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", [ [] ] as the site where The Ninety-Five Theses were posted by Martin Luther on October 31 1517, [ [] ] [ [] ] the act that has been called the start of the Protestant Reformation. [] ] [ [] ]


All Saints' Church was designed by Conrad Pflüger [] ] and built between 1490 and 1511 at the order of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony [] ] in the Late Gothic style. It is a part of the Electoral "Residenzschloss", also called "Schloss Wittenberg". [] ]

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, [] ] 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. [] ] 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.


Between 1883 and 1892, All Saints' was renovated and restored under the supervision of J. H. F. Adler. [ [] ]

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.


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. [ [] ] [ [] ]

Tombs and artwork

The tombs of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon are located in All Saints' Church. [ [] ] [ [] ] [ [] ] [ [,M1] ] [ [] ] 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." [ [] ] Melanchthon preached at Luther's burial. [ [] ]

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.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • All Saints Church — All Saints Church, or All Saints Church or variations on the name may refer to:Australia*All Saints Church, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory *All Saints Church, Henley Brook, Western AustraliaBarbados*All Saints Chapel of Ease… …   Wikipedia

  • Wittenberg — For other uses, see Wittenberg (disambiguation). Lutherstadt Wittenberg Market square, with ancient town hall, statue of Martin Luther and Stadtkirche …   Wikipedia

  • Wittenberg (City and University) —     Wittenberg     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Wittenberg     The city is in Prussian Saxony and was founded by Albert the Bear (d. 1170). He had conquered the surrounding territory from the Slavs and replaced them by German colonists, especially… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Church History —     Ecclesiastical History     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Ecclesiastical History     I. NATURE AND OFFICE     Ecclesiastical history is the scientific investigation and the methodical description of the temporal development of the Church… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Saxe-Wittenberg — Duchy of Saxe Wittenberg Herzogtum Sachsen Wittenberg State of the Holy Roman Empire ← …   Wikipedia

  • Communion of Saints — Revelation 5:8 presents the saints in heaven as linked by prayer with their fellow Christians on earth. The communion of saints (in Latin, communio sanctorum), when referred to persons, is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian… …   Wikipedia

  • The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church — (LEPC) is a mainline Protestant denomination under the General Conference of Evangelical Protestant Churches (GCEPC). The earliest Lutherans in America came from Dutch, Swedish and German stock.The LEPC is successor to the Evangelical Protestant… …   Wikipedia

  • Greek Church — • Details the history and various divisions of the church Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Greek Church     Greek Church     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Legends of the Saints — • The legenda are stories about the saints, and often include a mix of historical fact and unhistorical embellishments Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Legends of the Saints     Legends of the Saints …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland — Classification Protestant Orientation Lutheranism Polity Epi …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.