What were six major events in the Reformation and Catholic Reformation? How did these events influence society and beliefs?

A few major events in the Reformation and Catholic Reformation happened in 1517 when Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, 1534 when Henry VIII was proclaimed as the head of the Church of England, and 1598 when The Edict of Nantes was signed.

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Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (1517)

In 1517, Martin Luther—the most prominent figure in the Reformation—wrote the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences , more commonly known as the “95 Theses,” in which he describes his displeasure with the Catholic Church and its corrupt practices. He then nailed the...

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Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (1517)

In 1517, Martin Luther—the most prominent figure in the Reformation—wrote the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, more commonly known as the “95 Theses,” in which he describes his displeasure with the Catholic Church and its corrupt practices. He then nailed the document on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral—an event which many historians consider the start of the Protestant Reformation. His 1520 Treatises (Appeal to the German Nobility, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and The Freedom of the Christian) influenced the spread of Protestantism across Germany and beyond.

The Act of Supremacy (1534)

In order to secure the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon (which was denied by the Pope) and marry Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII proclaimed himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England, effectively ending the influence and limiting the power of the Pope over the English Church. This was made possible by the establishment of the Act of Supremacy, which granted all English monarchs supremacy over the English Church.

Calvinism (1536)

In 1536, John Calvin published his Institutes of the Christian Religion, in which he defines Protestantism and divides the institutes of the Christian religion in four majors sections, explaining the importance of The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Church itself; the book is considered the pillar of Protestant theology. The same year, the English parliament and the king closed down all monasteries, priories, convents and friaries across the kingdom.

The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (1572)

On August 24, 1572, Catherine of Medici and her son King Charles IX planned and authorized the brutal murders of thousands of Protestants in Paris and the surrounding areas; the assassinations continued on for several weeks and expanded beyond the city borders and across the country. It is believed that nearly 30,000 people were killed during this period.

The Edict of Nantes (1598)

The Edict of Nantes was essentially an act of sovereignty which was signed with the purpose of giving rights and religious freedom to the Huguenots (French Protestants). Declared by Henry VI of France, it is considered one of the first attempts at establishing peace and equality between Catholics and Protestants.

The Peace of Westphalia (1648)

Signed in 1648, The Peace of Westphalia (which consisted of two peace treaties: the Treaty of Münster and the Treaty of Osnabrück) officially marked the end of the Thirty Years' War.

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