You’ve most likely heard of the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet.* I’m sure one of the last things you want to read about is another diet. I get it. But trust me when I say the Diet of Worms has proven extremely revolutionary and many adherents have been utterly reformed!**
But before you order earthworms from garden catalogs and start dreaming of how awesome you’ll look in that bathing suit, I should probably clarify: The Diet of Worms was an imperial assembly in Worms, Germany, that took place in 1521. The assembly was called to address many of Martin Luther’s works which had been written by that time (including the 95 Theses). Luther was asked to recant his writings, and the bottom – very simplified – line is that (spoiler alert) he didn’t, adding fuel to the fire of what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation.
(That’s a painting of Luther’s moment of truth, and the lights at the top are reflections from the display lights, not a depiction of the Holy Trinity, just FYI. The painting is in the Lutherhaus museum in Wittenberg.)
While we did not go to Worms, we did spend Friday in Lutherstadt-Wittenberg, which is where Luther posted the aforementioned 95 Theses and where he lived and preached for many years of his life. It is about 60 km/40 miles from Leipzig, and we visited several sites, including the (outside of) Castle Church, where he posted the 95 Theses in 1517. The 500th anniversary of this event is on Halloween night in 2017 (Derek and I may or may not already have our costumes planned), so naturally the town is getting ready. Those preparations afforded us this view of the Castle Church:
A brief break in scaffolding on the side allows guests a glimpse of the spot where the famous doors used to stand (the original wooden doors burned in a fire long ago and have since been replaced with iron doors, on which the 95 Theses are now inscribed):
We also attempted to go to St. Mary’s church, where Luther used to preach, but similar scaffolding prevented our entry there, as well. However, all was not lost! We spent the afternoon touring Luther’s home, which once was part of an Augustinian monastery and now houses a museum dedicated to Luther (called, fittingly, Lutherhaus). The museum is really well done, with extensive English translation as well as interactive exhibits, so I’d recommend it to anyone going. Here’s the only photo I took of it:
Wittenberg is home to four UNESCO world heritage sites, including the Castle Church, St. Mary’s Church, Lutherhaus, and Philipp Melanchthon’s house, and it’s a beautiful little town, so if you’re in the area, you should make a stop!
So what happened after the Diet of Worms? You’ll have to wait until March to find out! (Or you can check Wikipedia. Either way.)
*I know, I know…this is a comma splice. Please refer to the footnotes of this post (ironically, also about diets)*** which excuse me from any and all grammatical mistakes.
**Too much with the wordplay? Have I taken this whole thing too far? Maybe. But at least I can remember what it was about now!
***Lest you think all I talk about is dieting, I’ll have you know that this post and the “Progress” post (linked to above) are the ONLY two posts in which the word appears on this blog (so far).
Finally, please consult your physician before starting any new diet. Also, please don’t start a diet of worms.