The Reformation (more fully the Protestant Reformation, or the European Reformation) was a schism in Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther and continued by Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin and other Protestant Reformers in 16th-century Europe.
It is usually considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517 and lasted until the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648. It led to the division of Western Christianity into different confessions (Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist, Unitarian, etc.). By the time of its arrival, Western Christianity was only compromised in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, where Utraquist Hussitism was officially acknowledged by both the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor; in addition, various movements (including Lollards in England and Waldensians in Italy and France) were still being actively suppressed.
Although there had been earlier attempts to reform the Catholic Church – such as those of Jan Hus, Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, and Girolamo Savonarola – Luther is widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with the Ninety-five Theses. Luther began by criticising the sale of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the Bible. The Reformation incorporated doctrinal changes such as a complete reliance on Scripture as the only source of proper belief (sola scriptura) and the belief that faith in Jesus, and not good works, is the only way to obtain God's pardon for sin (sola fide). The core motivation behind these changes was theological, though many other factors played a part, including the rise of nationalism, the Western Schism that eroded loyalty to the Papacy, the perceived corruption of the Roman Curia, the impact of humanism, and the new learning of the Renaissance that questioned much traditional thought.
The initial movement in Germany diversified, and other reformers arose independently of Luther. The groundwork of the Reformation was developed by three major reformers: Luther in Wittenberg, Zwingli in Zürich and Calvin in Geneva. Depending on country, the Reformation had varying causes and different backgrounds, and also unfolded differently, than in Germany. The spread of Gutenberg's printing press provided the means for the rapid dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular. Lutheran churches were founded in Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia, and Reformed ones in Switzerland, Hungary, France, the Netherlands and Scotland. The movement influenced the Church of England after 1547, under Edward VI and Elizabeth I, although the English Reformation had begun under Henry VIII in 1534.
Reformation movements throughout continental Europe known as the Radical Reformation gave rise to various Anabaptist movements. Radical Reformers, besides forming communities outside state sanction, often employed more extreme doctrinal change, such as the rejection of the tenets of the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon. Anabaptism suffered a major blow early in the German Peasants' War and was persecuted for centuries after that. The Reformation in Transylvania led to the emergence of Unitarianism; it is historically considered an "exceptional event in church history".
The Catholic Church responded with a Counter-Reformation, initiated by the Council of Trent in 1545, and a new order, the Jesuits, founded in 1540. Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, came under the influence of Protestantism. Southern Europe remained predominantly Catholic. Central Europe became a site of a fierce conflict that culminated in the Thirty Years' War.
The oldest Protestant churches, such as the Unitas Fratrum and Moravian Church, date their origins to Jan Hus (John Huss) in the early 15th century. As it was led by a Bohemian noble majority, and recognised, for a time, by the Basel Compacts, the Hussite Reformation was Europe's first "Magisterial Reformation" because the ruling magistrates supported it, unlike the "Radical Reformation", which the state did not support.
The later Protestant Churches generally date their doctrinal separation from the Catholic Church to the 16th century. The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice. They especially objected to the teaching and the sale of indulgences, and the abuses thereof, and to simony, the selling and buying of clerical offices. The reformers saw these practices as evidence of the systemic corruption of the Church's hierarchy, which included the pope.
Execution of Jan Hus in Konstanz (1415). Western Christianity was already formally compromised in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown long before Luther with the Basel Compacts (1436) and the Religious peace of Kutná Hora (1485). Utraquist Hussitism was allowed there alongside the Roman Catholic confession. By the time the Reformation arrived, the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Margraviate of Moravia both had majority Hussite populations for decades now.
Unrest due to the Great Schism of Western Christianity (1378–1416) excited wars between princes, uprisings among the peasants, and widespread concern over corruption in the Church. New perspectives came from John Wycliffe at Oxford University and from Jan Hus at the Charles University in Prague. Hus objected to some of the practices of the Catholic Church and wanted to return the church in Bohemia and Moravia to earlier practices: liturgy in the language of the people (i.e. Czech), having lay people receive communion in both kinds (bread and wine – that is, in Latin, communio sub utraque specie), married priests, and eliminating indulgences and the concept of Purgatory. Some of these, like the use of local language as the lithurgic language, were approved by the pope as early as in the 9th century.
Hus rejected indulgences and adopted a doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone.
The Catholic Church officially concluded this debate at the Council of Constance (1414–1417) by condemning Hus, who was executed by burning despite a promise of safe-conduct. Wycliffe was posthumously condemned as a heretic and his corpse exhumed and burned in 1428. The Council of Constance confirmed and strengthened the traditional medieval conception of church and empire. The council did not address the national tensions or the theological tensions stirred up during the previous century and could not prevent schism and the Hussite Wars in Bohemia.
Pope Sixtus IV (1471–1484) established the practice of selling indulgences to be applied to the dead, thereby establishing a new stream of revenue with agents across Europe. Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503) was one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes. He was the father of seven children, including Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia. In response to papal corruption, particularly the sale of indulgences, Luther wrote The Ninety-Five Theses.
A number of theologians in the Holy Roman Empire preached reformational ideas in the 1510s, shortly before or simultaneously with Luther, including Christoph Schappeler in Memmingen (as early as 1513).
Martin Luther initiated the Reformation with his Ninety-five Theses against the Catholic Church
The Reformation is usually dated to 31 October 1517 in Wittenberg, Saxony, when Luther sent his Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the Archbishop of Mainz. The theses debated and criticised the Church and the papacy, but concentrated upon the selling of indulgences and doctrinal policies about purgatory, particular judgment, and the authority of the pope. He would later in the period 1517–1521 write works on the Catholic devotion to Virgin Mary, the intercession of and devotion to the saints, the sacraments, mandatory clerical celibacy, monasticism, further on the authority of the pope, the ecclesiastical law, censure and excommunication, the role of secular rulers in religious matters, the relationship between Christianity and the law, and good works.
Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in Switzerland under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. These two movements quickly agreed on most issues, but some unresolved differences kept them separate. Some followers of Zwingli believed that the Reformation was too conservative, and moved independently toward more radical positions, some of which survive among modern day Anabaptists. Other Protestant movements grew up along lines of mysticism or humanism, sometimes breaking from Rome or from the Protestants, or forming outside of the churches.
After this first stage of the Reformation, following the excommunication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various groups in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere.
The Reformation foundations engaged with Augustinianism; both Luther and Calvin thought along lines linked with the theological teachings of Augustine of Hippo. The Augustinianism of the reformers struggled against Pelagianism, a heresy that they perceived in the Catholic Church. In the course of this religious upheaval, the German Peasants' War of 1524–1525 swept through the Bavarian, Thuringian and Swabian principalities, including the Black Company of Florian Geier, a knight from Giebelstadt who joined the peasants in the general outrage against the Catholic hierarchy. Zwinglian and Lutheran ideas had influence with preachers within the regions that the Peasants' War occurred and upon works such as the Twelve Articles. Luther, however, condemned the revolt in writings such as Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants; Zwingli and Luther's ally Philipp Melanchthon also did not condone the uprising. Some 100,000 peasants were killed by the end of the war.
The Radical Reformation was the response to what was believed to be the corruption in the Catholic Church and the expanding Magisterial Protestant movement led by Martin Luther and many others. Beginning in Germany and Switzerland in the 16th century, the Radical Reformation gave birth to many radical Protestant groups throughout Europe. The term covers radical reformers like Thomas Müntzer and Andreas Karlstadt, groups like the Zwickau prophets, and Anabaptist groups like the Hutterites and Mennonites.
In parts of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, a majority sympathized with the Radical Reformation despite intense persecution. Although the surviving proportion of the European population that rebelled against Catholic, Lutheran and Zwinglian churches was small, Radical Reformers wrote profusely and the literature on the Radical Reformation is disproportionately large, partly as a result of the proliferation of the Radical Reformation teachings in the United States.
