Thursday, January 26, 2017

3. Great Churches Castle Church, Wittenberg, Germany

The Castle Church was begun in 1490 and completed in 1509.  Only years later did Martin Luther post his 95 Theses on the church’s door attacking the corrupt sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church.  He posted the Theses in Latin intending to start an academic debate.  They were quickly translated into German and the newly invented movable type printing press spread the message over Germany becoming one of the major sparks for reformation. 

Luther usually preached in another church, but his funeral was held February 22, 1546 and he was buried in Castle Church.  His grave is near the choir loft.

Sadly, the original doors on which Luther posted his Theses burned in the 1706 fire when the French bombarded the city in the Seven-Year War. Today the doors are bronzed and bare the Latin text of the 95 Theses. 

As you go in the foyer there is a painting of Luther and Melanchthon kneeling before the crucifixion of Christ against the back drop of Wittenberg. Luther is holding a German Bible and Melanchthon is holding the Augsburg Confession of Faith.

Printed around the prominent round tower of the church is the title of Luther’s famous hymn, “A Might Fortress Is Our God.” 

The nave is decorated with bronze medallions of reformation and free standing statues of Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and several other German reformers. 

I have not visited this church yet but will be there on the 500th anniversary of the reformation, October 31, 2017. I pray for the boldness of Martin Luther.

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