To be in Wittenberg for the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the nailing of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was truly a dream come true.
In order to make spend this special day to the fullest, we left our AirBnb early in the morning. An English service was being held at Schloßkirche at 8am and since Stephanie hadn’t yet seen the church, we decided to attend.
We arrived shortly after 7:30am and things were already PACKED. High security measures were being taken because of the large gathering as well as the anticipated attendance of political figures such as Chancellor Merkel for the afternoon services.
Schloßkirche seemed at capacity when we arrived, but the ushers actually led us all the way to the front to sit in the choir chairs. Actually, we got to sit in the ancient chairs of the knights and ruling lords who would attend services there. It was super cool!
The service was very different from what I’m used to. For one, there was considerably more congregational participation. A stalwart aspect of Luther’s ideology in how worship services should be conducted, it was definitely highlighted in the program through readings, written prayers, and songs. I had never heard a chanted Psalm before, so that was pretty special.
The sermon was quite thought provoking. I’ll share my opinions about it in a future post.
To end the service, everyone joined together to sing (what else?) Ein Feste Burg. What a special moment to be singing this powerful hymn on this special day in the church that “started it all.”
Once the service had finished, we were encouraged to leave quickly in order for the staff to prepare for the 10am German-language service. This time we did get to walk through the Theses Door, which was very cool.
After leaving the church, we made our way to the other side of the village for breakfast and then to a special 360-degree panorama art installation by Yadegar Asisi. The work is enclosed in an enormous cylindrical building attached to a smaller building with an introductory exhibit that leads to the installation.
The panorama was at least two stories tall, and featured the village of Wittenberg as Luther would have known it. It looked like a combination of painting, photoshop, and some other medium I can’t quite name.
Lights and sounds were used to enhance the experience and make the viewer almost feel as if they were there in the early 1500s.
We then returned to the Lutherhaus so Stephanie could enjoy all the wonderful artifacts and history that we saw on Sunday.
Right next door is the Melanchthonhaus, where Luther’s friend and colleague, Philipp Melanchthon used to live. This house wasn’t as crowded and seemed to have a better flow of foot traffic than Lutherhaus. The entire exhibit was more engaging, interactive, and appeared to be geared towards children.
Mommy, who had always liked to read and learn about Melanchthon, was surprised to discover that he was only 1.5 meters tall–just about her height!
Afterwards, we popped into Stadtkirche, or St. Marien’s Church. The sanctuary is enormous! Much larger than Schloßkirche, though not necessarily as detailed. This was the church that Luther worked, preached, and was married in. So much history everywhere!
We decided to dine at the Wittenberger Kartoffelhaus and enjoy as traditional of a German meal one can have being vegetarian. Fried potatoes and eggs, yes!
The rest of the evening was spent wandering around the festival. Theater performances, booths, and music were everywhere! Many people were dressed in period costumes, which made me wish I had something special to wear. Should have gone to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year… oh well…
Overall, the day was special, festive, and thought provoking.
I’m so glad that Mommy, Stephanie, and I were able to be in Wittenberg on this high day of celebration. I’m incredibly thankful for our AirBnb hosts that made it possible for us to visit this wonderful place and who were so kind and accommodating to us.
Until the next adventure–Auf Wiedersehen!