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Luther 2017 - 500 years since the Reformation

The Roman Catholic Church of the late Middle Ages was a powerful force and amassed vast quantities of land and wealth. The early reformers Jan Hus and John Wycliffe criticised its increasingly secular nature and the lack of piety shown by numerous monks, priests and bishops, paving the way for men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli.

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses denouncing the sale of indulgences to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church. Widely regarded as the start of the Reformation, his actions changed the course of history - and their 500th anniversary falls in 2017. Over the next few years, lectures, exhibitions, festivals and concerts will help set the scene for the celebrations to come. The opening ceremony for the "Luther decade" takes place in Wittenberg on 20 September 2008.