The Reformation was a triumph of literacy and the new printing press.[a] Luther's translation of the Bible into German was a decisive moment in the spread of literacy, and stimulated as well the printing and distribution of religious books and pamphlets. From 1517 onward, religious pamphlets flooded Germany and much of Europe.[b]
By 1530, over 10,000 publications are known, with a total of ten million copies. The Reformation was thus a media revolution. Luther strengthened his attacks on Rome by depicting a "good" against "bad" church. From there, it became clear that print could be used for propaganda in the Reformation for particular agendas. Reform writers used pre-Reformation styles, clichés and stereotypes and changed items as needed for their own purposes. Especially effective were writings in German, including Luther's translation of the Bible, his Smaller Catechism for parents teaching their children, and his Larger Catechism, for pastors.
Using the German vernacular they expressed the Apostles' Creed in simpler, more personal, Trinitarian language. Illustrations in the German Bible and in many tracts popularised Luther's ideas. Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553), the great painter patronised by the electors of Wittenberg, was a close friend of Luther, and he illustrated Luther's theology for a popular audience. He dramatised Luther's views on the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, while remaining mindful of Luther's careful distinctions about proper and improper uses of visual imagery.
The following supply-side factors have been identified as causes of the Reformation:
The following demand-side factors have been identified as causes of the Reformation:
Officially, Protestantism remained an exclusively German phenomenon that concerned only the Holy Roman Empire through the late 1510s and the 1520s. It did not became an international issue until the 1530s.
In 1517, the Reformation began with Luther and caught on instantly. Different reformers arose independently of Luther in 1518 (for example Andreas Karlstadt, Philip Melanchthon, Erhard Schnepf, Johannes Brenz and Martin Bucer), 1519 (for example Huldrych Zwingli, Nikolaus von Amsdorf, Ulrich von Hutten) and so on. Each year drew new theologians to embrace the Reformation and participate in the ongoing, European-wide discussion about faith.
The early Reformation in Germany mostly concerns the life of Martin Luther until he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X on 3 January 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. The exact moment Martin Luther realized the key doctrine of Justification by Faith is described in German as the Turmerlebnis. It is often seen as the breakthrough of the reformational ideas. In Table Talk, Luther describes it as a sudden realization. Experts often speak of a gradual process of realization between 1514 and 1518.
After the Heidelberg Disputation (1518) and the Leipzig Disputation (1519), the faith issues were more and more brought to the attention of other German theologians throughout the Empire. Other Protestant reformers arose independently from Luther almost immediately throughout Germany. The pace of the Reformation proved unstoppable already by 1520.
Reformational ideas and Protestant church services were first introduced in cities, being supported by local citizens and also some nobles. The Reformation did not receive state support until 1525. It was more of a movement among the German people between 1517 and 1525, and then also a political one beginning in 1525.
The first state to formally adopt a Protestant confession was the Duchy of Prussia (1525). Albert, Duke of Prussia formally declared Lutheranism to be the state religion. Ducal Prussia was followed by many imperial free cities and other minor imperial entities. The next sizeable territories were the Landgraviate of Hesse (1526; at the Synod of Homberg) and the Electorate of Saxony (1527; Luther's homeland), Electoral Palatinate (1530s) and the Duchy of Württemberg (1534). The reformational wave swept first the Holy Roman Empire, and then extended beyond it to the rest of the European continent.
Germany was home to the greatest number of Protestant reformers that developed the Reformation. Nearly each state that turned Protestant had their own reformers responsible for the implementation of the renewed faith and the foundation of churches. Martin Luther pioneered these activities in Electoral Saxony, where under his own supervision, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Saxony was organized and served as an example for other states.
The Reformation also spread widely throughout Europe, starting with Bohemia, in the Czech lands, and, over the next few decades, to other countries.
Austria followed the same pattern of the German-speaking states within the Holy Roman Empire, and Lutheranism became the main Protestant confession among its population. Lutheranism gained a significant following in Austria which was concentrated in the eastern half of present-day Austria, while Calvinism was less successful. Eventually the adoption of the Counter-Reformation reversed the trend.
Czech reformer and university professor Jan Hus (c. 1369–1415) became the best-known representative of the Bohemian Reformation and one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation.
Jan Hus was declared heretic and executed – burned at stake – at the Council of Constance in 1415 where he arrived voluntarily to defend his teachings.
This predominantly religious movement was propelled by social issues and strengthened Czech national awareness. In 1417, two years after the execution of Jan Hus, the Czech reformation quickly became the chief force in the country.
Hussites made up the vast majority of the population, forcing the Council of Basel to recognize in 1437 a system of two "religions" for the first time signing the Compacts of Basel for the kingdom (Catholic and Czech Ultraquism, a Hussite movement). Bohemia later also elected two Protestant kings (George of Poděbrady).
After Habsburgs took control of the region, the Hussite churches were prohibited and the kingdom partially recatholicized. Even later Lutheranism gained a substantial following, after being permitted by the Habsburgs with the continued persecution of the Czech native Hussite churches. Many Hussites thus declared themselves Lutherans.
Two churches with Hussite roots are now second and third biggest churches in the predominantly agnostic country: Czech Brethren (which gave origin to the international church known as the Moravian Church) and Czechoslovak Hussite Church.
In Switzerland, the teachings of the reformers and especially those of Zwingli and Calvin had a profound effect, despite the frequent quarrels between the different branches of the Reformation.
Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in the Swiss Confederation under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. Zwingli was a scholar and preacher who moved to Zurich – the then-leading city state – in 1518, a year after Martin Luther began the Reformation in Germany with his Ninety-five Theses. Although the two movements agreed on many issues of theology, as the recently introduced printing press spread ideas rapidly from place to place, some unresolved differences kept them separate. Long-standing resentment between the German states and the Swiss Confederation led to heated debate over how much Zwingli owed his ideas to Lutheranism. Although Zwinglianism does hold uncanny resemblance to Lutheranism (it even had its own equivalent of the Ninety-five Theses, called the 67 Conclusions), historians have been unable to prove that Zwingli had any contact with Luther's publications before 1520, and Zwingli himself maintained that he had prevented himself from reading them.
The German Prince Philip of Hesse saw potential in creating an alliance between Zwingli and Luther, seeing strength in a united Protestant front. A meeting was held in his castle in 1529, now known as the Colloquy of Marburg, which has become infamous for its complete failure. The two men could not come to any agreement due to their disputation over one key doctrine. Although Luther preached consubstantiation in the Eucharist over transubstantiation, he believed in the real presence of Christ at the Mass. Zwingli, inspired by Dutch theologian Cornelius Hoen, believed that the mass was only representative and memorial – Christ was not present. Luther became so angry that he famously carved into the meeting table in chalk Hoc Est Corpus Meum – a Biblical quotation from the Last Supper meaning 'This is my body'. Zwingli countered this saying that est in that context was the equivalent of the word significant (signifies).
Some followers of Zwingli believed that the Reformation was too conservative and moved independently toward more radical positions, some of which survive among modern day Anabaptists. One famous incident illustrating this was when radical Zwinglians fried and ate sausages during Lent in Zurich city square by way of protest against the Church teaching of good works. Other Protestant movements grew up along the lines of mysticism or humanism (cf. Erasmus), sometimes breaking from Rome or from the Protestants, or forming outside of the churches.
Following the excommunication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various groups in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere. After the expulsion of its Bishop in 1526, and the unsuccessful attempts of the Berne reformer Guillaume (William) Farel, Calvin was asked to use the organisational skill he had gathered as a student of law to discipline the "fallen city" of Geneva. His "Ordinances" of 1541 involved a collaboration of Church affairs with the City council and consistory to bring morality to all areas of life. After the establishment of the Geneva academy in 1559, Geneva became the unofficial capital of the Protestant movement, providing refuge for Protestant exiles from all over Europe and educating them as Calvinist missionaries. These missionaries dispersed Calvinism widely, and formed the French Huguenots in Calvin's own lifetime, as well as causing the conversion of Scotland under the leadership of the cantankerous John Knox in 1560. The faith continued to spread after Calvin's death in 1563 and reached as far as Constantinople by the start of the 17th century.
