All Saints' Church, Wittenberg


All Saints' Church, Wittenberg

All Saints' Church, commonly referred to as Schlosskirche, meaning "Castle Church" — to distinguish it from the "town church", the "Stadtkirche" of St. Mary — and sometimes known as the Reformation Memorial Church, is a Lutheran church in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany. It has been called "the most famous building in Wittenberg", [ [http://encarta.msn.com/media_121619608/Castle_Church_Wittenberg.html Encarta.msn.com] ] as the site where The Ninety-Five Theses were posted by Martin Luther on October 31 1517, [ [http://www.castlechurch.org/ CastleChurch.org] ] [ [http://www.alard-von-rohr.com/switzerland/Reformation_Tour.pdf Alard-von-Rohr.com] ] the act that has been called the start of the Protestant Reformation. [http://www.reformationtours.com/site/490868/page/193157 ReformationTours.com] ] [ [http://www.uni-duisburg.de/Institute/CollCart/es/sem/s6/page03a.htm Uni-Duisburg.de] ]

History

All Saints' Church was designed by Conrad Pflüger [http://www.planetware.com/wittenberg/all-saints-castle-church-d-sa-witsck.htm PlanetWare.com] ] and built between 1490 and 1511 at the order of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony [http://www.lutheranwomantoday.org/featuredArticles/1107article4.html LutheranWomanToday.org] ] in the Late Gothic style. It is a part of the Electoral "Residenzschloss", also called "Schloss Wittenberg". [http://www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/wittenberg-schlosskirche.htm Sacred-Destinations.com] ]

After the foundation of the University of Wittenberg in 1502, the All Saints' was annexed to serve as a chapel to the University, and it quickly evolved into an important academic and worship center. Students were awarded their doctorates there, and Philipp Melanchthon made his famous inaugural speech at the church. A tradition of burying academic dignitaries of the university at the church developed.

Tilman Riemenschneider, Jacopo de' Barbari and Albrecht Dürer contributed to the construction of the castle and then the church.

95 Theses

On October 31 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the doors of All Saints' Church, which is commonly viewed to be the beginning, or at least the spark which led to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation (contested by some).

even Years War

In 1760, during the Seven Years War, more specifically the Pomeranian War, the church was all but destroyed by a fire resulting from bombardment. During this fire, which all but ruined the church and left only half of the foundation standing, [http://unterkunft.wittenberg.de/e/seiten/virtuell/vir_sf01.html Unterkunft.Wittenberg.de] ] the wooden doors on which Martin Luther had posted the Theses were also destroyed. All Saints' was soon rebuilt. Many of the priceless works of art which had been located in the church were destroyed forever.

Commemorative doors

In 1858, at the order of Frederick William IV of Prussia, commemorative bronze doors were mounted where the original wooden ones had been located. [http://www.anhalt-wittenberg.de/Architektur/e3.htm Anhalt-Wittenberg.de] ] On the doors the 95 Theses appear in their original Latin form. The doors themselves weigh convert|2200|lb|kg|-1.

On November 10 1858, exactly 375 years after the day of birth of Martin Luther, the new doors were commemorated at a formal ceremony.

Above the doors is a painting which portrays Luther on the right with a German Bible, and Philipp Melanchthon on the left, with the Augsburg Confession, the main confession of faith in the Lutheran Church which was formed by Luther and Melanchthon,.

These doors are among the most photographed in Europe.

Renovation

Between 1883 and 1892, All Saints' was renovated and restored under the supervision of J. H. F. Adler. [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15678b.htm NewAdvent.org] ]

On October 31 1892, 375 years after Luther posted his 95 Theses on the doors of the church, All Saints' was re-inaugurated.

New windows

In 1983, 500 years after the birth of Luther, 12 new windows were installed in All Saints'. These honored the most important Reformation students of Luther, and were created by Renate Brömme in a "timeless" style at the order of the Lutheran World Federation.

All Saints' today

Today, All Saints' Church serves not only as a place of worship, but it also houses the town's historical archives, is home to the Riemer-Museum, and a youth hostel.

Tower

All Saints' is also known for its convert|88|m|ft|0|sing=on-tall steeple, from which one can obtain a good view of the city of Wittenberg and the surrounding countryside. A quote, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" (English: "A mighty fortress is our God"), from one of Luther's hymns, encircles the tower. [ [http://www.chapel.duke.edu/worship/sunday/viewsermon.aspx?id=52 Chapel.Duke.edu] ] [ [http://www.tac-bsa.org/worship_services.pdf TAC-BSA.org] ]

Tombs and artwork

The tombs of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon are located in All Saints' Church. [ [http://helios.augustana.edu/~ew/slide-collection.html Helios.Augustana.edu] ] [ [http://christianity.about.com/od/lutherandenomination/a/martinlutherbio_2.htm Christianity.About.com] ] [ [http://www.ourredeemerlcms.org/beggars.htm OurRedeermLCMS.org] ] [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=CBqyFy46I-EC&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=burial+of+martin+luther+astle+church&source=web&ots=c17q8F4DFp&sig=WEaHEdvD199_1Ww-wJu4nyDJEwM#PPA32,M1 Books.Google.com] ] [ [http://www.signaturetoursinternational.com/gp-3.php SignatureToursInternational.com] ] On Luther's tomb, located beneath the pulpit, is enscribed "Here is buried the body of the Doctor of Sacred Theology, Martin Luther, who died in the year of Christ 1546, on February 18th, in his hometown Eisleben, after having lived for 63 years, 2 months, and 10 days." [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=cdM3qHlNeb4C&pg=PA205&lpg=PA205&dq=burial+of+martin+luther+castle+church&source=web&ots=8Kjdp8WNbv&sig=EYgqgqcSgLOezBC0wlY-Kjq9RwE Books.Google.com] ] Melanchthon preached at Luther's burial. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=rvz4JAI9fmUC&pg=PA183&lpg=PA183&dq=burial+of+martin+luther+astle+church&source=web&ots=WPPiyWQNo4&sig=Gvp5nU_wsLAHKTswQzFl7_KXa9o Books.Google.com] ]

Also, there are life-sized statues made from alabaster of Frederick III and another prince-elector of Saxony, John, Elector of Saxony. There are also several bronze sculptures, also of Frederick III and John, Elector of Saxony, which are done by Peter Vischer the Younger and Hans Vischer. In addition, the church has many paintings done by both Lucas Cranach the Younger and Lucas Cranach the Elder.

References


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