Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1517 : Martin Luther posts 95 theses

On this day in 1517, the priest and scholar Martin Luther approaches
the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nails a
piece of paper to it containing the 95 revolutionary opinions that
would begin the Protestant Reformation.

In his theses, Luther condemned the excesses and corruption of the
Roman Catholic Church, especially the papal practice of asking
payment--called "indulgences"--for the forgiveness of sins. At the
time, a Dominican priest named Johann Tetzel, commissioned by the
Archbishop of Mainz and Pope Leo X, was in the midst of a major
fundraising campaign in Germany to finance the renovation of St.
Peter's Basilica in Rome. Though Prince Frederick III the Wise had
banned the sale of indulgences in Wittenberg, many church members
traveled to purchase them. When they returned, they showed the pardons
they had bought to Luther, claiming they no longer had to repent for
their sins.

Luther's frustration with this practice led him to write the 95
Theses, which were quickly snapped up, translated from Latin into
German and distributed widely. A copy made its way to Rome, and
efforts began to convince Luther to change his tune. He refused to
keep silent, however, and in 1521 Pope Leo X formally excommunicated
Luther from the Catholic Church. That same year, Luther again refused
to recant his writings before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of
Germany, who issued the famous Edict of Worms declaring Luther an
outlaw and a heretic and giving permission for anyone to kill him
without consequence. Protected by Prince Frederick, Luther began
working on a German translation of the Bible, a task that took 10
years to complete.

The term "Protestant" first appeared in 1529, when Charles V revoked a
provision that allowed the ruler of each German state to choose
whether they would enforce the Edict of Worms. A number of princes and
other supporters of Luther issued a protest, declaring that their
allegiance to God trumped their allegiance to the emperor. They became
known to their opponents as Protestants; gradually this name came to
apply to all who believed the Church should be reformed, even those
outside Germany. By the time Luther died, of natural causes, in 1546,
his revolutionary beliefs had formed the basis for the Protestant
Reformation, which would over the next three centuries revolutionize
Western civilization.

1926 : Houdini is dead

1961 : Stalin's body removed from Lenin's tomb


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