The Reformation foundations engaged with Augustinianism. Both Luther and Calvin thought along lines linked with the theological teachings of Augustine of Hippo. The Augustinianism of the Reformers struggled against Pelagianism, a heresy that they perceived in the Catholic Church of their day. Ultimately, since Calvin and Luther disagreed strongly on certain matters of theology (such as double-predestination and Holy Communion), the relationship between Lutherans and Calvinists was one of conflict.
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 1523. Friction with the pope over the latter's interference in Swedish ecclesiastical affairs led to the discontinuance of any official connection between Sweden and the papacy from 1523. Four years later, at the Diet of Västerås, the king succeeded in forcing the diet to accept his dominion over the national church. 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 (1523–33), 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. During his reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads among the Danish population. Frederick's son, Christian, was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his father's death. In 1536, the authority of the Catholic bishops was terminated by national assembly. The next year, following his victory in the Count's War, he became king as Christian III and continued the Reformation of the state church with assistance of Johannes Bugenhagen.
Luther's influence had already reached Iceland before King Christian's decree. The Germans fished near Iceland's coast, and the Hanseatic League engaged in commerce with the Icelanders. These Germans raised a Lutheran church in Hafnarfjörður as early as 1533. Through German trade connections, many young Icelanders studied in Hamburg. In 1538, when the kingly decree of the new Church ordinance reached Iceland, bishop Ögmundur and his clergy denounced it, threatening excommunication for anyone subscribing to the German 'heresy'. In 1539, the King sent a new governor to Iceland, Klaus von Mervitz, with a mandate to introduce reform and take possession of church property. Von Mervitz seized a monastery in Viðey with the help of his sheriff, Dietrich of Minden, and his soldiers. They drove the monks out and seized all their possessions, for which they were promptly excommunicated by Ögmundur.
The separation of the Church of England from Rome under Henry VIII, beginning in 1529 and completed in 1537, brought England alongside this broad Reformation movement; however, religious changes in the English national church proceeded more conservatively than elsewhere in Europe. Reformers in the Church of England alternated, for decades, between sympathies for ancient Catholic tradition and more Reformed principles, gradually developing, within the context of robustly Protestant doctrine, a tradition considered a middle way (via media) between the Catholic and Protestant traditions.
The English Reformation followed a different course from the Reformation in continental Europe. There had long been a strong strain of anti-clericalism. England had already given rise to the Lollard movement of John Wycliffe, which played an important part in inspiring the Hussites in Bohemia. Lollardy was suppressed and became an underground movement, so the extent of its influence in the 1520s is difficult to assess. The different character of the English Reformation came rather from the fact that it was driven initially by the political necessities of Henry VIII.
Henry had once been a sincere Catholic and had even authored a book strongly criticising Luther. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, bore him only a single child that survived infancy, Mary. Henry strongly wanted a male heir, and many of his subjects might have agreed, if only because they wanted to avoid another dynastic conflict like the Wars of the Roses.
King Henry decided to remove the Church of England from the authority of Rome. In 1534, the Act of Supremacy recognized Henry as "the only Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England". Between 1535 and 1540, under Thomas Cromwell, the policy known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries was put into effect. The veneration of some saints, certain pilgrimages and some pilgrim shrines were also attacked. Huge amounts of church land and property passed into the hands of the Crown and ultimately into those of the nobility and gentry. The vested interest thus created made for a powerful force in support of the dissolutions.
There were some notable opponents to the Henrician Reformation, such as Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher, who were executed for their opposition. There was also a growing party of reformers who were imbued with the Calvinistic, Lutheran and Zwinglian doctrines now current on the Continent. When Henry died he was succeeded by his Protestant son Edward VI, who, through his empowered councillors (with the King being only nine years old at his succession and fifteen at his death) the Duke of Somerset and the Duke of Northumberland, ordered the destruction of images in churches, and the closing of the chantries. Under Edward VI the Church of England moved closer to continental Protestantism.
Yet, at a popular level, religion in England was still in a state of flux. Following a brief Catholic restoration during the reign of Mary (1553–1558), a loose consensus developed during the reign of Elizabeth I, though this point is one of considerable debate among historians. This "Elizabethan Religious Settlement" largely formed Anglicanism into a distinctive church tradition. The compromise was uneasy and was capable of veering between extreme Calvinism on one hand and Catholicism on the other. But compared to the bloody and chaotic state of affairs in contemporary France, it was relatively successful, in part because Queen Elizabeth lived so long, until the Puritan Revolution or English Civil War in the 17th century.
The success of the Counter-Reformation on the Continent and the growth of a Puritan party dedicated to further Protestant reform polarised the Elizabethan Age, although it was not until the 1640s that England underwent religious strife comparable to what its neighbours had suffered some generations before.
The early Puritan movement (late 16th–17th centuries) was Reformed (or Calvinist) and was a movement for reform in the Church of England. Its origins lay in the discontent with the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. The desire was for the Church of England to resemble more closely the Protestant churches of Europe, especially Geneva. The Puritans objected to ornaments and ritual in the churches as idolatrous (vestments, surplices, organs, genuflection), which they castigated as "popish pomp and rags". (See Vestments controversy.) They also objected to ecclesiastical courts. Their refusal to endorse completely all of the ritual directions and formulas of the Book of Common Prayer and the imposition of its liturgical order by legal force and inspection sharpened Puritanism into a definite opposition movement.
The most famous emigration to America was the migration of Puritan separatists from the Anglican Church of England. They fled first to Holland, and then later to America to establish the English colony of Massachusetts in New England, which later became one of the original United States. These Puritan separatists were also known as "the Pilgrims". After establishing a colony at Plymouth (which became part of the colony of Massachusetts) in 1620, the Puritan pilgrims received a charter from the King of England that legitimised their colony, allowing them to do trade and commerce with merchants in England, in accordance with the principles of mercantilism. The Puritans persecuted those of other religious faiths. Quaker Mary Dyer was hanged in Boston for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony. She was one of the four executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs. Executions ceased in 1661 when King Charles II explicitly forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone for professing Quakerism. In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting any Jesuit Roman Catholic priests from entering territory under Puritan jurisdiction. Any suspected person who could not clear himself was to be banished from the colony; a second offense carried a death penalty.
The Pilgrims held radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas, and its celebration was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. The ban was revoked in 1681 by the English-appointed governor Edmund Andros, who also revoked a Puritan ban on festivities on Saturday nights. Nevertheless, it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston region.
Bishop Richard Davies and dissident Protestant cleric John Penry introduced Calvinist theology to Wales. In 1588, the Bishop of Llandaff published the entire Bible in the Welsh language. The translation had a significant impact upon the Welsh population and helped to firmly establish Protestantism among the Welsh people. The Welsh Protestants used the model of the Synod of Dort of 1618–1619. Calvinism developed through the Puritan period, following the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, and within Wales' Calvinistic Methodist movement. However few copies of Calvin's writings were available before mid-19th century.
The Reformation in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the establishment of a 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 1560 repudiated the pope's authority by the Papal Jurisdiction Act 1560, forbade the celebration of the Mass and approved a Protestant Confession of Faith. It 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).
Although Protestantism triumphed relatively easily in Scotland, the exact form of Protestantism remained to be determined. The 17th century saw a complex struggle between Presbyterianism (particularly the Covenanters) and Episcopalianism. The Presbyterians eventually won control of the Church of Scotland, which went on to have an important influence on Presbyterian churches worldwide, but Scotland retained a relatively large Episcopalian minority.
Protestantism also spread from the German lands into France, where the Protestants were nicknamed Huguenots; this eventually led to decades of civil warfare.
Though not personally interested in religious reform, Francis I (reigned 1515–1547) initially maintained an attitude of tolerance, in accordance with his interest in the humanist movement. This changed in 1534 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. One of those who fled France at that time was John Calvin, who emigrated to Basel in 1535 before eventually settling in Geneva in 1536. 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 1545 in the Parlement de Rouen. When Henry II took the throne in 1547, the persecution of Protestants grew and special courts for the trial of heretics were also established in the Parlement de Paris. These courts came to known as "La Chambre Ardente" ("the fiery chamber") because of their reputation of meting out death penalties on burning gallows.
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.
