, but did not grow into a great city until the 18th century, thanks to the maritime trade in sugar, spices, cotton, tobacco and, regrettably, slaves. The influx of seafarers, especially from Germany and the Baltic countries, brought Lutheranism. Until mid-19th century, it had been concentrated in London. Then, one day in Liverpool, an English cleric stumbled upon a prayer-meeting of Germans in a disused ship. He arranged for a man to be called to this ministry. At first this was a German-speaking congregation within the Church of England. Soon, however, they determined to join their Lutheran brethren and after much wandering in rented churches finally built their own in 1960.
The concept of seamen's missions spread to other maritime countries. The Norwegians opened their first centre in these islands in 1864 in Leith, Scotland. A joint venture between the Swedes and the Norwegians in Liverpool in 1862 led to the appointment of Per August Teguer in 1870, ministering to 50,000 Scandinavians per year. Sadly, he did not live to see the completion in 1884 of the Scandinavian Seamen’s church, Gustaf Adolfs kyrka. The design by local architect William Douglas Caroe was based on wooden stave churches in Norway, of which only 28 survive today. The church, on the upper floor, is octagonal; the east window depicts the Good Shepherd; and there are model ships in glass cases, works of art by local sculptor Arthur Dooley and a magnificent ship’s bell, rescued from the Norwegian church (closed in 1992).
Following the decision of the Swedish Church Abroad in 2010 to withdraw from Liverpool, the church changed its name to “The Nordic church in Liverpool” which, with the help of the charity set up to support it, LiNC (Liverpool International Nordic Community), serves residents of Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic and Finnish descent, as well as fans of Liverpool Football Club from across the North Sea. We offer coffee mornings, knitting circles, language and cultural lessons, theatrical and musical performances, Swedish craft fairs and film nights. Church services are held regularly, including the popular Lucia service in December, and there is much collaboration with the other Churches in Liverpool, including the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals.
Viborg is the Danish city in the Reformation Relay in 2017
Viborg is the only Danish city receiving a visit from the Reformation Relay, when the whole of Europe celebrates the Reformation Jubilee. The city of Viborg invites everybody to take part in a wealth of activities and share unique experiences throughout the year 2017.
Viborg, the Reformation city, is the only Danish city to be visited by the European Reformation Relay, Europäischer Stationenweg, along with 67 selected cities from all round Europe. All the cities have played a special role in the history of the Reformation. The European Reformation Relay visits Viborg on February 28th 2017 and remains in the city for 36 hours.
The Reformation Relay is a moving ‘baton’ which in the course of 7 months visits selected European cities with a large truck filled with people’s stories. On this unique visit to Viborg a number of exciting days will celebrate the relay with a festive programme involving a banquet, bazaars, concerts, lectures and theatre performances.
A Trucker Full of History
During the visit it will be possible to climb up into the large truck – a history-truck – where you can tell stories from you own life. All the stories from the 67 cities will become part of the World Reformation Exhibition in Wittenberg in May 2017.
Viborg, being the city of Hans Tausen, has a unique reformation story to tell. This has also been noted outside the Danish borders. This was the place where the Reformation came to the kingdom of Denmark – and it came from the grass-roots – as a demand from the citizens. This makes the city an important element in the European history of Christianity and Culture. We shall do everything to make the anniversary a celebration for the citizens, and to make sure that the celebrations will not only look back - but also provide new departures for us all. We are looking forward to sharing our arrangements with foreign guests, musicians, theatre people and many others, says Henrik Stubkjær, Bishop of Viborg.
In the course of the 2017 Reformation celebrations Viborg will invite everyone to a myriad of major and minor arrangements. At the end of the year there are plans afoot for a spectacular church and cultural event in and around Viborg Cathedral and a major conference about the Reformation aimed at a popular audience and focussing on the importance of the Reformation for our lives today.
It must make sense today
Viborg wishes to stress that the celebrations of the Reformation Anniversary must make sense for people of today. A red thread running through most of the arrangements will be topical issues such as: Who are we as people, and who would we like to be? Where do we come from? And most importantly: where are we going? All of this is seen on the background of the Reformation and the huge influence it still has on our lives today.
