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Orange Heritage Week begins with focus on Luther

By Staff Reporter

The legacy of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation was the focus of the first event of Orange Heritage Week.

Delivering a lecture at the birthplace of Orangeism at Sloan’s House, Loughgall, grand chaplain Rev Ron Johnstone described the German theologian as a “colossus”.

In October 1517 Luther nailed his ‘95 Theses’ on the castle door in Wittenberg — an act widely seen as the beginning of the Reformation, which spread throughout Europe.

The senior Orangeman said that most people were not aware of how that act still impacted life today. “Luther’s influence still permeates the life of every individual in our society of whatever religious faith or none they be,” Rev Johnstone said.

“While historians hesitate to attribute too much influence to any one individual — that is certainly not the case with Luther.”

Rev Johnstone was the guest speaker at the annual Diamond Day lecture, marking the formation of the Orange Institution in 1795.

The event also formally launched the first Orange Heritage Week, which incorporates a programme of activities informing audiences about the origins and traditions of the loyal order, its membership and its influence on wider society.

Further events are taking place today, including a historical talk at Banbridge Orange hall, an open day at Carleton Street Orange hall in Portadown and a Lambeg drumming match at Burnside Orange hall, Antrim, starting at 2.30pm.

Tomorrow an Ulster Day service will be held in Ballyclare Methodist Church at 3.30pm.

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