French Protestantism, though its appeal increased under persecution, came to acquire a distinctly political character, made all the more obvious by the conversions of nobles during the 1550s. This established the preconditions for a series of destructive and intermittent conflicts, known as the Wars of Religion. The civil wars gained impetus with the sudden death of Henry II in 1559, which began a prolonged period of weakness for the French crown. Atrocity and outrage became the defining characteristics of the time, illustrated at their most intense in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of August 1572, when the Catholic party annihilated between 30,000 and 100,000 Huguenots across France. The wars only concluded when Henry IV, himself a former Huguenot, issued the Edict of Nantes (1598), promising official toleration of the Protestant minority, but under highly restricted conditions. 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 (1685), which revoked the Edict of Nantes and made Catholicism the sole legal religion of France, leading some Huguenots to live as Nicodemites. In response to the Edict of Fontainebleau, Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg declared the Edict of Potsdam (October 1685), giving free passage to Huguenot refugees and tax-free status to them for ten years.
In the late 17th century many Huguenots fled to England, the Netherlands, Prussia, Switzerland, and the English and Dutch overseas colonies. A significant community in France remained in the Cévennes region. A separate Protestant community, of the Lutheran faith, existed in the newly conquered (1639– ) province of Alsace, its status not affected by the Edict of Fontainebleau.
In the early 16th century, Spain had a different political and cultural milieu from its Western and Central European neighbors in several respects, which affected the mentality and the reaction of the nation towards the Reformation. Spain, which had only recently managed to complete the reconquest of the Peninsula from the Moors in 1492, had been preoccupied with converting the Muslim and Jewish population of the newly conquered regions through the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition in 1478. The rulers of the nation stressed political, cultural, and religious unity, and by the time of the Lutheran Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition was already 40 years old and had the capability of quickly dealing with any new movement that the Catholic Church perceived or interpreted to be religious heterodoxy. Charles V did not wish to see Spain or the rest of Habsburg Europe divided, and in light of continual threat from the Ottomans, preferred to see the Catholic Church reform itself from within. This led to a Counter-Reformation in Spain in the 1530s. During the 1520s, the Spanish Inquisition had created an atmosphere of suspicion and sought to root out any religious thought seen as suspicious. As early as 1521, the Pope had written a letter to the Spanish monarchy warning against allowing the unrest in Northern Europe to be replicated in Spain. Between 1520 and 1550, printing presses in Spain were tightly controlled and any books of Protestant teaching were prohibited.
Between 1530 and 1540, Protestantism in Spain was still able to gain followers clandestinely, and in cities such as Seville and Valladolid adherents would secretly meet at private houses to pray and study the Bible. Protestants in Spain were estimated at between 1000 and 3000, mainly among intellectuals who had seen writings such as those of Erasmus. Notable reformers included Dr. Juan Gil and Juan Pérez de Pineda who subsequently fled and worked alongside others such as Francisco de Enzinas to translate the Greek New Testament into the Spanish language, a task completed by 1556. Protestant teachings were smuggled into Spain by Spaniards such as Julián Hernández, who in 1557 was condemned by the Inquisition and burnt at the stake. Under Philip II, conservatives in the Spanish church tightened their grip, and those who refused to recant such as Rodrigo de Valer were condemned to life imprisonment. In May 1559, sixteen Spanish Lutherans were burnt at the stake: fourteen were strangled before being burnt, while two were burnt alive. In October another thirty were executed. Spanish Protestants who were able to flee the country were to be found in at least a dozen cities in Europe, such as Geneva, where some of them embraced Calvinist teachings. Those who fled to England were given support by the Church of England.
The Kingdom of Navarre, although by the time of the Protestant Reformation a minor principality territorially restricted to southern France, had French Huguenot monarchs, including Henry IV of France and his mother, Jeanne III of Navarre, a devout Calvinist.
Upon the arrival of the Protestant Reformation, Calvinism reached some Basques through the translation of the Bible into the Basque language by Joanes Leizarraga. As Queen of Navarre, Jeanne III commissioned the translation of the New Testament into Basque[c] and Béarnese for the benefit of her subjects.
The Reformation did not succeed in Portugal, as its spread was frustrated for similar reasons to those in Spain.
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 1560s onward. In the early 17th century internal theological conflict within the Calvinist church between two tendencies of Calvinism, the Gomarists and the liberal Arminians (or Remonstrants), resulted in Gomarist Calvinism becoming the de facto state religion.
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 (present-day Belgium).
In 1566, at the peak of Belgian Reformation, there were an estimated 300,000 Protestants, or 20% of the Belgian population.
Luxembourg, a part of the Spanish Netherlands, remained Catholic.
Much of the population of the Kingdom of Hungary adopted Protestantism during the 16th century. After the 1526 Battle of Mohács, the Hungarian people were disillusioned by the inability of the government to protect them and turned to the faith they felt would infuse them with the strength necessary to resist the invader. They found this in the teaching of Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther. The spread of Protestantism in the country was assisted by its large ethnic German minority, which could understand and translate the writings of Martin Luther. While Lutheranism gained a foothold among the German- and Slovak-speaking populations, Calvinism became widely accepted among ethnic Hungarians.
In the more independent northwest, the rulers and priests, protected now 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. Such strong measures only fanned the flames of protest, however. Leaders of the Protestants included Mátyás Dévai Bíró, Mihály Sztárai, István Szegedi Kis, and Ferenc Dávid.
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. A significant Protestant minority remained, most of it adhering to the Calvinist faith.
In 1558 the Transylvanian Diet of Turda decreed the free practice of both the Catholic and Lutheran religions, but prohibited Calvinism. Ten years later, in 1568, the Diet extended this freedom, declaring that "It is not allowed to anybody to intimidate anybody with captivity or expulsion for his religion". Four religions were declared to be "accepted" (recepta) religions (the fourth being Unitarianism, which became official in 1583 as the faith of the only Unitarian king, John II Sigismund Zápolya, r. 1540–1571), while Eastern Orthodox Christianity was "tolerated" (though the building of stone Orthodox churches was forbidden). During the Thirty Years' War, Royal (Habsburg) Hungary joined the Catholic side, until Transylvania joined the Protestant side.
Between 1604 and 1711, there was a series of anti-Habsburg uprisings calling for equal rights and freedom for all Christian denominations, with varying success; the uprisings were usually organised from Transylvania. The Habsburg-sanctioned Counter-Reformation efforts in the 17th century reconverted the majority of the kingdom to Catholicism.
The centre of Protestant learning in Hungary has for some centuries been the University of Debrecen. Founded in 1538, the University was situated in an area of Eastern Hungary under Ottoman Turkish rule during the 1600s and 1700s, being allowed Islamic toleration and thus avoiding Counter-Reformation persecution.
Transylvania in what is today's Romania was destined to be a "dumping ground for undesirables" by the Habsburg monarchy. People who did not comfort the Habsburgs and the Catholic Church were forcibly sent there. Centuries of this practice allowed diverse Protestant traditions to emerge in Romania, including Lutheranism, Calvinism and Unitarianism.
Calvinism was popular among Hungarians who inhabited the southwestern parts of the present-day Ukraine. Their descendants are still there, see the Sub-Carpathian Reformed Church. There were also Calvinists in the northwestern parts of the country, but any traces of Protestantism were then erased by the Counter-Reformation in Poland.
The Reformation in Ireland was a movement for the reform of religious life and institutions that was introduced into Ireland by the English administration at the behest of King Henry VIII of England. His desire for an annulment of his marriage was known as the King's Great Matter. Ultimately Pope Clement VII refused the petition; consequently it became necessary for the King to assert his lordship over the Catholic Church in his realm to give legal effect to his wishes. The English Parliament confirmed the King's supremacy over the Church in the Kingdom of England. This challenge to Papal supremacy resulted in a breach with the Catholic Church. By 1541, the Irish Parliament had agreed to the change in status of the country from that of a Lordship to that of Kingdom of Ireland.