Viborg is looking forward to being a Reformation city in 2017. The Reformation has had a wide and important influence on the city’s history and is today an outstanding element in our historical narrative and cultural inheritance. It is therefore my hope that many people will want to take part in some of the many arrangements in the city, says Torsten Nielsen, Mayor of Viborg.
The many arrangements celebrating the Reformation are aimed not only at children, but also at youngsters, adults and families. Information and further details of the arrangements can be found at www.reformationeniviborg.dk including their time and place in Viborg in the course of the year.
Further information from:
Henning Kjær Thomsen, diocesan theological consultant, tel: +45 87262188/+45 30303778. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mette Hagen, project manager, Viborg Municipality, tel: + 45 30762053. Email: email@example.com
Viborg was the first city to be reformed
The 500-year Reformation Anniversary will be celebrated all over Denmark. But Viborg was the first Danish city in the kingdom of Denmark to follow Luther’s ideas and beliefs. This happened when Hans Tausen was given the King’s approval in 1529 – seven years before the rest of Denmark.
12 years earlier, on October 31st 1517, Martin Luther is said to have nailed his 95 theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church, also known as the Castle Church in Wittenberg. In 1523 Hans Tausen came to the University in Wittenberg and was inspired when he heard about Luther’s ideas. In 1525 Hans Tausen came to Viborg, where he began to preach Luther’s ideas. In 1529 King Frederik I gave permission for Viborg to pull down 12 Catholic parish churches consecrated to various saints. From that day onwards Viborg considered itself Protestant.
Read more about Viborg and the Reformation at www.reformationeniviborg.dk
Read more about the Reformation Anniversary on www.luther2017.dk
BergenBergen is a city of 275,000 inhabitants. It is now the second biggest city in Norway, but it used to be our largest and most important city. It was a Hanseatic city, and the voice of the Reformation came to the city by the traders before Norway was officially reformed.
King Christian II (1481-1559) was against Protestantism. He was forced to quit as king in 1523 and the following King Fredrik I (1471-1533) tried to spread the Lutheran mind-sets in Denmark and Norway. He sent Vincens Lunge (1481-1536) in 1523 to Bergen to work against the Catholic Church and to spread the new ideas.
The Danish King Christian III (1503-1559) controlled Norway from 1536 and decided that we should convert from Catholicism to Protestantism.
In 1537 Olav Engelbrektson, the last Catholic archbishop of Norway, left and the country was reformed, though it took a while until Lutheranism took root in Norway.
Norway got its constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll. The law said that the Evangelical Lutheran confession is and shall be the official religion of the state of Norway. The law was changed in 2012. Now there is an ongoing process of how to change the Norwegian Church from a “State-church” to a “Folk-church”.
The majority still belong to the Lutheran Church, and Luther and the Reformation is still of great influence in our nation. The anniversary will revitalize the tradition even if we have an ongoing process of secularizing and have become a multicultural country.
Bishop Halvor Nordhaug planted a “Luther tree” on 21 June 2015 near The Maria Church in Bergen celebrating the reformation. We will prepare the Reformation anniversary during 2016 in a way that will inspire all local congregations to make their own celebrations. We hope to lift up some of the good values from the Reformation and discuss what they mean in 2017. Freedom of thought and belief: Scripture alone, Christ alone, women’s rights, low church movements and development of democracy will be discussed and shared. The process has just started, and the focal point 4 March in 2017 will be an important event for us.
TurkuSince its founding in the 13th century, the city of Turku has been a gateway to the rest of the world for Finns. Until 1812, Turku was the capital of Finland and at the same time its spiritual, administrative, economic and cultural centre. Today, Turku is still the seat of the Evangelical Lutheran Archbishop of Finland.
Since Finland had belonged to the Kingdom of Sweden for several centuries, a resolution at the Swedish Houses of Parliament in 1527 also triggered the Reformation here. A significant Finnish Reformer was Mikael Agricola (ca. 1510-1557), the first Lutheran bishop in Turku from 1554. At the same time, he was the founder of the Finnish writing system. In the spirit of the Reformation, he began to translate the Bible into the language of the people: the Finnish New Testament, which he translated with a nod towards Luther, was printed in 1548.
