St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf celebrates 500th anniversary of Lutheran Reformation

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

“He intended to spur an academic discussion but ultimately wound up triggering a historic and theological earthquake that changed the world. The repercussions – positive and negative – can still be seen today,” says St. Olaf College Director of Government, Foundation, and Corporate Relations Helen Warren. “Events and exhibitions to showcase this protagonist of German and European history and to discuss his impact are taking place in Germany, in the U.S. and all over the world.”

St. Olaf will join in the worldwide celebrate of the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation by hosting a series of events over the course of the next month. All events and exhibits are free and open to the public.

The event series, Dissonance and Resolution: Musical and Moral Legacies of the Reformation, is supported in part by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

“What we hope St. Olaf students, as well as faculty, staff, alumni and community members, gain from the events is greater understanding of the breadth and sometimes controversial complexity of Martin Luther’s impact in diverse spheres,” says Assistant Professor of German Amanda Randall. “In this way, the event series is a chance not only to highlight, but to give further dimension to the college’s Lutheran heritage.”

The events, public exhibits, and other activities will include:

  • A chapel talk by Gustavus Adolphus College Professor Emeritus of Religion Darrell Jodock ’62 on Thursday, March 30, at 11 a.m. in Boe Memorial Chapel, followed by a discussion during community time.
  • A performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion (Johannes Passion) by St. Olaf Cantorei, members of the St. Olaf Orchestra, and guest musicians, directed by St. Olaf Assistant Professor of Music James Bobb. The performance will be held during Vespers on Palm Sunday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Boe Memorial Chapel, and will be followed by a reception in the Undercroft.
  • A Luther-related book display in Rolvaag Memorial Library from March 20 to April 20.
  • A “Here I Stand” poster exhibit on the life and work of Martin Luther in Boe Memorial Chapel beginning the last week of March and going through the month of April.
  • A weekly student reading group led by James Bobb examining Lutheranism, Anti-Judaism and Bach’s St. John Passion by Michael Marrisen. This weekly reading group will be held throughout the month of March and is solely open to students and faculty of St. Olaf.