30 November 2009

Back to Reformation in Wittenberg ...

October ended on this blog with the first extract from Jane's diary of Reformation and Revolution in Wittenberg on the anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses. In the meantime the site of the New York Times is carrying an article - In Wittenberg, cries for new Reformation on date of old one - written from Wittenberg on 31 October 1989 by Serge Schmemann.

It was difficult to imagine what Martin Luther, lying in his tomb under the cold stone floor, might have thought of the throng that packed every medieval inch of the castle church on the anniversary of the day in 1517 when he tacked his 95 theses to the door and so began the Reformation.

That the church was packed on Reformation Day was actually something of a coincidence, although it was briefly noted by the pastor and some participants. It was also Tuesday evening, and for the last three weeks the people of Wittenberg have gathered in the castle church in rapidly growing numbers to take part in the new grass-roots movement for change.

More than 3,000 jammed into the church on this drizzly evening, and an equal number stood on the cobbled court outside to listen on loudspeakers to the demands, announcements and prayers that have become the daily fare of the latest Eastern European land swept up by the winds of change.

Schmemann has written his own book-length account of the collapse of communism here.


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