With Turku as a base, he spread the Reformation throughout the whole of Finland. Even today, various historical monuments in the skyline of Turku attest to the history of the Reformation, such as the Turku Cathedral and Castle. Both are some of the most popular historical sites in Finland. The latter is the largest mediaeval building in Finland and during the Reformation was the scene for many confessional intrigues within the Swedish Royal Court.
As a Reformation city in Finland, Turku will play an important role in 2017. Actors from the church as well as city administration and society are preparing an exciting programme for the anniversary of the Reformation. A focal topic will be the cultural and spiritual roots of the Finns that are deeply embedded in Lutheran thinking. At the same time, we will highlight the Christian faith to the Finns of today, discussing how the church or society of today should be reformed. As well as exhibitions, concerts, exciting tours and topical church services, we are also planning puppet theatres, flashmobs, mobile games and augmented reality apps... The city of Turku will therefore act as an entrance to an exciting adventure in 2017, with historical and modern elements, and the latest technology - come and join us!
"Hospitium Ecclesiae" – that is the topic of the Bremen Roadmap way-station. It is the honorary title of Free Hanseatic City, the city which offered protection to religious refugees as the "Church Hospice". "Conserva, Domine, Hospitium Ecclesiae Tuae" (Lord, defend the Hospice, your Church) - this inscription on the Weser Bridge Gate welcomed guests to Bremen between 1554 and 1839. Today, as a clock-face inscription on the Simon-Petrus Church, it is a reminder of our responsibility for refugees. Stories of refugees and migrants, of being accepted and protected, are what shape the Bremen stage of the Roadmap. This is grounded in the part they played in the history of the Reformation.
The Reformation came to Bremen particularly early and was a reform movement "from below". There was a power vacuum at the outset: The Sovereign Archbishop Christoph von Braunschweig-Lüneburg underestimated the new trend travelling on the wind from Wittenberg. And now the time had come for the City Council, which wanted to enforce more citizens' rights. At that point, the Augustinian monk Heinrich von Zütphen, having fled from Antwerp, arrived just in time. On his travels, the citizens of Bremen had begged him to preach in a chapel of the St. Ansgarii Church,
and to remain in Bremen for the long-term. His first evangelical sermon on the freedom and equality of Christian peoples in November 1522 quickly bore fruits. Other Protestant preachers began to come to Bremen, the City Council ensuring their appointment, and, until 1525, seeing to it that all four city churches were Protestant. Social unrest in 1532 led to the thus far Catholic St. Petri Cathedral being closed for 15
years. Afterwards, evangelical preaching seeped into the Cathedral too. The Bremen Church Ordinance of 1534 looked to restore order. Academics laud this as a "special jewel amongst the Church's powers of authority during the Reformation." Here we find the origins of the typical Protestant diversity found along the banks of the Weser, a diversity that took on a more Reformed appearance after the beginnings of Lutheran belief at the end of the 16th century. Its primary features, a statt of considerable self-governance of the parishes when electing their clergy and in the organisation of community life, still shape the church in
Images: Panthermedia (Frank Wellbrock, Roland Brack, Olha Rohulya)
Community – Inwardness – Education and Upbringing.
When people want to establish their own personal connection to God, then it is important that they can read the Bible in their own everyday language. In this way, people can learn to read and write, so as to be able to transcribe important texts and consider these for themselves.
It was in the 14th century when Geert Grote took up this train of thought in the Hanseatic city of Deventer. What did he experience there? Priests in the church were more concerned with power and wealth than with caring for believers. There were no longer good representatives of the church. Geert Grote's contribution was the beginning of a spiritual movement in the Netherlands that had plenty of influences beyond this: the Modern Devotion (Moderne Devotie). It was not just the deepening of internal belief but also care for the poor that demanded a new approach.
