The Great Political ...

Gothic Chapell in the Adenauerpark © Stadtarchiv Speyer

... and Religious Issues of the 16th Century

The two Diets of 1526 and 1529 place Speyer in the center of German history. During that time, honor and pride preoccupied the citizens of the city which became the focal point of great political drama.

 

Spirensis Uxor © Stadtarchiv Speyer

Since Luther's posting of his theses and the Diet of 1521 in Worms, faith and reformation had defined the political discussion. They also characterized the Diet of 1526 in Speyer. Accommodating and feeding several thousand guests - the prince-elector of Saxony alone traveled with 700 persons and 400 horses - represented a challenge to the city council, residents, and landlords but filled the coffers of the city. However, the imperial estates were not able to solve the religious question but they did reach a momentous decision for Speyer: the Imperial Council and Imperial High Court, alongside the Emperor the highest representatives of the power of the state, were to be transferred to Speyer in 1527. 

In 1529, the Diet again held a meeting in Speyer. The baProtestant Churchyard © Stadtarchiv Speyerttle over religion, conscience and obedience divided the gathering. By majority vote, it rescinded the decision of the Diet of 1526 according to which every prince could hold whatever religious beliefs he could justify before God and King. The 1521 edict of Worms, which imposed an imperial ban on Luther and his followers, was confirmed.

On April 19, 1529, the evangelical princes signed a protest against this decision. The separation of the Christian churches in Europe was thereby established, an act of global historical consequence that originated in Speyer.

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