Changes to the Church in Wittenburg

Changes Luther, Karlstadt and other reformers made to the churcg in Wittenburg. NB this also applies to the changes made in other towns. The only reason for Wittenburg being mentioned above others is that it was the first one to change.

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  • Created by: Tiula
  • Created on: 15-04-11 10:55

Why couldn't Luther implement the changes in Witte

Luther had set the seeds for Reformation in Wittenburg 1517-21. However, he could not implement his ideas throughout 1521 because after the Diet of Worms, he was being held by Frederick of Saxony in Wartburg Castle for his own safety.

Therefore it was left for others, the primary reformer being Andreas Karlstadt, a professor at the University of Wittenburg, a colleague of Luther.

Others included Zwilling, an Augustinian along with Luther, and Philip Melanchthon, a close friend of Luther's and a humanist.

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25 December 1521: Karlstadt invited citizens to celebrate Mass in the new style.

  • he wore plain clothes instead of vestments
  • omitted reference to the "sacrifice of the Mass"
  • in German, not Latin
  • offered the congregation both the bread and the wine
  • allowed them to take the hosts in their hands (instead of the Catholic method of placing it on their tongues. This symbolised that he thought it was not Christ's body)

Augustinians began to abandon their monestry in Wittenburg, later Erfurt and then elsewhere too.

26 December 1521: middle-aged Karlstadt got engaged to a fifteen year old girl.

19 January 1522: Karlstadt and his fiancee got married

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The Zwickau Prophets

Karlstadt was much more radical than Luther, and his reforms began to attract many more radicals to Wittenburg, including the Zwickau Prophets.

The arrived in Wittenburg in December 1521 and were led by Nicholas Storch. They had been originated in Zwickau by the radical and revolutionary Thomas Muntzer, who demanded a replacement of all the authorities.

Luther and Mutzer were very much at odds, and would become even more so during the Peasant's war. But in 1521-2, the Zwickau Prophets, Karlstadt and Zwilling began to incite the people to bouts of iconoclasm (smashing and destroying pictures, images and icons in churches).

Luther, though he was against the veneration of images, was a pacifist, and it was this that eventually encouraged him to leave his self-induced exile and returned to Wittenburg in March 1522.

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