On this date, March 15, 1517, Pope Leo X announced a special sale of indulgences. He had a dream of completeing St. Peter’s Basilica. But neither he nor Rome had money.
But by selling indulgences, or buying your way into heaven, this created opportunities for new revenue streams. A Dominican by the name of John Tetzel and others would ride into a village set up his stage and perform. Dramatically encouraging people to buy their relatives out of purgatory so they wouldn’t suffer any longer. His quaint saying was “when a coin in the coffer rings a soul from purgatory springs!” The funds raised were going towards the building of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Luther penned the words of the 95 theses or propositions, arguments against the church and on October 31, 1517, Martin strode to the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg and nailed them to the door and the spark was ignited for the Protestant Reformation.