What was the Diet of Worms?

Counter Reformation Read more from
Chapter Religion

In 1521 a diet, which is another word for an imperial council or an assembly of princes, was convened at Worms, situated on the Rhine River in Germany. This particular meeting had been called by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500–1558) to consider the crisis that had been brought on by the Reformation. Since Martin Luther (1483–1546) was instrumental in both igniting the movement and furthering its causes, he was called before the diet to testify and defend himself. But the religious leader refused to yield his stance; he vowed to continue to make his argument against the church. He closed his statement with these famous words: “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

The result of this was that on May 25 the Edict of Worms was issued, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw. However, Luther sought refuge in the protection of Frederick the Wise, and the edict itself served only to galvanize the cause of the reformers.


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