This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31 -- Reformation Day

It says post no bills.  It didn't say "Post No Theses"
Yes, this is a departure from the normal saint post, and it is especially questionable since the Reformation led to the destruction of so many saints' shrines and even relics.  Nonetheless, I will not pretend that the complaints raised by Dr. Luther were invalid.  Moreover, I will even assert that his objections ultimately strengthened the Church in Rome by forcing the cardinals to clean up the house a little. 

Background:  On October 31, 1517, a priest of the Augustinian Order, Martin Luther, sent a letter to Albrect of Mainz protesting some corrupt and theologically unsupported practices.  In it, he enclosed a copy of his disputation on indulgences, which came to be called the 95 Theses.  Most scholars now reject the notion that the theses were nailed to the door of the church in Wittenburg, where Dr. Luther taught theology.  It hardly matters, however.  The stercus hit the fan and the western Christian Church blew up like a slow-motion grenade. Thus began (or at very least accelerated) a process known as the Reformation. 

Today, lots of Protestant Christian churches celebrate Reformation Day on the closest Sunday before Halloween.  The most puritanical of churches don't acknowledge Halloween, of course.  It is all Hallows' Eve, the night before All Saints' Day, and they of course do not approve of the veneration of saints.  Moreover, there is a strong association with witchcraft, which is patently unacceptable.
In the German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, West Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, Reformation Day is a school holiday. If you're in Germany, have a good day off, kids.  If you're elsewhere, Happy Halloween if you celebrate it, or Reformation Day if you don't. 

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