In Wittenberg

In the German city of Wittenberg still stands the church and the tower of the Palace Church, once the center of religious activities, because of Dr. Martin Luther. Prince Frederic III (called “the Wise”) put it at his disposal to become a bulwark of the Reformation.

Luther can be seen on a painting made by Cranach, during his lifetime. The Prince is represented by a small statue of marble, kneeling and praying, in a corner of the church.

A lot of restoration work has been done, but everything quickly becomes dirty again by the smoke of factories around the city.

The interior of the church is freshly painted. Many tourists are expected again, though the number has diminished since the Lutheran Churches in several countries have adopted modernist ideas; some do not even recognize the principles anymore on which the Lutheran Churches were founded. However at the Lord’s Day in Wittenberg the churches are still chock-a-block.

Old documents state that the city started in 1130 and received the rights of a city from Arch-Duke Albrecht II in 1293. His family remained in power over Wittenberg and surroundings (region of Sachsen) until 1422. Then came the Wettines, to which family Prince Frederic III belonged, who protected Dr. Martin Luther.

He gave Luther the former monastery, when Luther married Katherina von Bora, in the center of the city, close to the entrance of the university, which is now dirty and neglected.

The name of the street is “Die Collegienstrasse.” At number 54 you still find the so-called “Augusteum,” a theological training school, built in 1564, next to a small back entrance to Luther’s house.

At number 60 stands the house of Melanchthon. He and Luther used the same pump for the water supply of their families (Luther had six children. His wife looked after the garden, the cattle, and the kitchen).

Opposite number 62 you find “das Neue Collegium”, built in 1511, a dormitory for students of the university. Above the entrance the “Luther-rose” (a white flower on a blue background, red heart with black cross in the middle).

At number 81 lived Luther’s physician, Augustin Schurff.

Next to it is a narrow alleyway to the big City Church of Wittenberg, where Luther also preached. In the house where Luther, his family and several friends lived, has been made a Museum, that shows the whole history of the Reformation (opened in 1883). There are 15,000 old drawings and 12,000 engravings, 8,000 manuscripts, a collection of 1,600 old coins, and 150 original paintings.