January 3

This Day in History

General Interest

Jan 3, 1521:

Martin Luther excommunicated

On January 3, 1521, Pope Leo X issues the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, which excommunicates Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther, the chief catalyst of Protestantism, was a professor of biblical interpretation at the University of Wittenberg in Germany when he drew up his 95 theses condemning the Catholic Church for its corrupt practice of selling indulgences, or the forgiveness of sins. He followed up the revolutionary work with equally controversial and groundbreaking theological works, and his fiery words set off religious reformers all across Europe.

In January 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther. Three months later, Luther was called to defend his beliefs before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms, where he was famously defiant. For his refusal to recant his writings, the emperor declared him an outlaw and a heretic. Luther was protected by powerful German princes, however, and by his death in 1546, the course of Western civilization had been significantly altered.

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This Week in History, Jan 3 - Jan 9

Jan 03, 1521
Martin Luther excommunicated
Jan 03, 1868
Meiji Restoration in Japan
Jan 03, 1924
King Tut's sarcophagus uncovered
Jan 03, 1959
Alaska admitted into Union
Jan 03, 1967
Jack Ruby dies before second trial
Jan 04, 1896
Utah enters the Union
Jan 04, 1974
President Nixon refuses to hand over tapes
Jan 04, 1987
Segovia begins final U.S. tour
Jan 04, 1995
104th Congress under Republican control
Jan 05, 1643
First divorce in the colonies
Jan 05, 1895
Dreyfus Affair in France
Jan 05, 1945
Kamikaze pilots get first order
Jan 05, 1968
Prague Spring begins in Czechoslovakia
Jan 05, 1976
Pol Pot renames Cambodia
Jan 05, 1994
Former Speaker Thomas P. Tip O'Neill dies
Jan 06, 1066
Harold II crowned king of England
Jan 06, 1912
New Mexico joins the Union
Jan 06, 1925
Nurmi breaks two world records
Jan 06, 2001
Congress certifies Bush winner of 2000 elections
Jan 07, 1785
Across the English Channel in a balloon
Jan 07, 1979
Pol Pot overthrown
Jan 07, 1989
Emperor Hirohito dies
Jan 07, 1999
Clinton impeachment trial begins
Jan 08, 1642
Astronomer Galileo dies in Italy
Jan 08, 1815
The Battle of New Orleans
Jan 08, 1867
Congress expands suffrage in nation's capital
Jan 08, 1916
Allies retreat from Gallipoli
Jan 08, 1918
Wilson announces his 14 Points
Jan 08, 1962
Mona Lisa exhibited in Washington
Jan 09, 1768
First modern circus is staged
Jan 09, 1806
Nelson buried at St. Paul's Cathedral
Jan 09, 1972
Queen Elizabeth destroyed by fire
Jan 09, 2007
Steve Jobs debuts the iPhone

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