Norway's state Lutheran Church has condemned the anti-Jewish legacy of Martin Luther, the 16th century German theologian who started the Protestant Reformation.

In a statement issued Friday ahead of next year's 500-year anniversary of the Reformation, the Church of Norway's General Synod said some of Luther's writings were later used in anti-Semitic propaganda, including in Nazi Germany.

Noting that such propaganda was also spread in Nazi-occupied Norway during World War II, the synod said that "in the Reformation anniversary year of 2017, we as a church must clearly distance ourselves from the anti-Judaism that Luther left behind."

Luther's revolt against the abuses of the Roman Catholic church began in 1517. With age he became increasingly hostile toward Jews and called for their persecution.