31 October, 1517 –Martin Luther posts his Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences (Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum) on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, starting the Protestant Reformation
The theses are a list of propositions for academic disputation and advance Luther’s positions against what he saw as abusive practices by priests who sold indulgences. These were certificates which would reduce the temporal punishment due to the sins committed by the purchaser or other people in purgatory. This practice had led to the popular saying, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs”.
Two years earlier, in 1515, Pope Leo X had granted a plenary indulgence intended to finance the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which would apply to almost any sin, including adultery and theft.