Unlike similar movements for religious reform on the continent of Europe, the various phases of the English Reformation as it developed in Ireland were largely driven by changes in government policy, to which public opinion in England gradually accommodated itself. However, a number of factors complicated the adoption of the religious innovations in Ireland; the majority of the population there adhered to the Catholic Church. However, in the city of Dublin the reformation took hold under the auspices of George Browne.
Word of the Protestant reformers reached Italy in the 1520s but never caught on. Its development was stopped by the Counter-Reformation, the Inquisition and also popular disinterest. Not only was the Church highly aggressive in seeking out and suppressing heresy, but there was a shortage of Protestant leadership. No one translated the Bible into Italian; few tracts were written. No core of Protestantism emerged. The few preachers who did take an interest in "Lutheranism," as it was called in Italy, were suppressed or went into exile to northern countries where their message was well received. As a result, the Reformation exerted almost no lasting influence in Italy, except for strengthening the Catholic Church and motivating the Counter-Reformation.
Some Protestants left Italy and became outstanding activists of the European Reformation, mainly in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (e.g. Giorgio Biandrata, Bernardino Ochino, Giovanni Alciato, Giovanni Battista Cetis, Fausto Sozzini, Francesco Stancaro and Giovanni Valentino Gentile), who propagated Nontrinitarianism there and were chief instigators of the movement of Polish Brethren. Some also fled to England and Switzerland, including Peter Vermigli.
In 1532, the Waldensians, who had been already present centuries before the Reformation, aligned themselves and adopted the Calvinist theology. The Waldensian Church survived in the Western Alps through many persecutions and remains a Protestant church in Italy.
In the first half of the 16th century, the enormous Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a country of many creeds, but Catholicism remained the dominating religion. Reformation reached Poland in the 1520s and quickly gained popularity among mostly German-speaking inhabitants of such major cities as Danzig (now Gdańsk), Thorn (now Toruń) and Elbing (now Elbląg). In Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), in 1530, a Polish-language edition of Luther's Small Catechism was published. The Duchy of Prussia, which was a Polish fief, emerged as a key center of the movement, with numerous publishing houses issuing not only Bibles, but also catechisms, in German, Polish and Lithuanian.
Lutheranism gained popularity in the northern part of the country, while Calvinism caught the interest of the nobility (known as szlachta), mainly in Lesser Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Several publishing houses were opened in Lesser Poland in the mid-16th century in such locations as Słomniki and Raków. At that time, Mennonites and Czech Brothers came to Poland, with the latter settling mostly in Greater Poland around Leszno. In 1565, the Polish Brethren appeared as yet another reformation movement.
The Commonwealth was unique in Europe in the 16th century for its widespread tolerance confirmed by the Warsaw Confederation. In 1563, the Brest Bible was published (see also Bible translations into Polish). The period of tolerance ended during the reign of King Sigismund III Vasa, who was under the strong influence of Piotr Skarga and other Jesuits. After the Deluge, and other wars of the mid-17th century in which all enemies of Poland were either Protestant or Orthodox Christians, the Poles' attitude changed, and the Counter-Reformation prevailed: in 1658 the Polish Brethren were forced to leave the country, and in 1666, the Sejm banned apostasy from Catholicism to any other religion, under punishment of death. Finally, in 1717, the Silent Sejm banned non-Catholics from becoming deputies of the Parliament.
Primož Trubar is notable for consolidating the Slovene language and is considered to be the key figure of Slovenian cultural history and in many aspects a major Slovene historical personality. He was the key figure of the Protestant Church of the Slovene Lands, as he was its founder and its first superintendent. The first books in Slovene, Catechismus and Abecedarium, were written by Trubar.
At one point in history, the majority of Slovaks (~60%) were Lutherans. Calvinism was popular among the Hungarians who inhabited the southernmost parts of what is now Slovakia. Back then, Slovakia used to be a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. The Counter-Reformation implemented by the Habsburgs severely damaged Slovakian Protestantism, although in the 2010s Protestants are still a substantial minority (~10%) in the country.
Lutheranism reached northern parts of the country.
The Protestant teachings of the Western Church were also briefly adopted within the Eastern Orthodox Church through the Greek Patriarch Cyril Lucaris in 1629 with the publishing of the Confessio (Calvinistic doctrine) in Geneva. Motivating factors in their decision to adopt aspects of the Reformation included the historical rivalry and mistrust between the Greek Orthodox and Catholic church along with their concerns of Jesuit priests entering Greek lands in their attempts to propagate the teachings of the Counter-Reformation to the Greek populace. He subsequently sponsored Maximos of Gallipoli's translation of the New Testament into the Modern Greek language and it was published in Geneva in 1638. Upon Lucaris's death in 1638, the conservative factions within the Eastern Orthodox Church held two synods: the Synod of Constantinople (1638) and Synod of Jassy (1642) criticizing the reforms and in the 1672 convocation led by Dositheos, they officially condemned the Calvinistic doctrines.
The Reformation spread throughout Europe beginning in 1517, reaching its peak between 1545 and 1620, and ending in 1648.
The high point of the Reformation occurred at some point between 1545 and 1620. In 1545, it was first considered a serious threat to the Catholic Church and the Papacy at the Council of Trent, prompting counterreformational measures by Catholic religious hierarchy. In 1620, the Battle of White Mountain put an end to Protestantism in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). The Thirty Years' War began in 1618 and brought a drastic territorial and demographic decline when the House of Habsburg introduced counterreformational measures throughout their vast possessions in Central Europe.
In 1545, the Council of Trent officially launched the Counter-Reformation against Protestantism in Europe to restore unity in the Catholic Church. This effort concluded in 1648, as did the Reformation itself. Common historical consensus holds that the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation both ended in 1648, when the Thirty Years' War concluded with the Peace of Westphalia.
There is no universal agreement on the exact or approximate date the Reformation ended. Various interpretations emphasize different dates, entire periods, or argue that the Reformation never really ended. However, there are a few popular interpretations that are used by large groups of observers.
The Reformation led to a series of religious wars that culminated in the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), which devastated much of Germany, killing between 25% and 40% of its entire population. Catholic House of Habsburg and its allies fought against the Protestant princes of Germany, supported at various times by Denmark, Sweden and France. The Habsburgs, who ruled Spain, Austria, the Crown of Bohemia, Hungary, Slovene Lands, the Spanish Netherlands and much of Germany and Italy, were staunch defenders of the Catholic Church. Some historians believe that the era of the Reformation came to a close when Catholic France allied itself with Protestant states against the Habsburg dynasty. For the first time since the days of Martin Luther, political and national convictions again outweighed religious convictions in Europe.
Two main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War, were:
The treaty also effectively ended the Papacy's pan-European political power. Pope Innocent X declared the treaty "null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all times" in his bull Zelo Domus Dei. European sovereigns, Catholic and Protestant alike, ignored his verdict.
Margaret C. Jacob argues that there has been a dramatic shift in the historiography of the Reformation. Until the 1960s, historians focused their attention largely on the great leaders and theologians of the 16th century, especially Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. Their ideas were studied in depth. However, the rise of the new social history in the 1960s look at history from the bottom up, not from the top down. Historians began to concentrate on the values, beliefs and behavior of the people at large. She finds, "in contemporary scholarship, the Reformation is now seen as a vast cultural upheaval, a social and popular movement, textured and rich because of its diversity."
Partly due to Martin Luther's love for music, music became important in Lutheranism. The study and practice of music was encouraged in Protestant-majority countries. Songs such as the Lutheran hymns, or the Calvinist Psalter became tools for the spread of Protestant ideas and beliefs, as well as identity flags. Similar attitudes developed among Catholics, who in turn encouraged the creation and use of music for religious purposes.
The Archdiocese of Glasgow was one of the thirteen (after 1633 fourteen) dioceses of the Scottish church. It was the second largest diocese in the Kingdom of Scotland, including Clydesdale, Teviotdale, parts of Tweeddale, Liddesdale, Annandale, Nithsdale, Cunninghame, Kyle, and Strathgryfe, as well as Lennox, Carrick and the part of Galloway known as Desnes.
