Heidelberg is a university city and has been since the Middle Ages. The university was approved in 1385 by the Pope in Rome. In 1556, the Reformation stopped the invasion of the Palatinate under Elector Prince Ottheinrich. Yet, there are many more connections between Heidelberg and the Holy See which relate directly to the introduction and immediate implications of the Reformation in the Palatinate: did you know that when in 1414, the carriage carrying a Pope across the Alps overturned on the way to the Constance Council that Pope cursed in the devil’s name and was later taken into custody at Heidelberg Castle and in Mannheim? And would you believe that that very Pope, head of the Roman Catholic church from 1410-1436, was the father- in- law of Palatinate Elector Prince Ludwig III!
And that, the father of Ludwig III authorized the burning of heretics such as Jan Hus (1415) and Hieronymus of Prague (1416) 600 years ago at the Constance Council! Ludwig III died without an heir, and Elector Prince Ottheinrich considered that to be his due punishment. The introduction of the Reformation through him “was some consolation”, however. Did you also know that from 1563 on, Heidelberg, with its Heidelberg Catechism, became the Geneva of Germany?
Have you heard about the extreme Calvinistic religious zeal which replaced the Lutheran theses in the Palatinate, which, for example, had the Ladenburg priest Sylvanus beheaded at the Heidelberg Market Square in 1572? Unlike his friend Adam Neuser, who was corresponding with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and who fled to Constantinople, Sylvanus was not able to flee.
All these exciting stories and historic accounts can be found in the exhibition “Heidelberg und der Heilige Stuhl “ (“Heidelberg and the Holy See”) in stirring pictures, original documents and certificates, as well as a surprising number of contemporary quotes from the time, from Luther and Melanchthon to name but two.
Come and lose yourself in the history of the late Middle Ages to the Reformation in the Palatinate and experience famous and less well-known facts about Heidelberg and the Popes, the university, its professors and reformers, the Elector Princes and their spouses - in times of change in the church and society.
More Information about the exhicition: Kurpfälzisches Museum der Stadt Heidelberg, Hauptstraße 97, 69117 Heidelberg