Thursday, March 9, 2017

Celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

Wittenberg is the scene where Luther posted his "95 Theses"
CHARLOTTE, NC When Martin Luther knocked on your door in the 16th century, he had a lot to say. Now five hundred years later, we celebrate the efforts of a man who changed the course of history in what became known as the Protestant Reformation. This year marks the anniversary of five centuries since Luther is said to have posted his "95 Theses" on the doors of All Saints' Church and other churches in Wittenberg, Germany.
All Saints Church, Wittenberg

Luther's protest primarily centered around the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church which could purchased for the forgiveness of sins by wealthy patrons or by anyone who could afford the tariffs.

Three years later, Luther refused Pope Leo X's request to renounce all of his writings. Thus, at the Diet of Worms in 1521 Luther was excommunicated by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and condemned as an outlaw.

In celebration of this turning point in Western religion, Magellan Travel Club is offering an 8-day tour to Wittenburg, Berlin and Dresden beginning October 8, to walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther.
Portrait of Martin Luther

Luther was more than a reformer, however. When Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press with moveable type about 70 years before Luther made his protest in Wittenberg, the combination of the two events created a "perfect storm" for the Protestant Reformation to get enough traction to change the world forever.

Luther translated the Bible into the vernacular rather than Latin, making it more accessible to the common man. In a sense, illiteracy virtually vanished overnight and the impact on the people, the church and the culture of Germany, was phenomenal.
The palace and grounds of Sans Soucci in Potsdam  (wikipedia)
The urban legend surrounding Luther is that he nailed his protest on the door of All Saints Church, but several scholars dispute that story. Whether he did or whether he didn't, Luther's legacy has woven itself into the fabric of mainstream history. Take the tour and decide for yourself.

Not that Martin Luther was totally pure of mind. He did possess strong anti-Semitic ideas writing that Jewish homes and synagogues should be destroyed, their money confiscated and liberty curtailed.
Symbol of German freedom, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
Within a matter of months, word of Luther's controversial writings had circulated across England, France and Italy. By early 1519, thousands of students were arriving in Wittenberg to hear Luther speak.

In an odd way, understanding the world of Martin Luther in the 16th century, also brings into focus a bit more  relevance of Christianity to Islam.
Gateway to Dresden
In the Footsteps of Martin Luther is an 8-day tour featuring 9-meals (6 breakfasts, 3 dinners). Included tours are walking tours of Berlin, Wittenberg, Dresden and Eisleben with a professional local guide. There is also a sightseeing cruise on the River Elbe, a visit to Sans Soucci Palace and Gardens in Pottsdam as well as a stop at the Luther House Museum and churches of his baptism and final sermons.

Price, including air from Charlotte, NC is $3,599 per person/double occupancy.  There is a single supplement of $349.
The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, but part remain as a
permanent reminder  (wikipedia)
In 1517, Martin Luther changed the world of Western religion forever. Now you can walk in his footsteps just as he did a half-millennium ago to witness historic landmarks and relive this important time in world history.