The Sixteenth Century
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1502 Publication of the Apocalypsis Nova, which predicted the coming of an angelic pope, who would be preceded by holy men.
1503 A Russian church council held in this year resulted in the division of the Russian Orthodox Church between the Possessors and the Non-Possessors. The Non-Possessors wanted to divest monasteries of their land. The monasteries held about a third of Russian land in this period. The Non-Possessor position was argued by Nils Sorsky (1433-1508).
council condemned the practice of charging ordination fees (see 1479 above).
II (1503-13) became pope. While a cardinal, Julius had sired three
1503 Erasmus published his Handbook of the Christian Soldier, in which he presented a vision of the church in which the laity would gain power at the expense of the wealth and influence of the clergy. It was translated into several European languages and had become very popular by 1515.
1503 Spanish forces conquered Naples and began to dominate central Italy. This would have consequences for Henry VIII, the papacy, and the English Reformation. (See 1527.)
of St. Kassian, founder of the Assumption monastery near Uglich. Kassian
had fled Crimea when the Muslims occupied that region near the end of the
fifteenth century. In Crimea, he had lived on the Mangup Plateau (the
last stronghold of Christianity in Crimea) where the Mangup capital was located.
18 April, Pope Julius II (1503-13) laid the foundation stone for the new
St. Peter’s. The basilica was completed in 1615.
The publication of John Reuchlin’s Rudiments initiated the birth
of the study of Hebrew among Western European scholars and theologians.
Reuchlin was accosted by John Pfefferkorn, a convert from Judaism, who agitated
for the destruction of Jewish books. The Dominicans supported Pferrerkorn
and brought a case against Reuchlin to the Inquisitor for Heretical Pravity
for the diocese of Cologne. The Inquisitor (Jakob von Hochstraten)
ruled against Reuchlin. An appeal was made to the pope, who initially
ruled in favor of Reuchlin, then ordered him to keep silent and pay the court
costs. Reuchlin did neither. (When the controversy over Luther
arose, many saw it at first as another act in the conflict between humanists
Commissioned by Pope Julius II (1503-13), Michelangelo painted ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel in Rome.
1509 Four Dominicans were burned at the stake in Berne for fabricating miracles to discredit the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
1509 Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) married Henry VIII, king of England from 1509 to 1547.
1510 140 persons were burned to death in Brescia for practicing witchcraft.
The Hunne Affair. In 1511, when the infant son of a London tailor named
Richard Hunne died, the church rector, Thomas Dryffeld, demanded the bearing
sheet as a mortuary fee. The rector sued Hunne for the fee, and Hunne
lost. Hunne in turned accused Dryffeld of violating the Praemunire
Statute (see 1353 above). This raised the ire of the bishop of London,
Richard Fitzjames. Fitzjames had Hunne arrested and his house searched.
A Wycliffite Bible was found, along with some heretical books. Soon
thereafter, Hunne was murdered while in prison by the bishop’s chancellor,
Dr. Horsey and two others. The murderers were indicted, but never brought
to trial. Fitzjames then presided over a court that convicted Hunne
of heresy. Hunne’s body was burned and, since he had been a heretic,
his property was forfeited to the crown and his family became paupers.
group of disaffected cardinals, supported by King Louis XII of France (1498-1515),
held a council in opposition to Pope Julius II (1503-13) in Pisa. Since
the council was considered a French political maneuver, it received little
May, the Holy League of Spain, Venice, the German empire, England, and the
Swiss drove the French from Milan.
1512 Jacques Lefevre, a professor at the University of Paris, published a Latin translation of Paul’s epistles. Anticipating Luther by several years, he appended a commentary in which he taught that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, not through works. He also denied transubstantiation.
The Fifth Lateran Council opened in May, 1512. This council
overturned the Council of Constance’s decree which had made councils superior
to the pope. It also affirmed the immortality of the soul, and, in
1513, attempted to suppress preaching on the last days (see 1494 and 1502
X (1513-21) elected pope. Leo, the son of Lorenzo the Magnificent of
Florence, had become a priest at age 7, and a cardinal when he was 13.
1514 300 persons were burned to death at Como for practicing witchcraft.
1516 Erasmus’ Greek New Testament published – the first Greek New Testament to be printed. It included a fresh translation into Latin. (In a note on Acts 17.34, Erasmus repeated Lorenzo Valla’s criticisms of the claim that Dionysius himself authored the works of the Dionysian corpus.)
The first edition of Erasmus’ Greek New Testament was based on only four Greek manuscripts, none earlier than the eleventh century. Even on the fourth edition, he had only one Greek manuscript for the book of Revelation. This lacked the final five verses, which Erasmus translated into Greek from Latin. He was (rightly) criticized for this procedure.
Erasmus was also taken to task for undermining the authority of the Vulgate. A certain scholar named Sutor argued, “if in one point the Vulgate were in error the entire authority of the Holy Scripture would collapse.” Controversies arose over Erasmus’ omissions of 1 John 5.7 (it was not in his manuscripts) and Matthew 6.13 (which was in his manuscripts, but which, he reasoned, could not have been in the Greek text Jerome had read). He was also criticized for not correcting Hebrews 2.7 according to the Hebrew, which has “a little lower than God” rather than “a little lower than the angels;” for translating the Greek word for “repent” with the Latin for “change your mind;” and the Greek word Logos with the Latin sermo.
