A copy of the 95 Theses


 The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences were written by Martin Luther in 1517 and are widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.

The background to Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses centers on agreements within the Catholic Church regarding baptism and absolution. Significantly, the Theses offer a view on the validity of indulgences (remissions of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven). They also view with great cynicism the practice of indulgences being sold, and thus the penance for sin representing a financial transaction rather than genuine contrition. Luther’s theses argued that the sale of indulgences was a gross violation of the original intention of confession and penance, and that Christians were being falsely told that they could find absolution through the purchase of indulgences.

The Theses itself was posted on the door of The Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, in the Holy Roman Empire on October 31st, 1517. This date held extreme significance because the day after was All Saint’s Day, and therefore, everybody went to Church, and wound up seeing the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.