Martin Luther was a “pioneering determine,” says 58-year-old clergywoman Jutta Herbert, pointing to his theology, his concentrate on the Bible, his steadfastness, the emphasis on training. All of this, she tells DW, has had an enormous affect on who she is.
Jutta Herbert encounters the reformer most days. That is hardly shocking: in any case, she is the dean of Germany’s Protestant Protestant church within the south-western area off Worms-Wonnegau.
And town of Worms offers the backdrop for one of many greatest Luther monuments on the earth.
That, too, is not any coincidence as a result of it was in right here in Worms that, 500 years in the past, Luther — who had as a monk lengthy been fiercelycritical of the Catholic church’s leadership in Rome — went head-to-head with Emperor Charles V.
Their showdown in April 1541, would later be seen as one of many decisive steps in what grew to become referred to as the Protestant reformation.
Jubilation for Luther
Three and a half years earlier, Luther had shaken the Christian world when he revealed his well-known Ninety-five Theses in the town of Wittenberg.
Already a widely known determine within the German-speaking world, he met with jubilation as he made his means from Wittenberg to Worms, additional south. Modern sources report that he was accompanied by “a cheering crowd.”
Now, as soon as once more: a celebration within the metropolis of Worms because it marks the five hundredth anniversary and this very particular weekend. Nevertheless, within the treacherous occasions of COVID-19, little stays of a commemorative program had so meticulously been put collectively.
On Friday, a particular digital ceremony was held and attended by way of videolink by Germany’s Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, himself a dedicated Protestant. And on Sunday a church service might be streamed reside from Worms. Additionally, a multimedia present, “The Luther Second,” might be broadcast on German TV from the central market sq., projecting the dramatic occasions of 5 centuries in the past onto a church wall. There’ll, nonetheless, be no reside viewers of hundreds — as had been eagerly anticipated.
Jutta Herbert is dismayed by how issues have turned out. However she hopes that a few of the commemorative occasions and encounters will nonetheless happen later within the 12 months.
The theologian has been based mostly in Worms for many years and is effectively conscious of the good significance of the Eating regimen of Worms: “Even in bizarre years, we’re recurrently approached by teams and people from exterior Germany.” Lots of whom had particularly been wanting ahead to this historic five hundredth anniversary.
A significant exhibition known as “Right here I stand. Conscience and Protest – 1521 to 2021” has been postponed for 3 months and is now set to open its doorways in July.
The motto of the present clearly illustrates what it was all about 500 years in the past. Luther (37) was decided to defend his new theology within the presence of the Catholic Emperor Charles V (21).
Luther, who had been excommunicated by the Church within the spring of 1521 for his theses, insisted that he couldn’t go in opposition to his conscience and recant his views. His precise phrases had been “God assist me, Amen!” Within the days that adopted, Luther went into hiding within the legendary Wartburg fortress in Thuringia.
From right here on, the Reformation — the division between Luther and his supporters on the one facet and the Catholic Church on the opposite — couldn’t be stopped.
Ecumenical influence rising
And now, 500 years on? How profitable is the ecumenical motion that goals to construct bridges between the 2 major branches of the Christian church in right this moment’s Germany?
Taking Worms for instance, the newest figures from March this 12 months present that town has a inhabitants of slightly below 85,000. Of that quantity, 28.3% are Lutheran Protestants, 23.4% are Catholics. Jutta Herbert insists that Worms just isn’t solely a Luther metropolis but additionally a cathedral metropolis. That’s: it’s each Protest and Catholic.
“Right here in Worms, Catholics and Lutherans work very intently collectively,” says Herbert, who speaks of “tried-and-tested cooperation.” By no means earlier than have ecumenical concerns been so central to commemorative occasions marking the historic days of 1521. Among the many audio system throughout the principle ceremony, Frank-Walter Steinmeier can even be joined by the top of Germany’s Lutheran Protestant church, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm alongside the Catholic Bishop of Mainz, Peter Kohlgraf.
On the roots
Jutta Herbert factors out that in the summertime months a noon ecumenical service takes place within the cathedral each Samstag. What’s extra, native charities just like the hospice motion and teams bringing assist to the homeless are coordinated ecumenically between the 2 church buildings.
Herbert is satisfied that grass-roots Christians are completely satisfied to work collectively: “We have made a number of progress. And we must always keep away from focusing an excessive amount of on what divides us.” Sunday will see a particular ecumenical service within the cathedral.
Jutta Herbert’s Catholic counterpart, Dean Tobias Schäfer, believes that town has a selected ecumenical character: “Due to its historical past, town of Worms has an ecumenical obligation,” Schäfer advised DW. He additionally remembers the identical ceremony again in 1971 as being the primary to have an ecumenical character. A particular initiative was launched collectively by Protestants and Catholics,” he reviews: The “Worms Memorandum” known as for Luther’s excommunication to be rescinded. It was despatched as a letter to Pope Paul VI. However simply a short time later, the proposal was dismissed in a agency however pleasant response from a senior cardinal.
Luther within the cathedral
The Catholic clergyman Tobias Schäfer says that since 1971 the ecumenical motion has had a rising influence within the metropolis. Jutta Herbert agrees, noting that, “fifty or sixty years in the past, a picture of Luther within the cathedral would have been unthinkable.” For greater than three a long time now a window within the cathedral’s St. Anne’s Chapel that depicts key episodes within the historical past of Worms has additionally features a depiction of Luther’s look earlier than Charles V. “Prior to now 500 Jahren,” says Jutta Herbert, “loads has occurred.
Particularly, she provides, “within the final fifty.”
This text has been translated from German.
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