Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,
ein gute Wehr und Waffen.
Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
die uns jetzt hat betroffen.
Der alt böse Feind
mit Ernst er’s jetzt meint,
groß Macht und viel List
sein grausam Rüstung ist,
auf Erd ist nicht seinsgleichen.
Starting this post about the Reformation with the first stanza of Martin Luther's famous hymn Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God), as it is perfect for today's theme: Castles of the Reformation.
Wartburg Castle is probably the most famous "Castle of the Reformation". Described as the ideal castle and connected with various important events in German histoty, it was the place where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. Since 1999 it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
More about Luther's time at the Wartburg will follow in July.
Ebernburg Castle was first mentioned in 1338 and was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times in its history. At the beginning of the 16th century Franz von Sickingen (1481 - 1523) was the lord of the castle. He was an early supporters of the Reformation and offered refuge to Martin Luther after the Diet of Worms. Luther refused, but other reformers (e.g. Martin Bucer and Johannes Oekolampad) took the offer and established a thriving theologian's community at the castle. German-language church services and communions were conducted there. The humanist Ulrich von Hutten therefore coined the term Shelter of Justice for Ebernburg Castle.
Between 1886 and 1889 the Hutten Sickingen Memorial was built next to the castle.
The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles and was never conquered. In 1530 Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and Justus Jonas were on their way to the Diet of Augsburg, but as Luther had been placed under Imperial Ban he had to stay in Coburg. Between the 24th April and the 4th October he lived in the castle. There he wrote more than 100 letters and translated parts of the Old Testament and Aesop's Fables.
Wolfsburg Castle was since 1302 the ancestral seat of the Family of Bartensleben, a family that grew rich by ceral growing, fish farming and timber trade. The family was a vassal to two Dukes and during the Reformation one of them became Protestant while one remained Catholic. Also the family was torn between the two confessions. To avoid escalations the family's head Hans the Rich wrote a treaty on 3rd July 1555 which granted religious freedom for the family's members and their subjects and adjusted the togetherness of the two confessions. The treaty was very progressive and anticipated the Peace of Augsburg in some points.
This post is the first of a series of 5-6 posts about rulers, places and cities which helped the Reformation to thrive. The next posts will follow over the next 1,5 months. So stay tuned!