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St Andrews Marks Reformation Anniversary

Tuesday October 3 2017

St Andrews from Regulus Tower. Photo: Peter Gordon, CC BY-SA 2.0

A series of special events are being held at the University of St Andrews this month to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

October 31 marks five centuries since the event regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses attacking the practices and doctrines of the late Medieval Catholic church in Wittenberg, a University town in Eastern Germany.

St Andrews, which played a prominent role in the Scottish Reformation, is the only place in the UK to be officially designated as a “City of the Reformation” by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.

Throughout the month, the University’s Reformation Studies Institute is hosting a series of open lectures on a variety of topics from theology to religious art, to how the new printing technologies enabled Luther’s message to spread, and the role of Protestantism in Britain today.

The talks are open to all and will be taken by world experts from the University’s Schools of History and Theology.

On Tuesday October 10, there will be a performance of Lutheran cantatas in the University Chapel by the University’s St Salvador Chapel Choir. Music will be taken from the choir’s recent collaboration with the Kellie Consort which resulted in a new CD recording that traces the development of Lutheran music in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

BBC Radio 4’s service of Sunday worship will broadcast live from the University’s Chapel at 8:10am on Sunday October 22 with a special focus on the Scottish Reformation.

The Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) is also hosting an exhibition on St Andrews’ involvement in the Reformation including the painting Wishart’s Last Exaltation by Sir William Orchardson depicting George Wishart blessing communion elements in a room in St Andrews Castle on the morning of his martyrdom in 1536. This is believed to have been the first ever Reformed celebration of the sacrament in Scotland. Also on display are an illustrated bible and Reformation pamphlets from the University’s Special Collections.

The culmination of the commemorative events in St Andrews will take place on Tuesday October 31, when former Archbishop of Canterbury the Rt Rev Dr Rowan Williams will preach at an ecumenical service in the town’s Holy Trinity Parish Church. The service will include participation from local churches and the University.

For full information on the anniversary events go to:


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