On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther is said to have nailed his ‘95 Theses’ to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. These were 95 revolutionary ideas that served as the catalyst for the eventual breaking away from the Catholic Church and were later instrumental in forming the movement known as the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s ‘95 Theses’ called for a full reform of the Catholic Church and challenged other scholars to debate with him on matters of church policy. It was these activities that got Martin Luther excommunicated from the Church in 1520.
In 1521, after a month of hearings before religious and government authorities, Martin Luther was declared an outlaw, requiring his arrest as a “notorious heretic.” On his way to jail, Luther was “kidnapped” by masked horsemen. But it was a staged event by a wealthy supporter of Luther named Frederick III. The kidnappers ended up delivering Luther to the safety of Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany. Remarkably, during a year of protective custody here at the Castle, Luther performed the incredible feat of translating the Bible’s New Testament from Greek to German.