Men and women came together in community, strengthened one another in faith, and took care of their own livelihood. Poverty was predominantly avoided as a result. In order to bring in money, important texts were transcribed. They copied Bible texts and books of hours in their native language that were disseminated over a wide area. Poor school children were therefore able to attend the Latin School because transcribing brought with it money.
The quality of teaching was improved. Many Latin schools at the time took on the models of Deventer and Zwolle. Important personalities, such as Erasmus of Rotterdam, attended school in Deventer. After the printing press was invented, an important printing-shop was established. This elevated Deventer to the position of an important book city. The school of thought of the Modern Devotion was approaching the Reformation movement of Luther and was more or less integrated in the 16th century. Geert Grote was therefore a forerunner of the Reformation.
Two centuries later, at a time when the Reformation had found its roots in the Netherlands, it was the pastor and poet Jacobus Revius who administrated the mediaeval library with its hand-written books. The invention of the printing press gave Martin Luther the opportunity to spread his books much more quickly than before, allowing the belief in a personal God to be disseminated much further. Revius, a real fan of books, was employed in the publishing of the important "Statenvertaling", the Dutch translation of the Old and New Testaments. The "Synod of Dordrecht" approved the text in 1618 at one of the most important meetings in the history of the Dutch Church.
Deventer is still a city of books in the 21st century and is home to many free-thinking faith communities. The lively church community in the "Lebuinuskerk" - originating in the 12th century - is targeting renovation and a connection with the local community. The ecumenical community is just as demanding. The inwardness is brought to life in church services as the community cares for its own and for the poorer members of society. The "Meester Geertshuis" is an important social station of the deacon here. In this way, the ideas of Geert Grote continue to live.
Everyone is warmly invited on 1 April 2017 when the European Roadmap show-truck should be arriving.
Kerk in de Stad working group.
Luther and Calvin both left their marks in Dordrecht, even though neither was ever here. The teaching of Luther was, for a short time, disseminated by Augustinian and Franciscan monks. The teaching of Calvin, on the other hand, was adopted in Dordrecht in 1572 under pressure from the region of Wassergeusen.
The first free Provincial State Assembly was held in Dordrecht in 1572. Here, the foundations for the State of the Netherlands were set down by a federal alliance of cities. The work of William of Orange for religious freedom and freedom of conscious is still significant today. The Synod of Dordrecht (1618/1619) had theological and political significance, both nationally and internationally. Civil war was avoided thanks to the settling of a theological dispute. The doctrine of the public church was strictly upheld. The Synod further decreed that the Bible be translated into Dutch. This "Statenvertaling" (state translation) of 1637 became important for Dutch as a standardised language, comparable to the impact of Luther's translation of the Bible for the German language. Moreover, the Synod adopted a church ordinance, with the local congregation as a starting point.
"Dordrecht" was a symbol of Orthodox Calvinism, and of the Presbyterian Synod church ordinance. The "Grote Kerk" (large church), originating in the Middle Ages, was built according to the model of the French cathedral and became a symbol of Calvinism in the Netherlands.
The Reformed faith began to spread in different languages. In Dordrecht, a Walloon community arose that still exists today, as well as a Scottish and an English community. The Lutheran traders who settled in Dordrecht also had their own church. This church now shares its building, the Chapel of the Trinity, with the Walloons. The Lutheran Church is part of the Protestant Church of the Netherlands (PKN).
In the 19th century, Dordrecht was associated with a party dispute within the church. The commemoration was to do with the adversity of the past. The meeting of the Synod, the "Kloverniersdoelen", was cancelled without much protest.
In the 20th century, the rich history of Dordrecht was rediscovered. The "Hof van Nederland" (Court of the Netherlands), where the first state assembly was held, was restored. On the Day of the King in 2015, King Willem-Alexander opened the Court that is now a museum. The signing took place in a historical context (see event image).
In 2009, an impressive exhibition on Calvin was opened in the large church. Now, festivities are being prepared to celebrate 500 years of the Reformation.
Luther and Calvin are more present than ever in our beautiful city of Dordrecht.
