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Diet of Worms

Diet of Worms

A gathering of princes and officials of the Holy Roman Empire, who met in the town of Worms, Germany, to deal with the revolutionary religious doctrines espoused by a monk and university scholar, Martin Luther, the Diet was convened in early 1521 by Emperor Charles V, who commanded Luther himself to appear in order to debate and defend his ideas. Elector Frederick of Saxony, who was sympathetic to Luther's writings, demanded and received a guarantee of safe passage.

Luther's teachingsincluding the doctrine of justification by faith alonehad been disputed by Pope Leo X in his bull (decree) Exsurge Domine. The pope demanded that Luther retract forty-one assertions he had made in his writings and in the Ninety-five Theses, a pronouncement he had composed in the town of Wittenberg. But when Johann Eck, speaking for the archbishop of Trier, challenged Luther, the monk refused to recant. He then left the Diet under a safe-conduct pass before its members could take any action against him. As the Diet concluded, the emperor issued the Edict of Worms, which banned Luther's writings and commanded his arrest. Returning to Saxony, Luther assumed a disguise and managed to survive the edict while his revolutionary teachings set off the Protestant Reformation in Germany.

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Worms, Diet of

Diet of Worms, 1521, most famous of the imperial diets held at Worms, Germany. It was opened in Jan., 1521, by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. After disposing of other business, notably the question of the Reichsregiment, the diet took up the question of the recalcitrant behavior of Martin Luther. Charles was induced to summon Luther, who arrived at Worms under a safe-conduct on Apr. 16. At the diet Luther was asked if he would retract his teachings condemned by the pope. After a day's meditation he refused. For a week various theologians argued with him, but he would not retire from his ground. According to tradition Luther ended his defense on Apr. 18 with the words, "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen." Finally, on Apr. 26, the emperor, seeing that the dispute was fruitless, ordered Luther to leave the city. He was formally declared an outlaw in the Edict of Worms (May 25); the lines of the Reformation were thereby hardened.

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Diet of Worms

Diet of Worms a meeting of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V's imperial diet at Worms in 1521, at which Martin Luther was summoned to appear. Luther committed himself there to the cause of Protestant reform, and his teaching was formally condemned in the Edict of Worms.

Diet, recorded from late Middle English, comes from medieval Latin dieta ‘day's work, wages, etc.’, also ‘meeting of councillors’.

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Worms, Diet of

Worms, Diet of. The imperial diet of 1521 at which M. Luther defended his teaching before the emperor Charles V. He refused to recant. According to an early tradition he concluded his answer with the famous words ‘Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.’ A few weeks later he was declared an ‘outlaw’ by the papacy and his teachings were formally condemned.

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Worms, Diet of

Worms, Diet of (1521) Conference of the Holy Roman Empire presided over by Emperor Charles V. Martin Luther was summoned to appear before the Diet to retract his teachings, which had been condemned by Pope Leo X. Luther refused to retract them, and the Edict of Worms (May 25, 1521) declared him an outlaw. The Diet was one of the most important confrontations of the early Reformation.

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