32 - Worms, Germany - Where Martin Luther Was Tried

On the afternoon of (Saturday) June 22, 2023, our Hiestand-Haston Heritage Tour group will arrive in the city of Worms (pronounced “Vermz”), Germany – the place where Martin Luther stood before a formal deliberative assembly (“diet”) of leaders from the Holy Roman Empire, led by Emperor Charles V.  He was called to defend his Christian beliefs regarding such things his opposition to the doctrine of indulgences (earthly payments for the forgiveness of sins), his belief that salvation comes by God’s grace through faith and not of works, and his commitment to the authority of Holy Scripture over the authority of the Church.  Later, he was condemned as a heretic.  

Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner

From Wikipedia: On April 18, 2021, Luther, saying that he had prayed for long hours and consulted with friends and mediators, presented himself before the Diet. When the counselor put the same questions to him, Luther first apologized that he lacked the etiquette of the court. Then he answered, “They [25 books he had written] are all mine, but as for the second question, they are not all of one sort.” Luther went on to place the writings into three categories: (1) Works which were well received even by his enemies: those he would not reject. (2) Books that attacked the abuses, lies, and desolation of the Christian world and the papacy: those, Luther believed, could not safely be rejected without encouraging abuses to continue. To retract them would be to open the door to further oppression. “If I now recant these, then, I would be doing nothing but strengthening tyranny”. (3) Attacks on individuals: he apologized for the harsh tone of these writings but did not reject the substance of what he taught in them; if he could be shown by Scripture that his writings were in error, Luther continued, he would reject them. Luther concluded by saying:

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.

The Monument to Luther and Eleven Other Reformers

We will be staying in a hotel less than a block from the world’s largest reformation monument, which features the statue of Martin Luther and 11 other reformation leades.

1902 Postcard

Photo by Immanuel Giel, Public Domain

Plans to build a significant monument to Martin Luther in Worms were already made in the 18th century. In 1856, an association, the Luther-Denkmal-Verein, was formed, which pursued the idea and collected donations from Europe and the Americas.  Among the historical topics remembered by the monument are Luther’s Ninety-five Theses of 1517 and his appearance at the Diet of Worms in 1521, where he defended his theses facing Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. The main 11 ft high bronze statue of Luther is surrounded by eleven others depicting other reformers, political figures, and personified related towns. The statues are mounted on separate stone plinths on a stepped base, and the overall shape of the monument is intended to resemble a castle, representing Luther’s hymn “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A firm castle is our God).  -Wikipedia

The monument was unveiled on 25 June 1868 in a ceremony attended by around 20,000 people, including nobility and leading German Protestants.

The Classic Scene of Martin Luther's Defense at the Diet of Worms

(7:11) There are more modern versions of this scene, but none of them equals the drama of this movie clip.

Contact Renee Cue (renee@reneecue.com) to express your interest in joining the tour group, or asking for more information.

Share this with Hastons or related family members who might be interested in the June 14-27, 2023 Hiestand-Haston European Heritage Tour.


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