chapter  5
16 Pages

The Body of the Faithful: Joseph Furttenbach’s 1649 Lutheran Church Plans

ByChurch Plans Emily Fisher Gray

The Thirty Years War, 1618 to 1648, devastated the people and infrastructure of central Europe. As many as eight million people died due to injuries, disease, or starvation: an estimated quarter to a third of the population of the Holy Roman Empire.1 Parish churches also became frequent casualties of the war, particularly after the Emperor’s 1629 Edict of Restitution, which gave Catholic authorities control over many church lands and buildings claimed by Protestants. The desecration, repurposing, or outright destruction of Lutheran churches in the Thirty Years War left many congregations to worship under the open sky, enduring, as one observer described, ‘rain and snow, wind and fog, frost and heat, for an hour or two or more … as the people all stood and shivered together’ during religious services in courtyards and fields, bereft of the buildings that had previously sheltered their worship.2