An exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation has officially opened at Belfast’s Linen Hall Library.
The display of memorabilia and literature relating to Martin Luther, available to the public throughout the month of October, is the highlight of a programme of events organised by the Orange Institution in the city to commemorate the evangelical milestone.
The free and informative exhibition contains a number of historical pieces, including two extremely rare books provided by the library. They are Luther’s Divine Discourses, dated 1652, translated from German to English, and Luther a play by John Osborne first performed in Paris in 1961.
The theological display was officially opened by Belfast’s High Sheriff, Alderman Tom Haire.
Grand Chaplain, Rev Dr Ron Johnstone, said the purpose of the presentation was to aid a greater understanding of Luther and the legacy of the Reform
He said: “The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast is indebted to the Linen Hall Library for facilitating this exhibition. Our public display aims to provide an informative insight into the historical context of the Reformation and how its powerful legacy, and the actions of Martin Luther, impacted and inspired future generations.
“One cannot understand the modern benefits enjoyed in Belfast politically, educationally, scientifically, religiously, musically, socially and linguistically without recognising the influence of Luther upon our everyday life.”
Julie Andrews, Linen Hall Library Director, said: “The Linen Hall Library is delighted to host this expansive and thought-provoking exhibition about one of the most significant moments in social and theological history. Included in our archives are many valuable religious texts, bibles and general books about the Protestant Reformation which will complement Luther 500 for those seeking more information about this period of history.”
Alderman Haire said: “This is a truly fascinating exhibition which gives extraordinary insight into Martin Luther and the legacy of the Reformation – a legacy that is still felt today across many aspects of our everyday life.
“I’m delighted that it is being hosted at the Linen Hall Library and I’d encourage people to stop by and take a look if they are in the city centre.”
The exhibition launch included a talk on Martin Luther by Dr Ian Brown, a lecturer in historical theology.
Later this month, Rev Johnstone will deliver a separate lecture on the relevance of Luther today. The talk at the Library takes place on Friday October 27 at 1pm.
Pictured: (from left) Grand Chaplain Rev Ron Johnstone; High Sheriff Alderman Tom Haire, and Linen Hall Librarian Samantha McCombe