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At the same time, his administrative responsibilities in the Wittenberg monastery and the Augustinian order increased, and he began to publish theological writings, such as the 97 theses entitled Disputation Against Scholastic Theology. From all accounts Luther was a stimulating lecturer. One student reported that he was. He spoke neither too quickly nor too slowly, but at an even pace, without hesitation and very clearly. Nor do the notes give any indication of a deep spiritual struggle, which Luther in later years associated with this period in his life.

Martin Luther German religious leader. Written By: Hans J. Top Questions. Read more below: Early life and education. Read more below: Significance. Peasants' War. Celibacy: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.


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Read More on This Topic. Luther said that what differentiated him from previous reformers was that they attacked the life of the church, while he confronted its…. Facts Matter. Start Your Free Trial Today. Load Next Page. Martin Luther. Additional Reading.

Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Article Media. Ideal site for students. Internet Modern History Sourcebook The Internet History Sourcebooks are wonderful collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts for educational use by Paul Halsall. The site and its documents are well organized and the breadth of materials is impressive. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook contains thousands of sources in dozens of categories. Voices of the Powerless This BBC site follows a long historical exploration of the Routes of English with Voices of the Powerless, in which Melvyn Bragg explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at six critical moments across the last 1, years.

This particular audio-episode deals with the upheavals and turmoil of the sixteenth century that transformed many aspects of religious life.

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Among the interesting parts of the site are Luther trivia, 10 Things You Didn? Martin Luther King. There are two lesson plans as well. Project Wittenberg Project Wittenberg is a site for works by and about Martin Luther and Lutherans and attempts to bring Luther to life for those who have not had the opportunity to meet him in the pages of history.

Included are commentaries, statements of faith, theological treatises, biographies, links, and more. Project Wittenberg documents are posted in their original languages, in English translation and other languages as they are available. Under Edward VI the reform of the Church of England was established unequivocally in doctrinal terms. Yet, at a popular level, religion in England was still in a state of flux.

Following a brief Roman Catholic restoration during the reign of Mary —, a loose consensus developed during the reign of Elizabeth I , though this point is one of considerable debate among historians. Yet it is the so-called " Elizabethan Religious Settlement " to which the origins of Anglicanism are traditionally ascribed. The political separation of the Church of England from Rome, beginning in and completed in , brought England alongside this broad Reformed movement. However, religious changes in the English national church proceeded more conservatively than elsewhere in Europe.

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Reformers in the Church of England alternated for centuries between sympathies for Catholic traditions and Protestantism, progressively forging a stable compromise between adherence to ancient tradition and Protestantism, which is now sometimes called the via media. During the Reformation the teachings of Martin Luther led to the end of the monasteries, but a few Protestants followed monastic lives.

Loccum Abbey and Amelungsborn Abbey have the longest traditions as Lutheran monasteries. Since the 19th century there have been a renewal in the monastic life among Protestants. The property and lands of the monasteries were confiscated and either retained by the king or given to loyal protestant nobility. Monks and nuns were forced to either flee for the continent or to abandon their vocations.

For around years, there were no monastic communities within any of the Anglican churches.

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All of Scandinavia ultimately adopted Lutheranism over the course of the 16th century, as the monarchs of Denmark who also ruled Norway and Iceland and Sweden who also ruled Finland converted to that faith. In Sweden the Reformation was spearheaded by Gustav Vasa , elected king in Friction with the pope over interference in Swedish ecclesiastical affairs led to the discontinuance of any official connection between Sweden and the papacy from The king was given possession of all church property, church appointments required royal approval, the clergy were subject to the civil law, and the "pure Word of God" was to be preached in the churches and taught in the schools—effectively granting official sanction to Lutheran ideas.

Under the reign of Frederick I —33 , Denmark remained officially Catholic. But though Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he soon adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers, of whom the most famous was Hans Tausen. Frederick's son, Christian, was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his father's death. However, following his victory in the civil war that followed, in he became Christian III and began a reformation of the official state church.

