Two thousand years ago Augsburg was founded by the Romans. Ten years ago Augsburg was the site of the "Joint Declaration on Justification" between Lutherans and Roman Catholics. The events of the 16th century, however, make it most well-known among Lutherans and all Protestants worldwide.
Mr. Hermann Weber, mayor of Augsburg, greeted over 100 theologians from over 30 countries at the Rathaus (Town Hall) on the first evening of the March 25-31 Lutheran World Federation Global Consultation on "Theology in the Life of Lutheran Churches: Transformative Perspectives and Practices Today."
At the Rathau, which has been restored since the World War II bombings, we heard the mayor highlight the important dates:
1518 The momentous meeting between Luther and the papal legate at which Luther was told to renounce his teachings.
1530 The Imperial Diet meeting at which the Lutheran estates issued their fundamental statement of faith, the Augsburg Confession.
1537 The adoption of the first Protestant church order where separation of church and state was instituted.
1555 The Diet proclamation of the Peace of Augsburg, giving Lutherans and Roman Catholics a side-by-side relationship. For many years each public office in Augsburg was held by two people, one a Roman Catholic and one a Lutheran.
We could see evidence of this side-by-side relationship in the physical proximity of churches. We are staying at Haus St. Ulrich's. The Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches on this site are physically connected.
On Sunday we walked through the old town and saw the courtyard from which the people could hear the Augsburg Confession read for the first time, in the language of the people, so that all could understand.