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.

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Details

Founded: 1490-1511
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

David Zhang (11 months ago)
Good place to know the church history.
Illia Wen (2 years ago)
Beautiful church in a cute little town. This is the church that is supposedly where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on a church door. FYI the original church door was burned down during the Sevens’ Year War, but later the Prussian emperor commissioned building a new door in honor of Martin Luther. Historical information is listed on little stands throughout the town.
Amanda Childs (2 years ago)
It was a little confusing on where the entrance was, but I am glad we found it! Amazing church to sit in and look around. We also went to the top of the tower. It was almost 300 steps but not too bad. There are a few levels you can stop and rest on.
family in Berlin (2 years ago)
This is probably the most important historical site for Protestant /non Roman catholic Christians. I was pretty surprised that it wasn't busy at all as we went in the middle of the European/German school holidays. It was free to visit and there was a lady doing tours in German whilst we were there. I really appreciated that they also paid homage to the other protestant reformers from around Europe, such as John Knox from Scotland and there was a Stained glass window with these people depicted on it. I would highly recommend a visit. If you are arriving by train from Berlin or one of Germany's other big cities, then please be aware that the church is at the other end of the town. We walked there.
Nick Dyer (2 years ago)
Not only is it a historic church, but it feels historic. Don’t come on Mondays in the off season though as most other attractions are closed. That said, Monday is a great time to visit because we had the church all to ourselves. It was nice for it to be that peaceful.
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