500th anniversary of the Reformation


Five hundred years ago, on 31 October 1517, legend has it that theology professor Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.
The posting of these theses in Wittenberg marks the beginning of the Reformation.

On 31 October 2017 it will be 500 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses. Looking towards this anniversary, the launch of the Luther Decade was celebrated in 2008. The Protestant Church in Germany (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland - EKD) and state institutions are cooperating in planning and organising the Decade.

The Reformation is a crucial event in world history which has had an impact across all continents. The great Reformers Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Calvin, and others are among the prime sources of ideas in religious and intellectual history who also had a political impact.

The Luther Decade covers the broad range of topics relating to the Reformation in so-called “theme years”. In part, these are linked to historic anniversaries. For instance, the motto for 2010 was “Reformation and Education”, commemorating the 450th anniversary of the death of Melanchthon, the “Praeceptor Germaniae”, or “teacher of Germany”. However, the Decade also aims to pick up impulses from the Reformation which are felt right up to the present day.

The start of the actual Reformation anniversary year 2017 was marked in Berlin on 31 October 2016 with a service and a special ceremony.

Throughout the course of the year the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (Protestant Church in Germany) is planning a large number of major events, including:.

  • 12 April to 5 November 2017: National special exhibition “The Luther Effect. Protestantism 500 Years in the World” at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin

  • 4 May to 5 November 2017: National special exhibition “Luther and the Germans” at the Wartburg near Eisenach

  • 13 May to 5 November 2017: National special exhibition “Luther! 95 Treasures 95 People” at the Augusteum in Wittenberg

  • 20 May to 10 September 2017: World Reformation exhibition “Gates of Freedom” in Wittenberg

  • 24 to 28 May 2017: 36th Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag in Berlin and Wittenberg with more than 100,000 participants

  • 31 October 2017: 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation. This day will, exceptionally, be a public holiday for the whole of Germany.

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