Glasgow became an archbishopric in 1492, eventually securing the dioceses of Galloway, Argyll and the Isles as suffragans. The Scottish church broke its allegiance to Rome in 1560, but bishops continued intermittently until 1689.Christianity
Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Most Christians get baptized, celebrate the Lord's Supper, pray the Lord's Prayer and other prayers, have clergy, and attend group worship services.
Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their successors, the Apostolic Fathers, spread the religion across large parts of the Middle East, Europe, Ethiopia, Transcaucasia, and some other parts of Asia, despite initial persecution. The Roman emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it in the Edict of Milan (313). He convened the First Council of Nicaea (325), where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state religion of the Roman Empire (380). The council formulated the Nicene Creed (325), and the Church Fathers supervised the compilation of the Christian Bible (5th century). The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology. The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism (1054), especially over the authority of the Pope. Similarly, in 1521 Protestants were excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation and other ecclesiological and theological disputes.Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization, particularly around Europe during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity was spread into the Americas, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization.It is the world's most populous religious group, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, comprising a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries in the world.
Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion), Protestantism (920 million), the Eastern Orthodox Church (260 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (86 million).Church of England
The Church of England (C of E) is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.The English church renounced papal authority when Henry VIII failed to secure an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in 1534. The English Reformation accelerated under Edward VI's regents, before a brief restoration of papal authority under Queen Mary I and King Philip. The Act of Supremacy 1558 renewed the breach, and the Elizabethan Settlement charted a course enabling the English church to describe itself as both catholic and reformed:
catholic in that it views itself as a part of the universal church of Jesus Christ in unbroken continuity with the early apostolic church. This is expressed in its emphasis on the teachings of the early Church Fathers, as formalised in the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian creeds.
reformed in that it has been shaped by some of the doctrinal principles of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, in particular in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer.In the earlier phase of the English Reformation there were both Catholic martyrs and radical Protestant martyrs. The later phases saw the Penal Laws punish Roman Catholic and nonconforming Protestants. In the 17th century, the Puritan and Presbyterian factions continued to challenge the leadership of the Church which under the Stuarts veered towards a more catholic interpretation of the Elizabethan Settlement especially under Archbishop Laud and the rise of the concept of Anglicanism as the via media. After the victory of the Parliamentarians the Prayer Book was abolished and the Presbyterian and Independent factions dominated. The Episcopacy was abolished. The Restoration restored the Church of England, episcopacy and the Prayer Book. Papal recognition of George III in 1766 led to greater religious tolerance.
Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has used a liturgy in English. The church contains several doctrinal strands, the main three known as Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical and Broad Church. Tensions between theological conservatives and progressives find expression in debates over the ordination of women and homosexuality. The church includes both liberal and conservative clergy and members.The governing structure of the church is based on dioceses, each presided over by a bishop. Within each diocese are local parishes. The General Synod of the Church of England is the legislative body for the church and comprises bishops, other clergy and laity. Its measures must be approved by both Houses of Parliament.Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation (Latin: Contrareformatio), also called the Catholic Reformation (Latin: Reformatio Catholica) or the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation. It began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and ended with the 1781 Patent of Toleration. Initiated to preserve the power, influence and material wealth enjoyed by the Catholic Church and to present a theological and material challenge to Reformation, the Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort composed of five major elements:
Defense of Catholic sacramental practice;
Ecclesiastical or structural reconfiguration;
Political dimensionsSuch reforms included the foundation of seminaries for the proper training of priests in the spiritual life and the theological traditions of the church, the reform of religious life by returning orders to their spiritual foundations, and new spiritual movements focusing on the devotional life and a personal relationship with Christ, including the Spanish mystics and the French school of spirituality.It also involved political activities that included the Roman Inquisition and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Protestants. One primary emphasis of the Counter-Reformation was a mission to reach parts of the world that had been colonized as predominantly Catholic and also try to reconvert areas such as Sweden and England that were at one time Catholic, but had been Protestantized during the Reformation.Various Counter-Reformation theologians focused only on defending doctrinal positions such as the sacraments and pious practices that were attacked by the Protestant reformers, up to the Second Vatican Council in 1962–1965. One of the "most dramatic moments" at that council was the intervention of Belgian Bishop Émile-Joseph De Smed when, during the debate on the nature of the church, he called for an end to the "triumphalism, clericalism, and juridicism" that had typified the church in the previous centuries.Key events of the period include: the Council of Trent (1545–1563); the excommunication of Elizabeth I (1570) and the Battle of Lepanto (1571), both occurring during the pontificate of Pius V; the construction of the Gregorian observatory, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, and the Jesuit China mission of Matteo Ricci under Pope Gregory XIII; the French Wars of Religion; the Long Turkish War and the execution of Giordano Bruno in 1600, under Pope Clement VIII; the birth of the Lyncean Academy of the Papal States, of which the main figure was Galileo Galilei (later put on trial); the final phases of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) during the pontificates of Urban VIII and Innocent X; and the formation of the last Holy League by Innocent XI during the Great Turkish War.Edward VI of England
Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, and England's first monarch to be raised as a Protestant. During his reign, the realm was governed by a regency council because he never reached his majority. The council was first led by his uncle Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (1547–1549), and then by John Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick (1550–1553), who from 1551 was Duke of Northumberland.
Edward's reign was marked by economic problems and social unrest that in 1549 erupted into riot and rebellion. An expensive war with Scotland, at first successful, ended with military withdrawal from Scotland and Boulogne-sur-Mer in exchange for peace. The transformation of the Church of England into a recognisably Protestant body also occurred under Edward, who took great interest in religious matters. Although his father, Henry VIII, had severed the link between the Church and Rome, Henry VIII had never permitted the renunciation of Catholic doctrine or ceremony. It was during Edward's reign that Protestantism was established for the first time in England with reforms that included the abolition of clerical celibacy and the Mass, and the imposition of compulsory services in English.
In February 1553, at age 15, Edward fell ill. When his sickness was discovered to be terminal, he and his Council drew up a "Devise for the Succession", to prevent the country's return to Catholicism. Edward named his first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey, as his heir, excluding his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. This decision was disputed following Edward's death, and Jane was deposed by Mary nine days after becoming queen. During her reign, Mary reversed Edward's Protestant reforms, which nonetheless became the basis of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement of 1559.English Reformation
The English Reformation was a series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider process of the European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement that affected the practice of Christianity across western and central Europe during this period. Many factors contributed to the process: the decline of feudalism and the rise of nationalism, the rise of the common law, the invention of the printing press and increased circulation of the Bible, and the transmission of new knowledge and ideas among scholars, the upper and middle classes and readers in general. However, the various phases of the English Reformation, which also covered Wales and Ireland, were largely driven by changes in government policy, to which public opinion gradually accommodated itself.
Based on Henry VIII's desire for an annulment of his marriage (first requested of Pope Clement VII in 1527), the English Reformation was at the outset more of a political affair than a theological dispute. The reality of political differences between Rome and England allowed growing theological disputes to come to the fore. Until the break with Rome, it was the Pope and general councils of the Church that decided doctrine. Church law was governed by canon law with final jurisdiction in Rome. Church taxes were paid straight to Rome, and the Pope had the final word in the appointment of bishops.
The break with Rome was effected by a series of acts of Parliament passed between 1532 and 1534, among them the 1534 Act of Supremacy, which declared that Henry was the "Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England". (This title was renounced by Mary I in 1553 in the process of restoring papal jurisdiction; when Elizabeth I reasserted the royal supremacy in 1559, her title was Supreme Governor.) Final authority in doctrinal and legal disputes now rested with the monarch, and the papacy was deprived of revenue and the final say on the appointment of bishops.
The theology and liturgy of the Church of England became markedly Protestant during the reign of Henry's son Edward VI largely along lines laid down by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Under Mary, the whole process was reversed and the Church of England was again placed under papal jurisdiction. Soon after, Elizabeth reintroduced the Protestant faith but in a more moderate manner. The structure and theology of the church was a matter of fierce dispute for generations.
