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Orange Order exhibition sheds light on Reformation 500 years on

A major exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation has opened at a museum run by the Orange Order in Belfast.

In 1517 Martin Luther published his attack on papal abuses and the sale of indulgences, launching a watershed for Christianity throughout Europe.

A display entitled Staunch And True at the Museum of Orange Heritage examines the impact and legacy of the event.

The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said: "Our latest major exhibition provides an informative insight into the historical context of the Reformation and how its powerful legacy impacted and inspired future generations."

The exhibition also explores how figures within the Orange Order have played their part in the spread of the Reformation.

It includes a reproduction of a 16th Century printing press, which was integral to communicating Luther's writings across Europe, as well as an Erasmus Greek New Testament Bible, dated 1527.

Museum curator, Dr Jonathan Mattison, said: "Whilst there were key figures before Martin Luther, his actions 'burst the dam' in terms of bedding in the Protestant Reformation.

"Like all revolutions 1517 was not an end in itself but has had a continuing impact on all aspects of life, not least through the creation of democratic politics and freedom of the individual.

"Staunch And True is Northern Ireland's most significant examination of the Reformation and its enduring legacy."

The exhibition opening comes ahead of a major rally to mark the Reformation anniversary in Co Armagh next month.

Members of the loyal orders will take part in a procession through Portadown on Saturday May 6, prior to a religious service at Shamrock Park.

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