A woodcut of Luther before the Pope, bishop and estates at Worms in 1521.
In 1521, Pope Leo X issued the bull that finally excommunicated Martin Luther as a heretic.
This meant that Luther was no longer a monk and priest, and was banned from preaching or taking part in the sacraments.
Luther was summoned to an Imperial Diet at Worms in April 1521. He refused to recant, concluding with the statement: 'To that God help me' (also given in another account as: 'God come to my help). Emperor Charles V imposed the imperial ban on Luther with the Edict of Worms.
Martin Luther was now an outlaw.
His works could not be printed, sold or distributed. Not only was no-one allowed to house or help him at all, but anyone could kill him without reprisal.
Fortunately for him, his patron, Elector Friedrich III of Saxony, arranged for Luther to be abducted on his way back to Wittenberg and taken into protective care in Wartburg Castle.
The papal bull of 1520 and the woodcut shown here are among exhibits in the display 'The Reformation: What was it all about?' at the National Library from 19 October to 10 December 2017.
See also: Papal bull, 1520.