From Wittenberg into the World: 500 Years of Reformation

Today, on 31 October 2017, people all over the world are remembering the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Leading figures from churches, politics and society are meeting in Wittenberg for a service of worship, followed by a state ceremony, to mark the climax and conclusion of the 2017 anniversary of the Reformation. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), underlines:

“A spiritual renewal went out from Wittenberg, to people in Germany, Europe and worldwide. To men and women from all social classes. That is why, for me, the 500th anniversary is a day to give thanks. Thanks for the impetus for religious renewal that stemmed from the Reformation and has proved effective up to the present day. We give thanks that the conflicts and wars between the confessions in the past have now become a continuing process of reconciliation, understanding and friendship. It is my hope that this process may also send a message to a world threatened by conflicts and divisions. On this Reformation Day I pray that God will give us the strength to continue on this path, endowing each one of us with what is most important for the church of the future - the ability to reach out to others with the love of which we speak.”

Reformation Day also marks the conclusion of the anniversary year launched last October all over Europe. Since then, in thousands of events with millions of participants, the quincentenary of the Reformation has become a mega-event celebrated in Germany and worldwide. Highlights that gained international attention included the German Protestant Kirchentag in Berlin/Wittenberg, attended by former President Barack Obama. A European Reformation Roadmap linked up 68 cities (way-stations) in 19 countries. Other features were the moving ecumenical service of penitence and reconciliation in St. Michael’s Church, Hildesheim, and the joint visit by the EKD Council and Cardinal Marx to Pope Francis in Rome.

Hanover/Wittenberg, 31 October 2017

EKD Press Office
Carsten Splitt