Statement by Foreign Minister Gabriel on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

30.10.2017 - Press release

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement on Monday (30 October) on the public holiday on 31 October to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Reformation and its effects changed the world and our societies far beyond Germany and led Europe into the modern era. We owe our current humanistic, enlightened world view not least to the reformers and their work.

Today’s conflict-ridden world is in search of direction. We are witnessing increasing authoritarianism and resurging nationalism. As a result, values associated with the Reformation, such as peace, freedom and responsibility, are under pressure. When we look back at 500 years of the Reformation tomorrow, we will do so in the knowledge that our country’s foreign policy must stand up for these values more than ever before.

The answer to these challenges cannot be to withdraw to a national bubble. Instead, we must recall Martin Luther’s call to “get involved!”. With this in mind, we must work resolutely for equity and peace worldwide and seek dialogue with those who do not share our values. In this context, we also aim to make greater use of religions’ peacemaking potential in our foreign policy than we have done so far, with the aim of fostering equity and justice in societies around the world.

Background information:

The Federal Foreign Office is marking the anniversary of the Reformation with a host of activities around the world, from Europe to Asia, including two major exhibitions in the United States. The exhibition, Here I Stand, featured paintings and exhibits on the life and work of Martin Luther and the Reformation. It was shown in New York, Atlanta and Minneapolis and coordinated by the Halle State Museum of Prehistory. The exhibition, Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, a joint project by the National Museums in Berlin, the Dresden State Art Collections and the Bavarian State Painting Collections, cast new light on the Reformation and its era when it was shown at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

In its Responsibility of the Religions for Peace initiative, the Federal Foreign Office is conducting a close and organised dialogue with representatives of different faiths from a large number of countries and regions. The aim is to discuss the various religions’ potential to foster peace in society in their regions and to link this potential more closely with German foreign policy.

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