Christians in Germany launch Luther Decade

Wittenberg, the city where Martin Luther famously nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Schlosskirche, launched a decade of events this weekend to celebrate the German reformer who forever changed the face of Christianity.

Luther Decade was opened on Saturday with a re-enactment of Luther's arrival in the city, where he came in 1508 to continue his theological studies.

A church service will be held on Sunday with a sermon delivered by the president of the Lutheran World Federation, Mark Hanson.

As part of Luther Decade, concerts, exhibitions and lectures will be among the events taking place in the years leading up to 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

In an interview with German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper said that Catholics should read Luther's Bible commentaries and "hymns full of spiritual power".

He also said that Protestantism would do well to return to the faith of Martin Luther, who he said "would have been deeply averse to all of today's liberal tendencies", according to Ecumenical News International.

The launch of Luther Decade comes just ahead of the opening of the international Calvin Year, or 'Calvin 09', by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches in Geneva on 2 November 2008.