The violent aspect of these disputes, manifested in the English Civil Wars, ended when the last Roman Catholic monarch, James II, was deposed, and Parliament asked William III and Mary II to rule jointly in conjunction with the English Bill of Rights in 1688 (in the "Glorious Revolution"), from which emerged a church polity with an established church and a number of non-conformist churches whose members at first suffered various civil disabilities that were removed over time. The legacy of the past Roman Catholic Establishment remained an issue for some time, and still exists today. A substantial minority remained Roman Catholic in England, and in an effort to disestablish it from British systems, their church organisation remained illegal until the 19th century.History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christendom, and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present.
Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity spread to all of Europe in the Middle Ages. Since the Renaissance era, Christianity has expanded throughout the world and become the world's largest religion. Today there are more than two billion Christians worldwide.Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the social belief in the importance of the destruction of icons and other images or monuments, most frequently for religious or political reasons. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any individual who challenges "cherished beliefs or venerated institutions on the grounds that they are erroneous or pernicious".Conversely, one who reveres or venerates religious images is called (by iconoclasts) an iconolater; in a Byzantine context, such a person is called an iconodule or iconophile.
The term does not generally encompass the specific destruction of images of a ruler after his death or overthrow (damnatio memoriae).
Iconoclasm may be carried out by people of a different religion, but is often the result of sectarian disputes between factions of the same religion. Within Christianity, iconoclasm has generally been motivated by those who adopt a literal interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which forbid the making and worshipping of "graven images or any likeness of anything". The later Church Fathers identified Jews, fundamental iconoclasts, with heresy and saw deviations from orthodox Christianity and opposition to the veneration of images as heresies that were essentially "Jewish in spirit". The degree of iconoclasm among Christian branches greatly varies. Islam, in general, tends to be more iconoclastic than Christianity, with Sunni Islam being more iconoclastic than Shia Islam.Inquisition
The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the government system of the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. It started in 12th-century France to combat religious dissent, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians. Other groups investigated later included the Spiritual Franciscans, the Hussites (followers of Jan Hus) and the Beguines. Beginning in the 1250s, inquisitors were generally chosen from members of the Dominican Order, replacing the earlier practice of using local clergy as judges. The term Medieval Inquisition covers these courts up to mid-15th century.
During the Late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, the concept and scope of the Inquisition significantly expanded in response to the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. It expanded to other European countries, resulting in the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition. The Spanish and Portuguese operated inquisitorial courts throughout their empires in Africa, Asia, and the Americas (resulting in the Peruvian Inquisition and Mexican Inquisition). The Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions focused particularly on the issue of Jewish anusim and Muslim converts to Catholicism, partly because these minority groups were more numerous in Spain and Portugal than in many other parts of Europe, and partly because they were often considered suspect due to the assumption that they had secretly reverted to their previous religions.
With the exception of the Papal States, the institution of the Inquisition was abolished in the early 19th century, after the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the Spanish American wars of independence in the Americas. The institution survived as part of the Roman Curia, but in 1908 it was renamed the "Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office". In 1965 it became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.John Knox
John Knox (c. 1513 – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the country's Reformation. He was the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
Born in Giffordgate, Knox is believed to have been educated at the University of St Andrews and worked as a notary-priest. Influenced by early church reformers such as George Wishart, he joined the movement to reform the Scottish church. He was caught up in the ecclesiastical and political events that involved the murder of Cardinal David Beaton in 1546 and the intervention of the regent of Scotland Mary of Guise, a French noblewoman. He was taken prisoner by French forces the following year and exiled to England on his release in 1549.
While in exile, Knox was licensed to work in the Church of England, where he rose in the ranks to serve King Edward VI of England as a royal chaplain. He exerted a reforming influence on the text of the Book of Common Prayer. In England, he met and married his first wife, Margery Bowes. When Mary Tudor ascended the throne of England and re-established Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country. Knox moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt. In Geneva, he met John Calvin, from whom he gained experience and knowledge of Reformed theology and Presbyterian polity. He created a new order of service, which was eventually adopted by the reformed church in Scotland. He left Geneva to head the English refugee church in Frankfurt but he was forced to leave over differences concerning the liturgy, thus ending his association with the Church of England.
On his return to Scotland, Knox led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Protestant nobility. The movement may be seen as a revolution, since it led to the ousting of Mary of Guise, who governed the country in the name of her young daughter Mary, Queen of Scots. Knox helped write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church, the Kirk. He continued to serve as the religious leader of the Protestants throughout Mary's reign. In several interviews with the Queen, Knox admonished her for supporting Catholic practices. When she was imprisoned for her alleged role in the murder of her husband Lord Darnley and King James VI was enthroned in her stead, Knox openly called for her execution. He continued to preach until his final days.John Maguire (archbishop of Glasgow)
John Aloysius Maguire (1851–1920) was a Roman Catholic bishop who served as the Archbishop of Glasgow from 1902 to 1920.John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe (; also spelled Wyclif, Wycliff, Wiclef, Wicliffe, Wickliffe; 1320s – 31 December 1384), was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, English priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford, became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism.
Wycliffe attacked the privileged status of the clergy, which had bolstered their powerful role in England. He then attacked the luxury and pomp of local parishes and their ceremonies.Wycliffe also advocated translation of the Bible into the vernacular. In 1382 he completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English – a version now known as Wycliffe's Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe's Bible appears to have been completed by 1384, additional updated versions being done by Wycliffe's assistant John Purvey and others in 1388 and 1395.
Wycliffe's followers, known as Lollards, followed his lead in advocating predestination, iconoclasm, and the notion of caesaropapism, while attacking the veneration of saints, the sacraments, requiem masses, transubstantiation, monasticism, and the very existence of the Papacy.
Beginning in the 16th century, the Lollard movement was regarded as the precursor to the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe was accordingly characterised as the evening star of scholasticism and as the morning star of the English Reformation. Wycliffe's writings in Latin greatly influenced the philosophy and teaching of the Czech reformer Jan Hus (c. 1369–1415), whose execution in 1415 sparked a revolt and led to the Hussite Wars
of 1419–1434.Martin Luther
Martin Luther, (; German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ]; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.
Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. He came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church; in particular, he disputed the view on indulgences. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor.
Luther taught that salvation and, consequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds but are received only as the free gift of God's grace through the believer's faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority and office of the Pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge, and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those who identify with these, and all of Luther's wider teachings, are called Lutherans, though Luther insisted on Christian or Evangelical (German: evangelisch) as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ.
His translation of the Bible into the German vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible to the laity, an event that had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible. His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry.In two of his later works, Luther expressed antagonistic views towards Jews. His rhetoric was not directed at Jews alone, but also towards Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and nontrinitarian Christians. Luther died in 1546, with his decree of excommunication by Pope Leo X still effective.Meiji Restoration
The Meiji Restoration (明治維新, Meiji Ishin), also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was an event that restored practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were ruling Emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities and consolidated the political system under the Emperor of Japan.The goals of the restored government were expressed by the new Emperor in the Charter Oath. The Restoration led to enormous changes in Japan's political and social structure and spanned both the late Edo period (often called the Bakumatsu) and the beginning of the Meiji period.Ninety-five Theses
The Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences is a list of propositions for an academic disputation written in 1517 by Martin Luther, professor of moral theology at the University of Wittenberg, Germany, that started the Reformation, a schism in the Roman Catholic Church which profoundly changed Europe. They advanced Luther's positions against what he saw as the abuse of the practice of clergy selling plenary indulgences, which were certificates believed to reduce the temporal punishment in purgatory for sins committed by the purchasers or their loved ones. In the Theses, Luther claimed that the repentance required by Christ in order for sins to be forgiven involves inner spiritual repentance rather than merely external sacramental confession. He argued that indulgences led Christians to avoid true repentance and sorrow for sin, believing that they could forgo it by purchasing an indulgence. They also, according to Luther, discouraged Christians from giving to the poor and performing other acts of mercy, believing that indulgence certificates were more spiritually valuable. Though Luther claimed that his positions on indulgences accorded with those of the Pope, the Theses challenge a 14th-century papal bull stating that the pope could use the treasury of merit and the good deeds of past saints to forgive temporal punishment for sins. The Theses are framed as propositions to be argued in debate rather than necessarily representing Luther's opinions, but Luther later clarified his views in the Explanations of the Disputation Concerning the Value of Indulgences.
