The 1983 Luther Anniversary Celebration in Germany

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    The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 51, #1, 1984 - Erwin Weber

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During the Luther Year of 1983, I was invited by the East German Government for three months to participate in the festivities sponsored by the church and state of that country behind the Iron Curtain to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Luther's birth. Luther was born on December 10, 1583.

During my visit, I not only took part in the festivities in such cities as Eisleben, the place of Luther's birth and death; Wittenberg, where Luther lived for 38 years; Halle, the site of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg; and Berlin, where the Reformer was honored by officials of the church and state at the State Opera House in Berlin. I also visited and photographed fifty places significant in Luther's life. They included such places as Muehlhausen, Thomas Muenzer's city; Jueterbog, where Johann Tezel sold indulgences to the people of Wittenberg, 30 miles away; Erfurt, the site of the Augustinian monastery which Luther entered in 1505; Dresden, with its Luther monument in front of the ruins of the Frauenkirche; and Berlin where Weber photographed the exhibit "Art during the time of the Reformation" at the Alte Museum.

My cover photo shows the Market Square in Wittenberg during "Church Day", a day set aside in a number of communities in East Germany to honor the 500th anniversary of Luther's birth. At the left is the city hall, where Cranach was mayor three times, in the center are statues of Luther and Melanchthon; in the background is the City Church, which Luther called his own.