Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 theses at All Saints' Church of Wittenberg 500 years ago. There, the Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) called for a new “inner freedom” – and Chancellor Merkel acknowledged the significance of the Reformation for modernity.
On Thursday, Germany celebrated 500 years of Reformation: The Year of the anniversary reached its climax and conclusion with a worship service at the historic site of Martin Luther’s posting of the theses and an official ceremony in Wittenberg. German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the value of religious freedom for a modern and open society. The Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in German (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm appealed to the German to show courage and willingness to change. The country needs a “new inner freedom”, he said.
#Reformationstag (Reformation Day) the most used hashtag
Throughout Germany, representatives of the church and the state have commemorated the beginning of the Reformation with the posting of the theses on 31 October 1517 at All Saints' Church in Wittenberg. The religious services were well attended, and #Reformationstag (Reformation Day) was for several hours the most used hashtag on Twitter. In many places, Protestants and Catholics celebrated this historic day as a celebration of Christ under the sign of ecumenism. The Reformation Day was for the first and only time a bank holiday throughout Germany.
Merkel said at the official celebration at the city hall of Wittenberg that wherever religious freedom is threatened, society itself is also harmed. She acknowledged the significance of the Reformation: Luther had set a ball rolling, “which could not be stopped and changed the world for ever”, the Chancellor said. Any democratic order was fundamentally be based on Luther’s understanding of humans, which saw everyone justified simply by the grace of God and has his own dignity, she added.