Pragmatic Sanction (see 1438 & 39) abolished by the Concordat of Bologna,
an agreement between the king of France and the pope. In return, Pope
Leo X (1513-21) recognized the right of Francis I, king of France 1515-1547,
to appoint bishops and abbots in his realm. The Gallican church thus in effect remained independent
of the papacy. In return, the pope was to collect annates, appeals
to Rome were permitted, and the superiority of popes to councils was admitted.
Pope Leo X (1513-21) discovered that some of his cardinals were plotting
against him, he created 31 new cardinals in one day.
1517 The fourth volume of the Complutensian Polyglot was printed. The Old Testament of the Complutensian Bible has three columns: Hebrew, the Latin Vulgate, and the Septuagint with an interlinear Latin translation. The third column of the Complutensian Old Testament is the first printed edition of the Septuagint. It is thought to reflect the Lucianic recension. The Polyglot did not receive papal sanction to be published until 1520.
Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing
his 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. Some
of the theses:
1517 Egypt brought under Ottoman rule.
1518 Andreas Asolanus published the second printed Septuagint, this from the Aldine press, and known as the Aldine edition. The text is thought to reflect the Hesychian recension.
1518 A diet of the Holy Roman Empire summoned by the Emperor Maximiliam (1493-1519) met in Augsburg to consider whether Germany should pay a tax to Rome in support of a crusade against the Turks. The diet refused, noting that taxes for crusades had been used for other purposes, and that annates, confirmation fees, and the costs of litigation in church courts were exorbitant. It also criticized Rome for dealing out German benefices to Italian priests.
1519 Charles V, king of Spain, became Holy Roman Emperor (1519-1556).
1520 Erasmus’ Ratio (1520 edition) included these lines: “Some assert that the universal body of the Church has been contracted into a single Roman pontiff who cannot err on faith and morals, thus ascribing to the pope more than he claims for himself, though they do not hesitate to dispute his judgment if he interferes with their purses or their prospects. Is not this to open the door to tyranny in case such power were wielded by an impious and pestilent man?”
1520 Luther published The Babylonian Captivity of the Church. In it, he argued that the papacy had held the church captive for 1000 years, corrupting it in faith, morals, and ritual. He urged communion in both kinds and presented the theory of consubstantiation, that Christ is present in the eucharist along with the bread and wine. Earlier that year, in his Open Letter, Luther opposed the distinction between clergy and laity, the right of popes to settle issues of scriptural interpretation, and the popes’ supposed exclusive right to call a general council. Later in the year, he published A Treatise on Christian Liberty, which stated his belief that man is saved by faith alone, apart from works.
June, Pope Leo X (1513-21) condemned Luther in the bull Exsurge Domine. Luther burned the
pope's bull of excommunication on 10 December. In his opinion, "This
burning is only a trifle. It is necessary that the pope and the papal
see should also be burned. He who does not resist the papacy with all
his heart cannot obtain eternal salvation."
Belgrade (Serbia) fell to the Turks.
has been estimated that, by this year, there were over 150 offices for sale
in the Vatican, worth approximately 3,000,000 ducats.
1521 Diet of Worms. Protected by Frederick, the elector of Saxony, Luther refused to recant. He declared that popes and councils were fallible, but that the Holy Scripture was infallible. The emperor Charles V determined to “proceed against him as a notorious heretic” and in so doing he won papal support for his coming war against France for control of Milan. Frederick concealed Luther in the castle of Wartburg.
1522 The emperor Charles V introduced the Inquisition into the Netherlands in order to wipe out Protestantism.
Pope Adrian VI (1522-23)
taught that popes were capable of erring
in their official role as teachers of the Church. A Dutchman,
Adrian was the last non-Italian pope until John Paul II (1978).
1522 Luther’s German New Testament published.
Erasmus’ Ratio (1522 edition) included these lines: “We do not
impugn the majesty of the Roman pontiff. Would that he had the qualities
attributed to him, that he were not able to err in matters of piety, that
he were able to deliver souls from purgatory.”
November, Pope Adrian VI (1522-23) sent a legate to the Diet of Nuremburg
(Germany). The legate stated that the church’s ills had spread from
the papacy down and explained the pope’s intention of reforming the curia
and hierarchy. As regards Luther, however, the pope had no sympathy:
the “petty monk“ must acknowledge his errors, and his teachings must be suppressed.
December, the Turks conquered Rhodes.
The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (the Knights Hospitallers) had built
a fortress there after 1309. Their fleet had worked to keep the southern
Mediterranean safe from the Turks.
1523 Zurich accepted the Reformation after hearing a public debate. Huldrych Zwingli was instrumental in defending the Protestant cause.
1524 In Strassburg, a layman named Clement Ziegler began teaching that Christ’s body existed in heaven before his incarnation.
