The Swiss Reformation began in 1519 with the sermons of Ulrich Zwingli, whose teachings largely paralleled Luther’s.
In 1541 John Calvin, a French Protestant who had spent the previous decade in exile writing his “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” was invited to settle in Geneva and put his Reformed doctrine—which stressed God’s power and humanity’s predestined fate—into practice.
Between 15, Luther published more works than the next 17 most prolific reformers combined.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was an Augustinian monk and university lecturer in Wittenberg when he composed his “95 Theses,” which protested the pope’s sale of reprieves from penance, or indulgences.
Northern Europe’s new religious and political freedoms came at a great cost, with decades of rebellions, wars and bloody persecutions.
The Thirty Years’ War alone may have cost Germany 40 percent of its population.
Henry dissolved England’s monasteries to confiscate their wealth and worked to place the Bible in the hands of the people.
When Pope Clement VII refused to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could remarry, the English king declared in 1534 that he alone should be the final authority in matters relating to the English church.
When German peasants, inspired in part by Luther’s empowering “priesthood of all believers,” revolted in 1524, Luther sided with Germany’s princes.
By the Reformation’s end, Lutheranism had become the state religion throughout much of Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltics.
They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of Bible- and pamphlet-reading pastors and princes.
The disruption triggered wars, persecutions and the so-called Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church’s delayed but forceful response to the Protestants.