Further informationen: www.luthersdordrecht.nl
Photos: Bart van Buitenen, Bart Stegeman
Speyer - Freedom of conscience, faith and religion
The 2nd Speyer Reichstag of 1529 is associated with the Protestation. Here, the Worms Edict was to be re-enforced according to a resolution of the Reichstag - and the proponents of the Lutheran Reformation (after a phase of acceptance) were to be muzzled. The minority, consisting of six princes as well as representatives of 14 free imperial cities, asserted their right to oppose the majority decision in matters of faith with reference to their own conscience bound to the gospel. They did this in the form of a legal statement, the "Protestation". It basically stated:
"In matters of God's glory and our salvation and beatitude, every man must stand accountable before God himself."
For the first time, princes and imperial cities, that is to say people in political positions, not theologians and thinkers, entered the public eye as "confessors" of a Reformation position. In doing so, they put into motion a development which gradually opened the way for religious tolerance, and eventually also individual freedom of conscience, faith and religion.
Today, we live in a multi-cultural and multi-religious world. Ecumenical and Interreligious contacts are maintained in the city of Speyer. Speyer is also one of the SCHUM cities (Mainz, Worms and Speyer) and is thus one of the Rhine cities which were home to significant cooperating Jewish communities in the Middle Ages.
The freedom of conscience and religion that is to be protected specifically in the interplay of cultures has one of its roots in the Speyer Protestation of 1529 as a universal human right, that is, in the history of ideas. In this basic right, we are again recognising genuinely Protestant options of freedom that are worth expanding and protecting again and again even today. The current relevance of Reformation insights will also be the focus of our events within the context of the European Roadmap.
Detmold / Lemgo - Together in freedom
People live together in the Church of Lippe - as Lutheran and Reformed communities. There is no union, but there is a joint church and church leadership. 400 years ago, in the Röhrentrup Recess, a war between the confessions was prevented. Since then, people have had time to search for joint ways to be and shape the church. "2017" is therefore not just the 500th anniversary of the Reformation for Lippe, it is also the 400th anniversary of a national church with two confessions. Pulpit and altar fellowship (Kanzel- und Abendmahlsgemeinschaft) has been available to both Lutherans and Reformed since 1973 on the basis of the Leuenberg Agreement (Leuenberger Konkordie). Lippe was the first to sign this Agreement.
The archways in Detmold and Lemgo, designed by students of a technical college and students of Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences, invite you to trace the history of this mutual freedom.
On 3 May 2017, we invite you to take stock of this particular feature: the fact that we can be one church and that differences need not separate us, but can strengthen us; the fact that we experience differences as freedom Reformation and a strengthening of the faith.
We want to set off on our journey of discovery from the Weser Renaissance Castle of Brake - the only seat of the Reformed sovereign before the Lutheran city of Lemgo. Where can we uncover the Reformation spirit of mutual freedom, both in the past and today? We look forward to welcoming guests from schools and communities, from confirmation and seniors groups? There will be presentations, music and activities around the show-truck. And then, in the evening, we will sit down together - hopefully with people from all confessions and all churches in Lippe - to consider what "together in freedom" can mean for us as churches and for the society of today. And then we will celebrate - together.
Luther - from Wartburg into the world"Therefore go and make disciples in all nations…" Matthew 28:19
Martin Luther stopped off in Eisenach on many occasions throughout his life. He lived in the Lutherhaus during his time at school, from 1498 to 1501. And it was at the Wartburg castle that he translated the New Testament. In the Georgenkirche church, Martin Luther sang in the young people's choirs and gave many sermons. His work has shaped the life of the city ever since, and commemorative locations invite you to reflect and take a look at the history of the Reformation. That is why we want to further develop this story-telling power of Eisenach in 2017. The stage is set for oral, written, dramatic and musical presentations. Here we will combine past and present, and the Thuringian homeland with the whole world. We want to show that stories are life companions. The history of the Reformation will always be relevant and even changes the everyday lives of people in many places. Eisenach is no exception.
