All Saints' Church, commonly referred to as Schlosskirche (Castle Church) is the site where the Ninety-five Theses were likely posted by Martin Luther in 1517, the act that has been called the start of the Protestant Reformation. From 1883 onwards, the church was restored as a memorial site.
A first chapel dedicated All Saints was erected at the new residence of the Ascanian duke Rudolf I of Saxe-Wittenberg from about 1340. Frederick III the Wise, elector of Saxony from 1486, rebuilt the former Ascanian fortress and a new All Saints' Church was designed by the architect Conrad Pflüger and erected between 1490 and 1511 in the Late Gothic style. Consecrated in 1503, it became part of Frederick's electoral castle or Residenzschloss. Several notable epitaphs are preserved up to today.
The main portal was often used by the university staff to pin up messages and notices; it is generally believed that on 31 October 1517 Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the doors of the church. This act, meant to promote a disputation on the sale of indulgences, is commonly viewed to be a catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. If the event has actually taken place or not, however, could not be conclusively established. Nevertheless, Luther sent his objections in a letter to Archbishop Albert of Mainz on the same day.
Frederick the Wise died in 1525 and was buried in the Castle Church. In the same year, the Lutheran rite was implemented. The church became the burial site of Martin Luther himself in 1546, and of Philipp Melanchthon in 1560.
When during the Seven Years' War the Wittenberg fortress was occupied by the Prussian Army and shelled by Imperial forces in 1760, the Castle Church was destroyed by a fire resulting from the bombardment. The blaze left only half of the foundation standing, and none of the wooden portals survived. All Saints' was soon rebuilt, albeit without many priceless works of art that were lost forever.
Today, All Saints' Church serves not only as a place of worship, but it also houses the town's historical archives, is home to the Riemer-Museum, and a youth hostel. In view of the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther's Theses, the building has again undergone extensive renovation.
The tombs of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon are located the church. Luther's casket is buried near the pulpit, some 2.4 metres below the floor of the nave.
The church holds life-sized statues made from alabaster of Frederick III and his brother Elector John of Saxony, and several bronze sculptures, also of Frederick III and of John which are done by Peter Vischer the Younger and Hans Vischer. The church has many paintings done by both Lucas Cranach the Younger and Lucas Cranach the Elder.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.