Tilemann Schnabel preaching in the Walpurgis church, wood engraving

Alsfeld protests!Introduction of the Reformation in Alsfeld

In October 1526, at the synod he convened in Homberg an der Efze, Landgrave Philip initiated the introduction of the Reformation in Hesse in consensus with the estates and the representatives of the clergy. The conversion to the Lutheran faith and the resulting dissolution of the monasteries provided the landgrave with considerable financial resources, which he used to found the first Protestant university in Marburg and to establish new hospitals, schools and charitable foundations.

The landgrave himself had converted to the Lutheran faith in 1524, only a year after he had summoned Tileman Schnabel, Alsfeld’s pastor who had received his doctorate from Luther, to Romrod Castle in the summer of 1523 and reprimanded him so sharply that Schnabel fled Alsfeld in fear that very evening. The reason for this was that Schnabel’s Alsfeld sermons, in the spirit of his friend and doctoral advisor Luther, had drawn the vast majority of churchgoers away from the Walpurgis Church toward the Augustinian Monastery.

This fact was the basis for Luther’s later famous statement (quoted from: Merian/Zeiller: “Topographia Hassiae”) that Alsfeld had been “the first Statt/ so the religion adopted after the Reformation”. MNic