Mark The 500th Anniversary Of The Reformation At St Paul's Cathedral

By Sponsor Last edited 80 months ago

Last Updated 19 September 2017

Mark The 500th Anniversary Of The Reformation At St Paul's Cathedral

This is a sponsored article on behalf of St Paul's Cathedral.

Old St Paul's at the time of the Reformation. © St Paul's Cathedral

In 1517, German monk Martin Luther pinned his 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg. Little did he know this simple, rebellious act — which challenged the authority of the Church — would trigger centuries of religious and political upheaval, shaping religious practice for future generations. To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, St Paul's Cathedral is hosting a series of events from 30 September to 20 November.

St Paul's has long been seen as a spiritual heart of London, and it found itself at the forefront of debate when radical Reformation ideas arrived from the continent. And the Cathedral building itself would come to visually represent the changes that the Reformation brought. Stripped of some of its treasures under Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, it fell into disrepair, finally being destroyed in the Great Fire. The new Cathedral, though grand in stature, bore many of the hallmarks of a post-Reformation time, some of which you can experience as part of two special late night openings at St Paul's Cathedral.

Visitors can get slack-jawed over the Cathedral's stunning architecture at the special late night openings in October. © St Paul's Cathedral

Visitors are invited to bask in the beautiful post-Reformation architecture of the Cathedral while listening to music that emerged during the period. Arty types are encouraged to pick up pencil and paper and get sketching, while keen photographers and Insta-fans will be pleased to hear photography is allowed. Plus, you can drop in on mini talks about this historic moment and marvel at a hugely rare copy of the first New Testament Bible translated into English by William Tyndale, on public display for the very first time — which brings us to another event St Paul's has in store for you.  

Nowadays we take it for granted we can read the Bible without needing a Latin translator but for this convenience, we have William Tyndale to thank. In 1536 he was executed as a heretic for translating the Bible into English. Within a few years his translation was in every church in England. 'Souls at Stake: Tyndale, the Bible and the twenty-first-century' brings brainy broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and theology whizz Dr Jane Williams together to explore Tyndale's motivations and his influence on our national and spiritual lives. His Bible, one of just three that exist anywhere in the world, will also be on display at this event.

Visitors are encouraged to sketch what they see, or if you're lacking in the art department, photos are allowed. © St Paul's Cathedral

Other Reformation 500 events include Choral Evensongs every Sunday evening in October, and talks on London's Long Reformation and The Protestant Work Ethic. Most events are free and open to all, whatever your religious persuasion. Check out the full programme and book tickets via the website.

Reformation Lates take place on Thursday 12 and Saturday 28 October, 6.30pm-9pm. £10 adults/ £9 concessions / £5 under 17 / free under 6

Souls at Stake: Tyndale, The Bible and the Twenty-First Century takes place on Tuesday 24 October, 6.30pm-8pm, and is free.