On This Date: October 31st- Happy Halloween, Milestone- 7 Billion Folks

Oct 31, 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.

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...

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.

Portrait of Pope Leo X and his cousins, cardin...

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.

Also on This Day

American Revolution
King speaks for first time since independence declared, 1776
Automotive
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. opens in Hollywood, 1957
Civil War
Winfield Scott steps down, 1861
Cold War
British and French troops land in Suez Canal zone, 1956
Crime
The prime minister of India is assassinated, 1984
Disaster
Hurricane Hattie strikes Belize, 1961
General Interest
Houdini is dead, 1926
Stalin’s body removed from Lenin’s tomb, 1961
Hollywood
River Phoenix dies, 1993
Literary
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes published, 1892
Music
Ed Sullivan witnesses Beatlemania firsthand, paving the way for the British Invasion, 1963
Old West
The U.S. Congress admits Nevada as the 36th state, 1864
Presidential
President Clinton stumps for his wife, 2000
Sports
Earl Lloyd becomes first black player in the NBA, 1950
Vietnam War
President Johnson announces bombing halt, 1968
Thieu vows to never accept a coalition government, 1970
World War I
Third Battle of Gaza  , 1917
World War II
Chiang Kai-Shek is born, 1887

This Week in History, Oct 31 – Nov 6

Oct 31, 1517
Martin Luther posts 95 theses
Nov 01, 1512
Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public
Nov 02, 1947
Spruce Goose flies
Nov 03, 1964
D.C. residents cast first presidential votes
Nov 04, 1956
Soviets put brutal end to Hungarian revolution
Nov 05, 1994
George Foreman becomes oldest heavyweight champ
Nov 06, 1962
U.N. condemns apartheid

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