Reformers Heinrich Bullinger, Girolamo Zanchi, John Knox, Huldrych Zwingli, Martir (?), Martin Bucer, Matthew Parker, William Perkins, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, Theodore de Bèze (Beza) and John Wyclif; early 17th century
Reformers Heinrich Bullinger, Girolamo Zanchi, John Knox, Huldrych Zwingli, Martir (?), Martin Bucer, Matthew Parker, William Perkins, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, Theodore de Bèze (Beza) and John Wyclif; early 17th century

500 Years Reformation

When Martin Luther – according to tradition 500 years ago – nailed his 95 theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the Wittenberg Castle Church, the profound changes that reformation would entail for state and church, education and science, culture and society were unforeseeable.

The reformation was crucial for the development of Modern Age all over Europe and its consequences are palpable to these days. Not only spiritual life underwent a radical change, people at the time started to break with Church and State. One reason was printing – an early media revolution that allowed to distribute the reformers’ theses on a large scale on pamphlets illustrated by pictures and woodcuts. Along with the Bible translation and a general alphabetisation knowledge became accessible to wide parts of the population. But the reformation was also the beginning of numerous clerical and political conflicts that toppled Europe for nearly a century into denominational wars that destroyed large areas of the countries. These conflicts were put to an end only by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

The ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) participated with several projects at the reformation jubilee. The participants of the Visitors' Programme of the Federal Republic of Germany considered aspects of religion and tolerance in Germany. Besides church-based institutions they visited exhibitions in Berlin, Wittenberg and Eisenach and under the heading religious pluralism talked to experts about religious education, cultural politics, the dialogue of religions and chances and challenges for a global ecumenism. Sebastian Blottner reports on the tour.

Experts from church and science lectured on behalf of the lecture programme of the German Federal Government the history and the impacts of reformation on culture and politics in Europe.