Rhineland-Palatinate played a major role in the spread of the Reformation. Worms and Speyer in particular became central to the Reformation.
Worms is considered to be one of the most important Luther cities, since tradition has it that it was here that Martin Luther refused to recant his 95 theses in 1521. He was subsequently placed under imperial ban, which drew great attention to Reformation thinking and won Luther many adherents.
The significant events of the Diet of Speyer eight years later considerably influenced Luther’s Reformation. Five princes and fourteen Imperial Estates lodged a written protest with the Emperor and the Council because they were still being denied religious freedom. Therefore, Speyer is considered the birthplace of Protestantism, which was largely influenced by Martin Luther.
Many other places in Rhineland-Palatinate are worth mentioning in relation to the early period of the Reformation influenced by Martin Luther. Various landgraves, who each exercised influence over their subjects’ denomination, moulded Protestantism. Hence, it was particularly individuals that played a major role in the spread of the new religious persuasion influenced by Martin Luther. First and foremost Franz von Sickingen, who had an impact on this critical period of upheaval in Church history from the renowned Ebernburg Castle – he invited several Lutheran theologians to the famous castle near Bad Münster am Stein, which Ulrich von Hutten called the ‘Inn of Righteousness’ in 1520.
The fact that Rhineland-Palatinate comprised more regions under ecclesiastical rule than the rest of the Holy Roman Empire engendered a distinctive distribution of denominations. A decisive factor in the spread of Martin Luther’s Reformation was the fact that the prince-electors such as Ludwig V made an effort to counterbalance denominational differences.
Learn more about the Reformation Anniversary in Germany
Rhineland-Palatinate duly commemorates the 500 years of Reformation with several high-calibre events: musical events will be just as prevalent as the exciting and contemporary portrayal of Reformation history in various exhibitions.
The series of events will be complemented with religious discussions and presentations for those interested in furthering their knowledge. New hiking and adventure trails will be opened for the Reformation anniversary, enhancing the tourism products in the region.
The Reformation’s 500th anniversary will constitute a major part of this year’s exciting cultural summer programme, from which you can pick the most suitable of several events. The main Reformation service at the Holy Trinity Church in Speyer on 31 October 2017 will certainly be the highlight of the festivities.