Luther sent the Theses enclosed with a letter to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz, on 31 October 1517, a date now considered the start of the Reformation and commemorated annually as Reformation Day. Luther may have also posted the Theses on the door of All Saints' Church and other churches in Wittenberg, in accordance with University custom, on 31 October or in mid-November. The Theses were quickly reprinted, translated, and distributed throughout Germany and Europe. They initiated a pamphlet war with the indulgence preacher Johann Tetzel, which spread Luther's fame even further. Luther's ecclesiastical superiors had him tried for heresy, which culminated in his excommunication in 1521. Though the Theses were the start of the Reformation, Luther did not consider indulgences to be as important as other theological matters which would divide the church, such as justification by faith alone and the bondage of the will. His breakthrough on these issues would come later, and he did not see the writing of the Theses as the point at which his beliefs diverged from those of Rome.Protestantism
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Ever since, Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone (sola fide) rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone (rather than with sacred tradition) in faith and morals (sola scriptura). The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers. However, the term derives from the letter of protestation from German Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict of the Diet of Speyer condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, and Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider, lasting, and modern movement. In the 16th century, Lutheranism spread from Germany into Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, and Iceland. Reformed (or Calvinist) denominations spread in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland and France by reformers such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Knox. The political separation of the Church of England from the pope under King Henry VIII began Anglicanism, bringing England and Wales into this broad Reformation movement.Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, and many other fields.Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or Oriental Orthodoxy. Without structural unity or central human authority, Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church, in contrast to the Roman Catholic view of the Catholic Church as the visible one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Some denominations do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country. A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Baptists, Reformed, Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, evangelical, charismatic, independent and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Proponents of the branch theory consider Protestantism one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy (both Eastern and Oriental).Radical Reformation
The Radical Reformation was the response to what was believed to be the corruption in both the Roman Catholic Church and the expanding Magisterial Protestant movement led by Martin Luther and many others. Beginning in Germany and Switzerland in the 16th century, the Radical Reformation gave birth to many radical Protestant groups throughout Europe. The term covers both radical reformers like Thomas Müntzer, Andreas Karlstadt, groups like the Zwickau prophets and Anabaptist groups like the Hutterites and Mennonites.
In parts of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, a majority sympathized with the Radical Reformation despite intense persecution. Although the surviving proportion of the European population that rebelled against Catholic, Lutheran and Zwinglian churches was small, Radical Reformers wrote profusely and the literature on the Radical Reformation is disproportionately large, partly as a result of the proliferation of the Radical Reformation teachings in the United States.Reformation in Denmark–Norway and Holstein
The Reformation in Denmark–Norway and Holstein was the transition from Catholicism to Lutheranism in the realms ruled by the Danish-based House of Oldenburg in the first half of the sixteenth century. After the break-up of the Kalmar Union in 1521/1523, these realms included the kingdoms of Denmark (inclusive the former east Danish provinces in Skåneland) and Norway (inclusive Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands) and the Duchies of Schleswig (a Danish fief) and Holstein (a German fief), whereby Denmark also extended over today's Gotland (now part of Sweden) and Øsel in Estonia.
The Protestant Reformation was initiated by Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses in 1517, and reached Holstein and Denmark in the 1520s. Lutheran figures like Hans Tausen gained considerable support in the population and from Christian II, and though the latter's successor Frederick I officially condemned the reformatory ideas, he tolerated their spread. His son Christian III officially introduced Lutheranism into his possessions in 1528, and on becoming king in 1536 after the Count's War, Lutheranism became official in all of Denmark–Norway. The Catholic bishops were removed and arrested, and the church was reorganized based on Lutheran church orders drawn under the aegis of Luther's friend Johannes Bugenhagen in 1537 (Denmark–Norway) and 1542 (Holstein).
The Lutheran order established during the Protestant reformation is the common root of the Church of Denmark, the Church of Norway, the Church of Iceland and the Church of the Faroe Islands. It also triggered Denmark's unsuccessful involvement in the Thirty Years' War under Christian IV, who led the defense of a Protestant coalition against the Catholic League's Counter-Reformation.Scottish Reformation
The Scottish Reformation was the process by which Scotland broke with the Papacy and developed a predominantly Calvinist national Kirk (church), which was strongly Presbyterian in outlook. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reformation that took place from the sixteenth century.
From the late fifteenth century the ideas of Renaissance humanism, critical of aspects of the established Catholic Church, began to reach Scotland, particularly through the contacts between Scottish and continental scholars. In the earlier part of the sixteenth century, the teachings of Martin Luther began to influence Scotland. Particularly important was the work of the Lutheran Scot Patrick Hamilton, who was executed in 1528. Unlike his uncle Henry VIII in England, James V avoided major structural and theological changes to the church and used it as a source of income and for appointments for his illegitimate children and favourites. His death in 1542 left the infant Mary, Queen of Scots as his heir, allowing a series of English invasions later known as the Rough Wooing. The English supplied books and distributed Bibles and Protestant literature in the Lowlands when they invaded in 1547. The execution of the Zwingli-influenced George Wishart in 1546, who was burnt at the stake on the orders of Cardinal David Beaton, stimulated the growth of these ideas in reaction. Wishart's supporters, who included a number of Fife lairds, assassinated Beaton soon after and seized St. Andrews Castle, which they held for a year before they were defeated with the help of French forces. The survivors, including chaplain John Knox, were condemned to serve as galley slaves. Their martyrdom stirred resentment of the French and inspired additional martyrs for the Protestant cause. In 1549, the defeat of the English with French support led to the marriage of Mary to the French dauphin and a regency over Scotland for the queen's mother, Mary of Guise.
Limited toleration and the influence of exiled Scots and Protestants in other countries, led to the expansion of Protestantism, with a group of lairds declaring themselves Lords of the Congregation in 1557 and representing Protestant interests politically. The collapse of the French alliance and the death of the regent, followed by English intervention in 1560, meant that a relatively small but highly influential group of Protestants had the power to impose reform on the Scottish church. The Scottish Reformation Parliament of 1560 approved a Protestant confession of faith, rejecting papal jurisdiction and the mass. Knox, having escaped the galleys and having spent time in Geneva, where he became a follower of Calvin, emerged as the most significant figure. The Calvinism of the reformers led by Knox resulted in a settlement that adopted a Presbyterian system and rejected most of the elaborate trappings of the Medieval church. When her husband Francis II died in 1560, the Catholic Mary returned to Scotland to take up the government. Her six-year personal reign was marred by a series of crises, largely caused by the intrigues and rivalries of the leading nobles. Opposition to her third husband Bothwell led to the formation of a coalition of nobles, who captured Mary and forced her abdicate in favour of her son, who came to the throne as James VI in 1567. James was brought up a Protestant, but resisted Presbyterianism and the independence of the Kirk.
The Reformation resulted in major changes in Scottish society. These included a desire to plant a school in every parish and major reforms of the university system. The Kirk discouraged many forms of plays, as well as poetry that was not devotional in nature; however, significant playwrights and poets did nevertheless emerge, such as George Buchanan and the Castalian Band of James VI's reign. Scotland's ecclesiastical art paid a heavy toll as a result of Reformation iconoclasm. Native craftsmen and artists turned to secular patrons, resulting in the flourishing of Scottish Renaissance painted ceilings and walls. The Reformation revolutionised church architecture, with new churches built and existing churches adapted for reformed services, particularly by placing the pulpit centrally in the church, as preaching was at the centre of worship. The Reformation also had a severe impact on church music, with song schools closed down, choirs disbanded, music books and manuscripts destroyed, and organs removed from churches. These were replaced by the congregational singing of psalms, despite attempts of James VI to refound the song schools and choral singing. Women gained new educational possibilities and religion played a major part in the lives of many women, but women were treated as criminals through prosecutions for scolding, prostitution, and witchcraft. Scottish Protestantism was focused on the Bible, and starting in the later seventeenth century there would be efforts to stamp out popular activities viewed as superstitous or frivolous. The Kirk became the subject of national pride and many Scots saw their country as a new Israel.