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Martin Luther burns papal edict – December 10, 1520

martin luther, reformation
German theologian and religious reformer Martin Luther.

This week marks the anniversary of when Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther burned a papal decree threatening him with excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.

Three years had gone by since the publication of Luther’s "95 Theses." In June 15 of 1520, Pope Leo X issued the Exsurge Domine, which stated that Luther must recant his views or face excommunication.

To demonstrate his refusal to recant, Luther burned a copy of the Exsurge Domine, along with other books, including one on church law, before a crowd in Wittenberg. The following month, the Church officially excommunicated Luther.

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