Those lacking the opportunity to have either gentleman as a guide or to travel to the sites, can have a pleasant swing around Reformation history via the internet. A host of websites will help you understand the world of pioneer reformer Martin Luther and his contemporaries.
I came to many of these locations via www.sacred-destinations.com, which bills itself as “a free online travel guide that focuses on the sacred sites and religious places of the world.” A religious studies graduate student named Holly Hayes, who writes that she also enjoys travelling, is responsible for the site and deserves commendation for her efforts.
Ms Hayes artfully gathered the top Protestant locations on a single page tinyurl.com/s4md5 from which you can first visit the Reformation Wall in Geneva, Luther’s room in Wittenberg, Calvin’s church in Geneva and Wesley’s chapel in London.
“The world’s many Reformation and Protestant sites are definitely worth a look,” Ms Hayes writes. “The Reformation is foundational to modern Western society, its religious principles have been dear to the hearts of many, and it incorporates fascinating stories of interesting people.”
Indeed it is. The Reformation Wall, with its five-metre-high sculptures of reformers William Farel, John Calvin, Theodore de Beza and John Knox, is a bit forbidding to me—not something I’d make a special point of seeing. However, since it’s in the same city as as St Peter’s Cathedral, where Calvin preached for 28 years and where his chair remains to this day, it would probably merit a “drive by” visit.
And while Calvin is most closely associated, in the minds of many, with Geneva, he was actually born in Noyon, France, where a John Calvin Museum stands today, a reconstruction of his family home. You can see copies of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, and the 1535 edition of the Olivetan Bible, printed in the city of Neuchatel, by Pierre de Vingle.
Over in Germany, the life of Martin Luther, naturally, dominates the discussion of the Reformation matters. The Luther Museum, Wittenberg, as Ms Hayes notes, is dedicated to the Refermer’s life. Those who viewed the 2003 dramatic film Luther, will recall the dramatic setting of those heady days of the Reformation.
The Luther Museum is the “real thing”, and details about it as well as two other Luther-relates sites in the Sozong-Anhalt region of Germany can be found at the regious of Germany can be found at the Luther Memorials Foundation website <tinyurl.com/h9qpr>.
Before Luther and Calvin were, as many know, the Waldensians. They were located primarily in north-western Italy, followers of Peter Valdesium, who fiercely clug to “sola scriptura” (“the Bible alone”) as their mandate. The Comittee on Historic Sites in the Waldensian Valleys has a website <tinyurl.com/r5pvg> that will take you around the region, including the “Cave Church” <tinyurl.com rq2f2> where Waldensians worshipped during times of persecution.
Those wanting to remeber John Wesley’s contribution to Christianity will want to visit www.wesleychapel.org.uk for a look around and for a map of Wesley sites in London, including the Aldersgate Capel, where Wesley first attended a BIble study, became converted and “found myself stangely warmed” by the realisation that God loved him.
And while Wesley eventually broke with the Church of England in which he and his father were ordained, the connection remains; in the north-west garden of St Paul’s Cathedral, which Wesley attended from 1739 yo 1741, is a replica of a Wesley statue.