Germany: 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

The town of Wittenberg in Germany is at the heart of the Evangelical Church’s celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

The official calendar of the German Evangelical Church (EKD) designates 31st October 1517 as the symbolic start of the Lutheran Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses rejecting the Catholic practice of selling indulgences on the doors of Wittenberg Cathedral. In the run-up to the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, various celebratory events will take place.

A grand ceremony is planned in Berlin for October 31st 2017, while on 20th May 2017 an “International Exhibition of the Reform” is set to be unveiled in Wittenberg, which will showcase the results of the Reform in other regions and Churches across the world, as well as in culture and society at large.

A youth camp will also be set up, so that young people may express what they understand and feel about the Reform through music, cinema, worship, prayer, and the sharing of experiences. From May 24th – 28th, the traditional biennial meeting of the “Kirchentag” (the German Protestant Church Assembly) will be held in Berlin, Wittenberg, and eight other German cities simultaneously: it will be a “travelling Kirchentag”, culminating with a final event in Wittenberg on May 28th.

The EKD, which has been preparing for this anniversary with a process of reflection since 2008, has formed a network of 69 Reformation cities in Germany and Europe – places that are important to the history or the legacy of Protestantism today. The celebrations will come to a grand finale nationally and internationally on 31st October 2017, with a number of public ceremonies planned. The ecumenical calendar of events for the Anniversary offers a wealth of celebrations too.

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