The Scottish Reformation culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in the triumph of English influence over that of France. John Knox is regarded as the leader of the Scottish Reformation. The Reformation Parliament of , which repudiated the pope's authority, forbade the celebration of the mass and approved a Protestant Confession of Faith.

This was made possible by a revolution against French hegemony under the regime of the regent Mary of Guise , who had governed Scotland in the name of her absent daughter Mary, Queen of Scots then also Queen of France. The Scottish Reformation decisively shaped the Church of Scotland [23] and, through it, all other Presbyterian churches worldwide. A spiritual revival also broke out among Catholics soon after Martin Luther's actions, and led to the Scottish Covenanters' movement , the precursor to Scottish Presbyterianism.

This movement spread, and greatly influenced the formation of Puritanism among the Anglican Church in England. This persecution by the Catholics drove some of the Protestant Covenanter leadership out of Scotland and into France and Switzerland. Protestantism also spread from the German lands into France, where the Protestants were known as Huguenots. Though not personally interested in religious reform, Francis I reigned — initially maintained an attitude of tolerance, in accordance with his interest in the humanist movement.

Christianity in the 16th century

This changed in with the Affair of the Placards. In this act, Protestants denounced the Catholic Mass in placards that appeared across France, even reaching the royal apartments. During this time as the issue of religious faith entered into the arena of politics, Francis came to view the movement as a threat to the kingdom's stability. Following the Affair of the Placards, culprits were rounded up, at least a dozen heretics were put to death, and the persecution of Protestants increased.

Beyond the reach of the French kings in Geneva, Calvin continued to take an interest in the religious affairs of his native land including the training of ministers for congregations in France. As the number of Protestants in France increased, the number of heretics in prisons awaiting trial also grew. As an experimental approach to reduce the caseload in Normandy, a special court just for the trial of heretics was established in in the Parlement de Rouen.

Despite heavy persecution by Henry II , the Reformed Church of France , largely Calvinist in direction, made steady progress across large sections of the nation, in the urban bourgeoisie and parts of the aristocracy , appealing to people alienated by the obduracy and the complacency of the Catholic establishment.

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French Protestantism, though its appeal increased under persecution, came to acquire a distinctly political character, made all the more obvious by the noble conversions of the s. This had the effect of creating the preconditions for a series of destructive and intermittent conflicts, known as the Wars of Religion. The civil wars were helped along by the sudden death of Henry II in , which saw the beginning of a prolonged period of weakness for the French crown.

Atrocity and outrage became the defining characteristic of the time, illustrated at its most intense in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of August , when the Catholic Church annihilated between 30, and , Huguenots across France. Catholicism remained the official state religion, and the fortunes of French Protestants gradually declined over the next century, culminating in Louis XIV's Edict of Fontainebleau —which revoked the Edict of Nantes and made Catholicism the sole legal religion of France.

In response to the Edict of Fontainebleau, Frederick William of Brandenburg declared the Edict of Potsdam , giving free passage to French Huguenot refugees and tax-free status to them for 10 years. The Reformation in the Netherlands, unlike in many other countries, was not initiated by the rulers of the Seventeen Provinces but instead by multiple popular movements, which in turn were bolstered by the arrival of Protestant refugees from other parts of the continent. While the Anabaptist movement enjoyed popularity in the region in the early decades of the Reformation, Calvinism, in the form of the Dutch Reformed Church , became the dominant Protestant faith in the country from the s onward.

Harsh persecution of Protestants by the Spanish government of Philip II contributed to a desire for independence in the provinces, which led to the Eighty Years' War and eventually, the separation of the largely Protestant Dutch Republic from the Catholic-dominated Southern Netherlands , the present-day Belgium. Much of the population of Kingdom of Hungary adopted Protestantism during the 16th century.

The spread of Protestantism in the country was aided by its large ethnic German minority, which could understand and translate the writings of Martin Luther. While Lutheranism gained a foothold among the German-speaking population, Calvinism became widely accepted among ethnic Hungarians. In the more independent northwest the rulers and priests, protected by the Habsburg Monarchy which had taken the field to fight the Turks, defended the old Catholic faith.

