Religion: Luther's Church

On the night of Feb. 21, 1945, R.A.F. bombers made a brief but deadly trip over Worms, Germany. Next morning, when the fires died, little was left of the old Rhineland city. One of the worst casualties among its historic buildings was the 1,100-year-old Magnuskirche, where Martin Luther preached in 1521 when he came to defend his doctrines at the Diet of Worms against the Pope's theologians. German Lutherans have since regarded the Magnuskirche as the world's first Protestant church.

In the first postwar years, Pastor Theodor Distelmann, holding services in the ruins of...

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