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 Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.
In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.
The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.
The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.
The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).
Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.
Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.
The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.