On 4 May 2017 we will have every reason to celebrate. This is the day, on which Martin Luther came to Wartburg in 1521. With a sacramental church service, we will commemorate his stay in the castle on this evening. We will then welcome the Roadmap show-truck in the market square. Guests from all over the world, from Eisenach's twin cities, from partner communities of the parish, from the ecumenical movement and from the local area are all most welcome.
On 5 May, the Roadmap-mobile will present stories of the Reformation from cities across Europe at the market. Children and young people above all will be asked to tell stories in European solidarity and to listen to others. The day will be rounded off by a music festival in the city.
On 6 May, we will hold a festival in Eisenach. Workshops, music, theatre and, amongst others, a market of opportunities should bring people together.
On 7 May, we invite you to attend an ecumenical church service in St. George's church. Bishop Ilse Junkermann will give a special sermon.
The history of the Reformation is kept alive by people who are affected by every day and who continue to tell its story. Freedom, Forgiveness, God’s mercy and justice are good companions. By celebrating the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 and inviting you to join in, it is almost like a promise. We promise you and everybody celebrating with us that we will continue to be open regarding the history of the Reformation. These are not stories with a beginning and an end.
MarburgMarburg is significant in Reformation history for different reasons. Landgrave Philipp the Magnanimous, who resided in Marburg, was a proponent of this new school of thought from early on. In 1526 he introduced the Reformation across Hessen and a year later founded the world's first Protestant university. 1529 saw the "Marburg Colloquy", held at the invitation of Landgrave Philipp, where, Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli, as well as countless other Reformers, came to an agreement on 14 questions of faith, only the question of the Lord's Supper remaining unresolved. Philipp the Magnanimous also played a big role in the later course of the Reformation (e.g. in the Schmalkaldic League amongst others).
As well as the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck and the Marburg Parish, it is above all the city of Marburg and the Philipp University, the university museum, the state archive, Marburger Tourismus und Marketing GmbH, and countless associations that are the sponsors of projects and events planned for the Reformation anniversary. On the invitation of the city, all organisations have been regularly cooperating for a year at round-table discussions. The events already planned, which are regularly being expanded, can be found at https://www.marburg.de
In the magazine series "Places of the Reformation", an issue was published on Marburg in 2013, its co-publisher being the Marburg Dean Burkhard zur Nieden.
A special activity planned for the Reformation anniversary is the "Tripolis" project that Marburg is conducting together with the Reformation cities of Zurich and Prague. Ultimately, this project will create a link to the old tradition of city leagues, reinstating the cooperative nature of the Marburg Colloquy. "Tripolis" is not intended to be solely a commemoration of the innovations of the past, but above all should be inspire congregations in the present day, a living Reformation.
Herborn as a location of the Reformation
Reformed learning, trans-confessional Bible printing and trailblazing liberalness
Shaped by Caspar Olevian
The High School was set up in Autumn 1584 as an institute of higher education for Reformers under the leadership of Olevian. For almost 250 years, priests, teachers and state authority figures were educated here, including Johann Amos Comenius. The High School was closed in 1817. The Theological Seminary still exists, however: the pastors-in-training of the Evangelical Church in Hessen and Nassau are still prepared for their ministry in Herborn.
Printers for Bibles and the Heidelberg Catechism
Just a year after the founding of the High School, the Corvinian Printers began their operations with a range of printing and translation services: the sermons of Jean Calvin, hymn-books, the psalm translations of Lobwasser and, in particular, the Heidelberg Catechism, often in combination with Luther's Bible.
Herborn Bible "Piscator- Bible"
Amongst the German publications it was the Herborn Bible that was the most successful. This came to be under the leadership of Johann Piscator and first published its work in 1604: the first full Bible translation since Luther, complemented by explanations and commentary. What is notable about the Piscator Bible is also its liberal attitude towards Judaism.
Global universal knowledge
Another important work from Herborn, that documented the entirety of Reformation education, was the large Encyclopaedia of Johann Heinrich Alsted, published in 1630. This dealt with all areas of learning known at that point and was disseminated and valued across the world and across confessions.
