St. Mary's Church, the parish church in which Luther often preached, was built in the 13th century, but has been much altered since Luther's time. The reformers Martin Luther and Johannes Bugenhagen preached there and the building also saw the first celebration of the mass in German rather than Latin and the first ever distribution of the bread and wine to the congregation - it is thus considered the mother church of the Protestant Reformation.

The first mention of the church dates to 1187. Originally a wooden church, in 1280 the present chancel and the chancel's south aisle were built. Between 1412 and 1439 the nave was replaced by the present three-aisle structure and the two towers built, originally crowned by stone pyramids. In 1522, in the wake of the iconoclasm begun by Andreas Bodenstein, almost the whole interior decoration was demolished and removed, leaving the still-surviving High Medieval Judensau on the exterior of the south wall. On his return to Wittenberg from the Wartburg, Luther preached his famous invocavit sermons in the Stadtkirche. In 1547, during the Schmalkaldic War, the towers' stone pyramids were removed to make platforms for cannon. Despite the war, an altarpiece by Lucas Cranach the Elder was unveiled in the church. In 1556 the platforms were replaced by the surviving octagonal caps, a clock and a clock-keeper's dwelling. This was followed by an extension of the east end and the overlying 'Ordinandenstube'. In 1811 the interior of the church was redesigned to a Neo-Gothic scheme by Carlo Ignazio Pozzi. The church was fully restored in 1928 and 1980-1983.

Since 1996 it has been a World Heritage Site together with other Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg.

St. Mary's Church contains a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, representing the Last Supper (with the faces of Luther and other reformers), Baptism and Confession, also a font by Hermann Vischer the Elder (1457). In addition, there are numerous historic paintings in the church.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Myeongcheol Oh (5 months ago)
One of the famous painting places by Lucas Cranach the Elder who Martin Luther’s close friend.
Neil Cadwallader (7 months ago)
A good spot to stop by.
On A Cloud (17 months ago)
The presence of history is almost palpable in this place. Beautiful architecture and a must-see in Wittenberg. Everyone focuses on the Castle Church but this is a true gem. Sadly I was not here during the Christmas market.
Frank Koine (2 years ago)
Love it. Lots of history and spirit. A spiritual pilgrimage every Christian should make if you can afford to.
André Scultori (3 years ago)
Luther placed his 95 Thesis in the All Saint's Church, but it was here that he preached and spread them. Its atmosphere is evident when you go in.
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