Photo: Regio Augsburg Tourismus GmbHSt. Ulrich churches in AugsburgAugsburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany and is the third largest city in Bavaria after Munich and Nuremberg. The city flourished during the Reformation and Renaissance. It was in Augsburg that individuals formulated ideas, presented documents, and arrived at decisions for the Imperial Diet. These events had and continue to have a profound significance not only in a religious context but also in terms of culture and history.
Martin Luther visited Augsburg twice: in 1511 while returning to Wittenberg from a pilgrimage to Rome, and again in 1518, when he was interrogated by Cardinal Cajetan about his new doctrine. During this hearing, Luther remained steadfast in his convictions and for the first time declared explicitly that the Bible must be the ultimate ecclesiastical authority. Luther maintained that only the word of God is the source of real truth and freedom.
"Confessio Augustana" - confession of worldwide significance
Foto: Regio Augsburg Tourismus GmbHCathedral and town hall of Augsburg at nightAugsburg’s importance grew with the spread of the Reformation: in 1530, the “Augsburg Confession” (“Confessio Augustana”) was officially presented to the emperor and imperial court. Today, this document continues to provide the doctrinal basis for 59 Protestant and Lutheran churches that have approximately 70 million members worldwide. A significant consequence of these events is that the name of Augsburg is known throughout the entire Christian community.
In 1555, the Peace of Augsburg (“Augsburger Religionsfrieden”) was signed. This was the first attempt to manage the relationship between the two confessions in the empire in order to ensure a degree of equality – although this was in fact limited. It was only with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 that true “parity” was achieved between the two major denominations. Augsburg’s “Distinguished Festival for Religious Peace” (“Augsburger Hohes Friendensfest”) takes place on the 8th of August each year and commemorates the beginning and end of religious oppression. It has been an official holiday since 1950 and is celebrated today in ecumenical fellowship.