They dragged the Protestants to prison and the stake wherever they could. Protestants likely formed a majority of Hungary's population at the close of the 16th century, but Counter-Reformation efforts in the 17th century reconverted a majority of the kingdom to Catholicism. The essence of the Counter-Reformation was a renewed conviction in traditional practices and the upholding of Catholic doctrine as the source of ecclesiastic and moral reform, and the answer to halting the spread of Protestantism.

Thus it experienced the founding of new religious orders, such as the Jesuits , the establishment of seminaries for the proper training of priests, renewed worldwide missionary activity, and the development of new yet orthodox forms of spirituality, such as that of the Spanish mystics and the French school of spirituality. The entire process was spearheaded by the Council of Trent , which clarified and reasserted doctrine, issued dogmatic definitions, and produced the Roman Catechism.


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The counter-reformation and developed a Second scholasticism , which was pitted against Lutheran scholasticism. The overall result of the Reformation was therefore to highlight distinctions of belief that had previously co-existed uneasily. Although Ireland, Spain, and France featured significantly in the Counter-Reformation, its heart was Italy and the various popes of the time, who established the Index Librorum Prohibitorum , the list of prohibited books or simply the "Index," and the Roman Inquisition , a system of juridical tribunals that prosecuted heresy and related offences.

The Papacy of St. Pius V — was known for its focus on halting heresy and worldly abuses within the Church and for its focus on improving popular piety in a determined effort to stem the appeal of Protestantism. Pius began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, charity, and hospitals, and the pontiff was known for consoling the poor and sick and supporting missionaries.

The activities of these pontiffs coincided with a rediscovery of the ancient Christian catacombs in Rome. As Diarmaid MacCulloch states, "Just as these ancient martyrs were revealed once more, Catholics were beginning to be martyred afresh, both in mission fields overseas and in the struggle to win back Protestant northern Europe: the catacombs proved to be an inspiration for many to action and to heroism.


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  5. The Council of Trent — , initiated by Pope Paul III , addressed issues of certain ecclesiastical corruptions such as simony , nepotism , and other abuses, as well as the reassertion of traditional practices and the dogmatic articulation of the traditional doctrines of the Church, such as the episcopal structure, clerical celibacy, the seven Sacraments , transubstantiation the belief that during mass the consecrated bread and wine truly become the body and blood of Christ , the veneration of relics, icons, and saints especially the Blessed Virgin Mary , the necessity of both faith and good works for salvation, the existence of purgatory and the issuance but not the sale of indulgences, etc.

    In other words, all Protestant doctrinal objections and changes were uncompromisingly rejected. The council also fostered an interest in education for parish priests to increase pastoral care.

    martin luther 95 theses in plain english

    Milan 's Archbishop Carlo Borromeo set an example by visiting the remotest parishes and instilling high standards. A protracted debate followed the council on whether the teaching of the Church Fathers more closely matched Trent or the Evangelicals. The monasteries also provided refuge to those sick of earthly life like Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor who retired to Yuste in his late years, and his son Philip II of Spain , who was functionally as close to a monastic as his regal responsibilities permitted. The issue resulted in a crisis of conscience in 16th-century Spain. In , through the leadership and preaching of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan , the first Catholics were baptized in what became the first Christian nation in Southeast Asia, the Philippines.

    They taught the Indians better farming methods and easier ways of weaving and making pottery. Because some people questioned whether the Indians were truly human and deserved baptism, Pope Paul III in the papal bull Veritas Ipsa or Sublimis Deus confirmed that the Indians were deserving people. In Europe, the Renaissance marked a period of renewed interest in ancient and classical learning.

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    It also brought a re-examination of accepted beliefs. Cathedrals and churches had long served as picture books and art galleries for millions of the uneducated. The stained glass windows, frescoes , statues, paintings and panels retold the stories of the saints and of biblical characters. The Church sponsored great Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci , who created some of the world's most famous artworks. In , a well known scholar of the age, Erasmus , wrote The Praise of Folly , a work which captured a widely held unease about corruption in the Church.

    The Papacy was questioned by councilarism expressed in the councils of Constance and the Basel. Real reforms during these ecumenical councils and the Fifth Lateran Council were attempted several times but thwarted.