Beginning of reformation

to map

31. October 1517

Although the dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church was as old as the church itself, the popes could declare the in-Christianity studies successfully the heresy up to the beginning of the 16th century and destroy or melt into the church studies.
The situation changed in 1517 when the monk of Augustine Martin Luther (on photo) having studied religion for years published 95 theses in Wittenberg where he criticized the activities in Catholic Church.

His main critics was directed against the selling of indulgencies (letters of cancellation of sin punishment) which at that time had achieved especially wide spread, as the pope financed the construction of the church of Saint Peter in Rome with the income received from it.

Also, Luther protested against the nepotism going on in Catholic Church and other shortcomings, especially against that the clerical dukes would have secular power as in several places in Germany. At the same time his protest also included several objections for the church studies: his most important viewpoint was probably that the person can foremost become blessed through religion.
Though Luther's first protest action was not actually very radical, especially considering his later activities. He devoted his letters to the pope and hoped that the Catholic Church listens to his critics. Differently from the generally spread legend Luther did not place his theses though on the wall of Wittenberg castle church, but sent these to the German clerical authorities.
The pope's reaction to Luther's activities was at first cautious, but rather still repelling. The German church dukes saw Luther's critics as directed foremost against himself and related to him therefore completely negatively. Luther was offended due to the church's negative attitude and became more and more radical in his thoughts. By 1519 the gap with the former monk and Catholic Church was already impassable: Luther was put as the heretic under the interdict, but his supporters increased.
In 1521 Luther was invited to report to the German Reichstag. The emperor Karl V required him to renounce from his convictions, but he refused from that. As follows he fell under the state oath which meant his declaring the outlaw, but the reformer was following protected by the Saxon elector Friedrich III Smart. The following years were very active for Luther and he developed the study in the more relief form which later was known as Lutheranism. He also started the translation of the bible into German. This was not the first translation into this language, but this later became the standard text, on the basis of which the bible was later translated into Estonian.


Source: Riho Saard. Üldine kiriku ajalugu. Tallinn: Argo, 2005.


You have finished watching the story. You can play the story again or close it and choose new stories from story selection menu. You can watch up to three stories simultaneously

You can choose up to three stories, if you wish to change choosen stories, please uncheck previous selections

Choose stories



  • kirik
  • kohus
  • matkamine
  • mõis
  • näitus
  • tulease