Monthly Archives: October 2016

Martin Luther’s Grave

In my post Castle Church Doors I mentioned that I had two pictures on my must take list when I visited Wittenberg, Germany.

Castle Church Wittenberg, Martin Luther, 95 theses, church doors, Mighty FortressThe first was a picture of the doors of the Castle Church where Luther posted his 95 Theses 499 years ago today.

Castle Church, Wittenberg, Germany, Luther, Martin Luther GraveThe second picture I wanted to take was of something inside the church building. Here you can see the interior of the Castle Church. When I arrived a group of musicians was practicing for a concert that they would give later in the afternoon.

Martin Luther Grave, Castle Church, Wittenberg, GermanyAfter their practice was complete I made my way to the pulpit area to take a picture of the grave marker for Martin Luther. He is buried about six feet under the floor here.

The bronze plaque was originally at floor level, but in 1892 was placed on this knee-high sandstone plinth.

A translation of the Latin inscription reads:

Here lies buried the body of Martin Luther, Doctor of Sacred Theology. He died in the year of Christ 1546 on February 18 in his paternal city of Eisleben at the age of 63 years, 2 months, 10 days.

Castle Church Pulpit, Wittenberg, Luthers GraveHere you see the pulpit of the church. The pulpit dates from the late 1800’s so would not have been the pulpit Luther would have preached from.

I could not imagine delivering a sermon or class from a pulpit like this. I would not want to be elevated above the congregation or class.

Martin Luther Grave, Grave Plate, Wittenberg, Germany, Castle ChurchI would have liked this picture much better without the light stand here, but since they were set up for the concert I had to work around the setup.

What I want you to see here is the large bronze plate on the wall. This is a copy of what was to be the grave plate for Martin Luther. The copy was made in 1892 and installed in the Castle Church.

The original grave plate hangs on the wall of the St. Michael Church in Jena, Germany. For more details and to find out why the original is in Jena see Reformation Day II and Notable Jena Gravestones.

Martin Luther, Castle Church, Wittenberg, GermanyIf you look at pictures of the original grave plate in my other posts you will see that this is not an exact copy of the original by Heinrich Ziegler the Younger.

The words around the plaque are in Latin and are translated:

In the year 1546, on February 18, the most honorable Martin Luther, Doctor of Theology, was called home from this fleeting life. Even on his deathbed he firmly testified his teaching to have been the true doctrine necessary to the church (for salvation), and commended his soul to God in faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He died at the age of 63 years after more than 30 years spent in conscientious and successful work for the edification of the people of God in this city. But his body lied buried here. Isaiah 52: ‘How beautiful are the feet of him who publishes peace’

After a little more sightseeing in Wittenberg I returned to the Castle Church to listen to the concert. The concert was given by a group of young people playing music from the Renaissance on instruments modeled after ones that were played during that time period.

I then went to visit the Luther 1517 Panorama. This is a must see if you are planning on visiting Wittenberg in the near future.


Reformation Day V

October 31st is Reformation Day. In Germany it is a public holiday for Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

Our offices in Germany are located in Thuringia, so they will have the day off on Monday.

Castle Church Wittenberg, Martin Luther, 95 theses, church doors, Mighty FortressReformation Day commemorates something that happened 499 years ago at the church building in the picture above.

The church building above is the Wittenberg Castle Church. In the picture you can see people gathered around a door on the side of the church building.

Wittenberg 360, Yadegar Asisi, Luther 1517, ReformationHere is a picture from the Wittenberg 1517 360 degree panorama by Yadegar Asisi that opened last weekend in Wittenberg. See: Wittenberg 360 Luther 1517

In this scene we have Martin Luther explaining his 95 Theses that he had posted on the doors of the Castle Church.

Castle Church Wittenberg, Martin Luther, 95 theses, church doors, Mighty FortressThese are not the wooden doors that Martin Luther posted his theses on, but are hung in the same place. The wooden doors were burned in a fire during the Pomeranian War in 1760. The current doors were hung in 1858.

Castle Church Wittenberg, Martin Luther, 95 theses, church doors, Mighty FortressOne of my plans for Reformation Day is to read the 95 Theses of Martin Luther. I have never read through them all, but do know their general theme.

The posting of the 95 Theses by Martin Luther is thought by many to be the starting point of the Protestant Reformation. It was a defining point in Luther’s life, and was a catalyst to bring together many who were already working toward reforming the Catholic church.

However, what was truly needed was a restoration of the church of the New Testament, not a reformation of an existing institution.

We see this happening in England a century later with the Puritans and the Separatists. The Puritans wanted reform and the Separatists wanted a complete separation and a new beginning.

The Protestant Reformation and the Puritan reforms helped open up the doors for the Restoration Movement in America several centuries later.


See also:

Castle Church Doors For a little more history and more pictures of the doors

Reformation Day – Luther in Eisenach

Reformation Day II – Wartburg and Jena

Reformation Day III – A visit to Wartburg

Reformation Day IV – St. Michael’s in Jena