EHRHARDT -- To mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on Oct. 31, the Lutheran churches in Ehrhardt have been presenting a three-part film series on Martin Luther, the humble German monk and theologian who forever changed Christianity when he began the Protestant Reformation in 16th-century Europe.

The third and final movie, the 2003 production of "Luther" starring Joseph Fiennes, will be shown at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15, at Mt. Pleasant Lutheran Church on Mt. Pleasant Road near Ehrhardt. Pastor Rick Mason said the film provides a more in depth look at the politics surrounding the Reformation and the Middle Ages. Everyone is invited to attend, he said.

Martin Luther, who spent many years as a priest, was in turmoil about the corruption and influence pedaling going on in the Catholic Church during the period. He took to heart the verses in the book of Romans: “The just shall live by faith alone” and “Jesus did it all for us and we take it all on faith.” Luther in 1517 posted 95 arguing points and sent them to Rome, angering Pope Leo X. He refused to recant and was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. 

Luther later led the Reformation, which ultimately split Western European Christianity into two churches, the Catholic and the Protestant, and helped take the world from the Middle Ages into the Modern Age. 

The first documentary in the series, "Luther and the Reformation," was screened in the sanctuary at Mt. Pleasant Lutheran in August. This film was put together by noted European travel scholar Rick Steves.

The second movie, the critically acclaimed "Martin Luther" produced in 1953, was shown on Sept. 17. The movie tells the story of how Prince Frederick, who liked Luther, kidnapped him and hid him in a castle for a year. During this exile, Luther completed the German translation of the New Testament.

Mason, who pastors the Lutheran Parish in Ehrhardt that includes Mt. Pleasant and Ehrhardt Memorial Lutheran churches, and his wife, Glenna, live in Orangeburg.