Luther’s reformation had impact on Crailsheim
CRAILSHEIM, Germany — A German professor of theology and priest, Martin Luther was living in Wittenberg, Germany when he composed his 95 theses protesting certain teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic church. Luther, who had translated the Bible from Latin into German so it could be shared with ordinary Christians, had hoped his theses would lead to a renewal within the church, but instead it sparked a reformation.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of Luther’s presentation of the theses and start of the protestant reformation. The anniversary is being marked in 62 cities, including Crailsheim, in 13 European countries.
Crailsheim’s oldest church, St. Johanneskirche or St. John the Baptist, was constructed as a Catholic church in 1398 (completed in 1440). Its transition to a protestant church came about 80 years later — in 1522 — when its ordained catholic priest, Adam Weiss, began delivering his sermons in German.
To mark Crailsheim’s impact by the reformation, an artist in the city was hired to complete sculptures to help tell the story. A sculpture tour was one of the activities offered for visiting guests from Worthington in late July, during the 70th anniversary celebration of the sister city partnership.
The 12 themed stations of the reformation are located throughout Crailsheim’s inner city. They signify: Reformation and Confession, Reformation in Crailsheim, Reformation and Art, Reformation and Education, Reformation between Freedom and Sovereignty, Religion Wars, Change of Burial Culture, Reformation and Tolerance, Reformation and the Poor, Reformation and Migration, Reformation and Jews, and Reformation and Democracy
The Reformation and Education sculpture, placed near a school, represents the importance of knowledge. It depicts the Lord’s Prayer in German and Latin to show that Luther’s translation of the Bible brought the word to all people, including women and children.
The Reformation and Confession sculpture is located just outside the entrance to St. Johanneskirche. The four-sided sandstone marker tells of the truths of the Bible — Jesus Christ, scripture, faith and belief. The sculpture is also split down the middle, signifying the split from the Catholic church. Luther had never wanted the church to split — his goal was to make the church better.
Up until 1540, there was still much debate over Luther’s theses, and those battles grew more fierce. Despite a shift toward tolerance by 1555, a 30-year war was sparked in 1618 over religious power and influence.
It wasn’t until 300 years later that Catholicism began to rebound in Germany, and the country is comprised of a mix of Catholic and Protestant churches today.