Reformation Tour—Day 7

Luther Memorial Dresden

It is 6:12 p.m and I am finally sitting down to write.

Actually, I’m writing while the gals and our new friends from Australia (we met them yesterday at lunch) are talking around me.

So, if this post is no good, you will know why. Hemingway never had to put up with such distractions.

Ann and The Wife tried to pressure me to write earlier this afternoon, but as I told them, you can’t command creativity, and I wasn’t feeling it.

Today was a good day: a good balance between touring and relaxing. Too much touring and too much listening to tour guides drone on with all the fun facts and scripted stories, it can get old after a while.

Our excursion today consisted of a 3 1/2 hour morning walking tour of Dresden. There is much to see here but it all has a wrinkle: because the city centre was reduced to rubble by allied bombing one night in February 1945, almost everything one sees has been rebuilt. However, it was rebuilt to look old by essentially copying what was destroyed in 1945. In that sense, this city is unique and a bit odd. Touring Dresden is a like watching a very good actor—there is the appearance of authenticity but you have to remind yourself it is not what it appears to be. Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 6

The Elbe from our ship

The Elbe River has its origin in the Krkonoše Mountains on the northwest border of the Czech Republic and ends in the North Sea.

It’s the Elbe that will carry us to our prized destinations of Torgau and Wittenberg over the next few days.

Extending their hegemony to the Elbe was a goal of the Romans, who suffered perhaps their greatest defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where they were defeated by an alliance of Germanic tribes in 9 A.D., forever limiting the reach of the Roman Empire to the Rhine River. It explains why we have not seen any Roman ruins in Prague or the Czech Republic.

The Elbe was also the eastern border of the Carolingian Empire during the reign of Charlemagne in the ninth century. This fact has special relevance to us because Charlemagne is a GSB Kingdom Hero.

Our day began in Decin, from which we departed at 6:15 a.m. We arrived in Bad Schandau around 9:00 a.m. Bad Schandau is a town filled with brothels and casinos, and is run by former agents of the East German Stasi who have banded together to form a German mafia of sorts that extorts money from local businesses, hence the name “Bad” Schandau. Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 5

Decin Castle

Following the death of Jan Hus, the Hussite movement continued to gain strength spreading into other parts of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic).

The Hussites were the majority in Prague and in Bohemia for nearly two hundred years after Hus.

Sometimes those who are His are many and sometimes they are few, but whenever they are, they are the light of the world. It is easy to get lost in all the activity like the Thirty Years War, or the French Wars of Religion, but not if we look for the light.

There were other lights after Hus and before Luther both outside and within the Catholic Church. They include Jerome of PragueThomas ConecteSavanorola,  and Cardinal Andrew, archbishop of Crayn, who opposed corruption under Pope Sixtus IV, and who said prophetically, “The Most High will find other means, which are at present unknown to us, although they may be at our very doors, to bring back the Church to its pristine condition.”

The Hussites were the forerunners of protestantism in Europe and paved the way for the man we will study on the next leg of our tour, who fulfilled Cardinal Andrew’s prophetic words. Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 4

Handel’s Messiah in Mozart’s Hand

Our only excursion today was to the Lobkowicz Palace.

The Lobkowicz family can trace their roots to the 14th century. They have survived the Thirty Years War, the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Nazis, and the Communists.

In the process they became patrons of the arts and amassed one of the most impressive collections of art in Europe.

The highlight for me was the original manuscript of Mozart’s reorchastration of Handel’s Messiah, written in Mozart’s own hand.

The Lobkowicz family provides a nice metaphor for for the Church. They have lived under numerous political systems and rulers, survived them all and have prospered, and in the process they elevated the culture in which they have lived. Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 3

Bethlehem Chapel

We had originally planned to journey away from Prague to some Hus sites, but given the problems I wrote about yesterday, we had to retrace our steps.

We started by trying to find Bethlehem Chapel. Our tour guide had given us the impression it was too far away to find in a five-hour tour; in reality, it was only a 10 minute walk from Old Town Square if you know the way.

It is not, however, easy to find. The map was not helpful, the GPS wanted me to walk through walls, and a local’s directions were not helpful. But after walking through a number of narrow, peopleless alleys, we arrived at our destination.

Bethlehem Chapel is the church where Jan Hus preached and pastored. It was built in 1391, a portion of it torn down by the Jesuits in 1786, and it was ultimately restored in 1992. A small part of the pulpit Hus preached from is still there (see pic) and the inside of the church looks much like it did when Hus preached here between 1402 and 1413. Continue reading…