Postcard from... Berlin
Wittenberg is famous for being the town from which Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation. The outspoken critic of Catholicism nailed his 95 revolutionary “theses” to a church door in the East German city back in 1517. Now, almost five hundred years on, Wittenberg is again infuriating the church authorities.
The city council has nominated Russian punk band Pussy Riot, right, for the city's prestigious Luther Prize.
The award, which is worth €10,000, is presented every two years to individuals who show the kind of moral courage exhibited by Martin Luther.
But the decision has enraged Germany's Protestant church, which insists that the punk band's anti-Putin Orthodox Church protest in Moscow was offensive to Christians.
"They could have performed on Red Square, in a swimming pool or whatever, but not in a church," complained the Protestant theologian and former anti-communist dissident, Friedrich Schorlemmer.
Members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats have described the band's nomination for the prize as "absurd" and a breakaway group on Wittenberg town council has described the punk musicians as "chaotic shrews who make discriminating and offensive statements".
But Volkar Joestel, a historian and authority on Luther, insists that Pussy Riot was protesting against a disturbing fusion of religion, church and state power, in breach of the principles of the Enlightenment. "That alone deserves all honours," he said.
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
Peaches Geldof funeral: Private ceremony to be held at same place as her mother Paula Yates on Easter Monday
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...