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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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Myeongcheol Oh (18 months ago)
One of the most important places of Reformation history in Europe.
Astrit Allushi (19 months ago)
Amazing place where Luther nailed his 95 theses! From there started the Reformation and still it's influence is going on!
Ingvar Spencer (2 years ago)
Absolutely fascinating. Excellent museum to be found attached to the church, with some of the best audio visual demonstrations I have seen, by that I mean they are easy to use and in several different languages and capable of being tailored to suit the user (eg magnified if you don't have your glasses :-) ). The Tower is well worth the climb with magnificent views over the city and surrounding countryside. Martin Luther's grave is in this church and this is the church he nailed his famous theses to.
Melvin Diaz (2 years ago)
Visiting this place is definitely a must! Located at the end of the main street of the historical area of Wittenberg, this place is of extreme value not only because at one of his doors Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis, but also because his grave is inside the temple, at the back, under the organ pipes. The entrance is free. Take your time to admire every single detail of this treasure building in terms of architecture. Highly recommend. Ask for a guided tour, it will broaden your experience! Also, you can go up in the tower for 3 €, where you will have great views of the city.
Vivien Chang (2 years ago)
It was amazing to sit in the church that Luther preached. I took photos of every little details so that I could keep this precious memories. Thanks to God for commanding Luther to complete such an important job and bringing real freedoms to all Christians. What's more special is I was blessed to attend an English service at 3pm on Thursday. Praise God!
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