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500 Years of Protestant History

John calvin Reformation MuseumThe International Museum of the Reformation in Geneva retraces the history of the Reformation movement begun by Martin Luther, when he nailed his 95 thesis questions to a church door in Germany, then shaped by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli and others, told through artifacts, books, manuscripts, paintings, etchings and state-of-the-art audio visual exhibits, in a series of rooms following the eras of protestant religious movements from the 16th Century onward, from Martin Luther to Martin Luther King.

It was Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible in common language which spread the Reformation from the printing press, but the first German translation of the Bible was actually produced in Zurich 5 years before Luther. The Christian religion had been torn between the ideas of pure faith and the physical representation of faith since its earliest times. While Martin Luther and the German Reformation spread the political mix of states through Europe, it was from Geneva that protestant ideas spread to the new world.

Jean (John) Calvin sought refuge in Geneva from France and preached his concepts of Preordination which influenced the Pilgrims and the Dutch reformed Church which settled in early New England, and the Anabaptist movement led by the idea that to seek salvation the faithful must be baptized as an adult, or reborn which spread throughout Europe following the 30 Years War, and then to North America. The ideas of the Reformation continued an evolution over the next three centuries, finding its artistic expression in music, through hymns and chorales of the great composers of Baroque age and the personal voice of music in the churches of America.

The International Museum of the Reformation is located Geneva’s old town in on the former site of the cloisters of Geneva’s Saint-Pierre Cathedral, where Geneva formally converted to the Reformation in 1536. The cathedral towers, the museum and an underground tunnel connecting the museum to the archeological foundation under the cathedral have been combined into the Espace Saint-Pierre. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm..

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