Trinity marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

The Reformation  quincentenary (1517-2017) will be marked in Trinity  with a series of events this week, including  a  two day  theological symposium, organised by the Lutheran Church in Ireland and the Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies  and Theology. It takes place on February 17th and 18th  (see details below) and  will discuss both the different theological understandings of freedom and the legacy of the Reformation in Ireland and Europe. Challenging memories and epoch-making controversies on the themes of freedom, guilt and reconciliation will be debated including their relevance for Irish history and the public sphere.  

Complementing this, a travelling exhibition, the ‘Reformation Installation’ will be opened in College’s ecumenical Chapel by the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Rev Dr Donald Watts, Reverend of the Presbyterian Church and Bishop Brendan Leahy, Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Dr. Michael Jackson, Church of Ireland as well as guests from the EKD, the Protestant Church in Germany.  It  will remain  on Front Square from Friday 4pm until Saturday 5pm. The large HGV will have travelled through 67 European cities and members of  the public are invited to explore Reformation stories. All events are open to the public.

There is also an exhibition in the Long Room of the Library, ‘Power and Belief. The Reformation at 500’,  curated by the School of Histories & Humanities and the School of English  it will be running all of February in the Long Room. 

The Reformation was a series of spiritual, social, cultural, and political processes that affected Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Europe from the early sixteenth century. These processes had their origins in late medieval religious life and in the reception of Renaissance humanism. Reformers were committed to what they conceived to be authentic versions of Christianity inspired by the Bible and by the practices of the early Church. For some reformers, including Martin Luther, pursuit of their cause led to a break from existing church institutions.

The Library exhibition reflects on the Reformation’s impact on spreading religious diversity to the Continent and how it transformed the religious landscape across Europe and the wider world.

A rare volume from Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s confiscated library is on show in the Library of Trinity College Dublin as part of a new exhibition on the Reformation.

The exhibition includes:

  • Thomas Cranmer’s copy of Hus, Jan ‘Epistolae quaedam piissimae’ (1537) [Image 1]
  • Martin Luther’s translation of the Old Testament (1523) [Image 2]
  • The only known surviving copy of the Maler edition of ‘Enchiridion oder eyn Handbuchlein’ (1524).  Photographs of exhibition items

The display features an early copy of The Great Bible (1540), [Image 3] the first authorised translation of the Bible in English and William Bedell’s work ‘Leabhuir na Seintiomna …’ (1685), the first translation in Irish of the Old Testament. Also on show is a work with a very interesting history. The copy of  ‘Epistolae quaedam piissimae …’ (1537) by the Czech reformer Jan Hus was once housed in the Library of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. The work was last referenced in John Strype’s ‘Memorials of Cranmer’ (1694) as “ … in the possession of a Reverend Friend of mine near Canterbury”.  Cranmer was burned as a heretic and his books were confiscated by the authorities.

The display runs for the month of February 2017 and will be followed by a digital exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of The Reformation and Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.

Details of the events:

Reformation Quincentenary Theological Symposium, 17th – 18th February 2017, 4pm Chapel and Front Square:

Opening of the 'Reformation Installation' *

5 – 7pm Arts Building, Synge Theatre, Symposium, Part I:

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" (Gal. 5:1)

Prof. Volker Leppin, Church History, Faculty of Protestant Theology, Univ. of

Tuebingen: 'Mysticism, the Reformation and the Freedom of a Christian'

Prof. Gunda Werner, Dogmatic Theology, Faculty of Catholic Theology,

University of Tuebingen: ‘Love, Freedom and Guilt – Differences

between Christian Traditions in Thinking the Relationship between Divine and

Human Freedom’

Prof. Kajsa Ahlstrand, Church and Mission Studies, Department of

Theology, Church and Mission, University of Uppsala: ‘Is it all about

Freedom? How Disobedience Became a Virtue (even) for Lutherans’

Chair: Prof. Graeme Murdock, School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity

8 – 8.30pm Choral Music sung by the Goethe Institute Choir (Dining Hall)

Saturday 18th February, 10am–1pm Arts Building, Synge Theatre, Symposium, Part II:

“The Legacy of the Reformation”

Prof. Martin Meiser, New Testament, University of Saarbrücken:

‘Luther's Legacy for Pauline Studies in Modern Debate’

Prof. Ruth Whelan, Dept. of French Studies, NUI Maynooth:

‘Challenging Memories: the Reformation in France and the Huguenots in


Prof. John McCafferty, Church History, UCD Dublin

‘What have the Reformations ever done for us in Ireland?’

Coffee Break

Discussion with the speakers from Friday and the participants

Chair: Dr. Gesa Thiessen, St. Finian’s Lutheran Church / Department of

Religion and Theology, TCD

7.00pm Concert in College Chapel with the Resurgam Choir,presented by Goethe Institut Dublin, more information:



Media Contact:

Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn, College Press Officer | | 353 1 896 2310 / +353 87 995 8014 (out of office hours)