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On 31 October 1517, 500 years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther-an Augustinian monk and a Theology Professor at the University of Wittenberg- nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral and sent them to his bishop Albert of Mainz. Acting on his religious and spiritual beliefs he wanted to encourage an open public debate on the practice of indulgences. His writings triggered the process of significant changes in social, political and economic sphere known as Reformation.

Reformation implied the renewal of science, faith and religious life based on the Bible. The conversion of heart and the transformation in the Christian life resulted in a new approach to the world, one's existence and vocation. Luther had never intended to establish a new Church, however the course of events eventually led to the division within Western Christianity. As a consequence, for 500 years Evangelical Christians and other Christian denominations have been living side by side or even for one another. Evangelicals have been always contributing to the development of Silesia and Katowice.

The year of 2017 is a special time for Silesia inhabitants due to the fact that the Silesian Regional Assembly decided to commemorate the 500th anniversary and accepted the resolution of announcing the year of 2017 as the Year of the Reformation.Therefore we should mention the importance and consequences of the Reformation, its influence on the region and the residents. It is necessary to analyze our relations and the relationship between our religions as well as define the role and the position of Silesian Protestants.

The residents of Katowice know a great number of noteworthy Evangelical Christians connected with the city, such as the founding fathers of Katowice i.e. Friedrich Wilhelm Grundmann and Richard Holtze or the land owner – Hubert Tiele-Winckler. The Evangelical Church of the Resurrection is the oldest stone church in Katowice, which was consecrated on 29 September 1858 even before Katowice acquired the city status. It is difficult to imagine the city centre without the beautiful church, which is important not only for the Evangelical community, but also for all residents of Katowice, who attend numerous concerts and exhibitions organized there. Moreover, plenty of Protestants left a permanent imprint on the history of the city. The significant modern-era figure was ks. bp Tadeusz Szurman (died at the age of 59 on 30.01.2014), who was awarded the title of the Honorary Citizen of Katowice City in recognition of his activity for the sake of community.

The Evangelical-Augsburg Parish and the City of Katowice will jointly celebrate the Year of Reformation. The event will include numerous conferences, concerts and exhibitions. You are kindly invited to discover the history created by Protestants and Catholics, learn more about the everlasting values, which were widespread due to the Reformation. May the commemoration of the 500th Reformation Anniversary be an opportunity to express our strong relationship and a thorough understanding we have achieved through our joint service and witness. (ks. bp dr Marian Niemiec)

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