Monday, November 1, 2010
A Diet of Worms? Hardly....Just Remember the "V" Sound
The place IS very historic and as far as cathedrals go, and it is beautiful.
The name comes from the Latin Borbetomagus which means “settlement in a watery area” which eventually morphed to Vormatia……
Vormatia. Now when you realize that you don’t pronounce the “W” when saying the word “Worms” and you substitute a “V” sound as in Vorms it all makes sense……
Actually….it should be pronounced “Varms”
There are no worms and there never were any. :)
In fact, Worms Cathedral is also known at St. Peter’s Cathedral.
Worms Cathedral…consecrated in 1110…. is known as an Imperial Cathedral which means it was built under the reign of an emperor. The building is unique in that it has two quires or choirs…..one at each end of the nave. The second choir was set aside for the emperor to attend church.
The oldest section of the cathedral….the east choir…..is an example of an architectural trick. The walls are straight on the outside of the building but are rounded on the inside.
Speaking of emperors there are a few royal members buried at Worms Cathedral……
*Conrad I and II, the Dukes of Carinthia
*Conrad, Duke of Lorraine
*Queen Matilda, consort of Henry I of France (she was also the daughter of Conrad II the Holy Roman Emperor
Sadly the original windows were destroyed in 1943 by the bombs of World War II, but over time during the 1960s they were all replaced.
The major historical significance of the Worms Cathedral is that it was the location for the Diet of Worms in April 1521.
Ugh. Again, it doesn’t sound too appealing, right?
The Diet of Worms was called by the Holy Roman Emperor who was actually the German king, Charles V. It is helpful to understand a Diet was a general assembly of the Imperial states of the Holy Roman Empire. So, a diet is a formally called meeting. There were many different diets that took place at Worms Cathedral, so like many treaties that share the same name it is important to know which year you are talking about.
The Diet of Worms in 1521 is significant in church history became it the meeting where Martin Luther was required to answer the papal bull of Pope Leo X.
A bull is simply a form of communication sent out by the Pope, and this particular bull……also referred to as Exsurge Domine (Arise O’ Lord) denounced Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on the Power and Effacy of Indulgences Luther had nailed to the door at Wittenberg (again, the “W” is pronounced with a “V” sound).
The whole “nail” thing is still argued by historians…..we aren’t sure if Luther really nailed his theses to the door, but church doors were commonly used as bulletin boards at that time and the story does make sense.
….and what happened to Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms? A formal statement was issued condemning Martin Luther, but he was allowed to leave Worms without being arrested. It was commonly known, however, that at some point he would be arrested and punished.
His supporters hid him away at Wartburg Castle (again…..remember the “V” sound) and while there Luther began his German translation of the Bible.