Today in Herborn, you will still find the college building of the High School, the parish church where Olevian is buried, the castle, and the premises of the Corvinian printers. The Theological Seminary of the Evangelical Church in Hessen and Nassau owns parts of the High School's library, and the city museum has a permanent exhibition on its history in the college building.
Rüdiger Störkel, City Archivist (retired)
Only a few days after the first sermons by Martin Luther, the Reformation reached Upper Lusatia, after Bohemia and Silesia. Martin Luther never visited these regions but the spiritual movement developed significantly from 1552 to 1563. The Reformers used Polish and, as its usage spread, they taught the people to appreciate their native tongue and to love their native country. That led to a reawakening of a national awareness in the whole of society. Printing shops and schools were founded, and there was a blossoming of publishing and literature. Indeed, it was the educated elite of Polish society that enabled the Reformation to spread.
Wroclaw’s history is unique from both a political and ecclesiastical point of view. For over seven centuries, the city lay outside the borders of Poland, and only started understanding itself as a Polish city after the end of World War II. The history of Protestant faith in Wroclaw is complex and marked by upheavals. Protestantism arrived here very early. In 1523, Rev. Dr. Jan Hess celebrated the first Protestant service in the Church of St Mary Magdalene and, soon after, introduced a new liturgical order on the Wittenberg model. Thanks to support from the city council, most of Wroclaw became Protestant in a short time. Besides the field of doctrine, the Wroclaw Reformation focused particularly on caring for people: through education, medical care and welfare activities.
Many notable Protestants have been closely linked to Wroclaw in past centuries, including Kaspar Schwenkfeld, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rudolf Bultmann and Paul Tillich.
With respect to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation Wroclaw faces the special challenge of presenting Lutheranism and its roots in Silesia. Furthermore, religious life in Wroclaw today is characterised by a unique diversity. The Wroclaw Evangelical Augsburg congregation is in a district seeking to promote mutual respect and enabling unique encounters between different beliefs.
We invite you to Wroclaw on 13 May 2017 in order to celebrate the stopover on the European Roadmap with us here. Several festivities will take place over the whole year. www.wroclaw.luteranie.pl
Zwickau – the second fully reformed city after WittenbergIn the 15th century, Zwickau was a city with an enlightened and humanist City Council. Significant personalities such as the director of the local Latin school, Georgius Agricola, the mayor Erasmus Stühler or even the aldermen Hermann Mühlpfort and Stephan Roth had long been critically opposed to the posturing of the Catholic Church. They all maintained solid, friendly contact with the Reformers around Martin Luther in Wittenberg.
This also led to the Reformer himself recommending his loyal follower Thomas Müntzer as a preacher to replace Egranus of St. Mary's who had requested leave. The young Müntzer was a strict follower of Martin Luther's doctrine and took on the monks of the Franciscan Order in his very first sermon in Zwickau. In the following months, this led to ever greater differences until it was decided to recall Egranus and offer Müntzer the vacant position at St. Katherine's. Yet even this measure could no longer achieve peace. Quite the opposite: the conflict between the preachers of the two churches flared up again and split the population of Zwickau into a moderate and a radical camp. Mayor Stühler defended the young Müntzer. However, after the death of the mayor in April 1521, it was decided to remove Müntzer from his position in the interest of internal order.
The Reformation efforts therefore continued with great success. From 1524, all church services were held in German according to Luther's model. Today, therefore, Zwickau is considered the second city after Wittenberg to fully establish the Reformation.
Even today, 500 years after these upheavals in the church, one can discover the old sites. The priest houses in the cathedral courtyard, Germany's oldest collection, are home to the Museum for City and Cultural History that tells the story of the area. Both city churches, St. Mary's and St. Katherine's, still shape the skyline of the city today. The latter was awarded the European Heritage Label on behalf of many locations of the Reformation. On the inner-city Luther tour, you can retrace the events of yore at historical locations. As part of the Luther Tour of Saxony, Zwickau is a member of a large network of German and Saxon Luther towns.
Luther's ideas for reform as well as the population of the entire region, shaped by humanism, ensured that Central Germany was, and still is, a centre of humanistic, cultural and technical diversity.