1524 In June, the Zurich city council banned religious images. Zurich was the home of the reformer Huldrych Zwingli. At some point and under Zwingli’s influence, Zurich banned music from worship services. This ban was in force until 1598.
1524 In Riga (Latvia) a group of evangelicals tore a statue of the Virgin Mary out of the cathedral and threw it into the Dvina river. When it floated, they denounced it as a witch and burned it.
1525 In January, a group in Zurich that rejected infant baptism baptized one another. They also broke bread and shared wine to demonstrate the priesthood of all believers. These radicals came to be termed Anabaptists. Four of them were drowned in the Limmat river in 1526 as Zurich acted to suppress the radicals.
1525 Zwingli wrote his On Baptism, in which he developed a thought Luther had earlier expressed, that infant baptism could be justified in analogy to the Old Testament practice of circumcision. In this year and the following, Zwingli proposed the notion that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper in a merely symbolic manner. He emphasized that the purpose of the Eucharist is to remind the congregation of Christ’s deeds on man’s behalf.
1525 In April, the Zurich city council banned the mass.
1525 At Dorpat (Tartu, Estonia) Germans broke into an Orthodox church and destroyed the icons. Events such as this led the Orthodox to view Lutherans as iconoclasts (which they were not).
1525 William Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament was partially printed in Cologne. Before printing could be completed, the Catholic authorities learned of the enterprise (through the loose lips of some printers who were drinking in a public tavern) and conducted a raid. The printing was completed in Worms in 1526. Following a convention popular among Lutherans, the 1525 printing lists Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation as being of doubtful authenticity. This distinction was dropped in the 1526 printing.
1525 Albrecht, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, arranged with King Sigismond I of Poland that the order’s territories in Royal Prussia would be a secular fief of Poland. He then made Royal Prussia the first evangelical (Lutheran) state in Europe.
1525/6 The Non-Possessors criticized Tsar Basil III for unjustly divorcing his wife, and they were suppressed.
1526 Geneva, a part of the duchy of Savoy, entered into an alliance with the Swiss city of Berne without Savoy’s permission.
1526 The Ottoman Turks, under Sultan Suleiman I (1520-1566) defeated the Hungarians at the battle of Mohacs, thus conquering Hungary and opening the way to Vienna. Much of Hungary was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1547.
1527 In May, Spanish troops and German mercenaries under Charles V sacked Rome. This attack was in reprisal for Pope Clement VIII’s (1523-34) entering into an alliance (the League of Cognac) with Milan, Venice and France to gain territory in Italy. Clement was taken prisoner.
1527 Henry VIII, king of England, appealed to Rome for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, aunt of the Emperor Charles V.
1528 As Zurich had done in 1523, Berne accepted Protestantism after hearing a public debate.
1528 On Feb 29, Patrick Hamilton was executed (burned alive) for heresy at St. Andrews in Scotland. Hamilton had traveled to the Continent, where he met Luther at Wittenburg and Tyndale at Marburg. After returning to Scotland, he distributed a catechism entitled Patrick’s Places, which advocated justification by faith.
1528 Evangelicals destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary on a street corner in Paris.
1529 Henry VIII declared himself the head of the English church.
1529 Seige of Vienna. Suleiman’s forces besieged Vienna. The Turks arrived at Vienna on September 27, and Suleiman boasted that he would be eating breakfast in the city by the Feast of St. Michael (29 Sep). But the Turks failed to take it, and eventually retreated (14 Oct), though they first massacred or burned alive their prisoners, except those young enough for the slave markets.
Colloquy of Marburg. Philip, landgrave of Hesse, arranged
for prominent reformers to meet at his castle in Marburg. Luther, Zwingli,
and Martin Bucer attended. They were unable to agree on the sense in
which Christ is present in the Eucharist. Luther defended the real
presence, writing “This is my body” on the table in chalk and covering the
words with a velvet cloth.
Clement VII (1523-34) crowned Charles V Holy Roman emperor in Bologna.
This was the last time a pope would crown an emperor.
1530 The Augsburg Confession, prepared by Philip Melanchthon as an explanation of the Lutheran faith. Seven evangelical princes and representatives of two free imperial cities presented the confession to the emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg. (Charles hoped to arrange a compromise between the evangelicals and the Catholics.) Melanchthon’s confession affirms Trinitarian theology; the doctrine that all those who are not regenerate are guilty of Adam’s sin; Christ’s deity, incarnation, crucifixion, descent into hell, resurrection, and continuing intersession; and justification by grace through faith, and not by works. Article X states, “It is taught among us that the true body and blood of Christ are really present in the Supper of the Lord under the form of bread and wine and are there distributed and received.” Article XXII insists that communion should be in both kinds (bread and wine). The confession also affirmed the necessity and efficacy of baptism and retained auricular confession. The Catholics replied with a work known as the Confutation, and hope for compromise slipped away.
1530 On December 8, a priest in Valencia, Spain, set off a riot when he denied the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary during a sermon.
1530 Between this year and 1640, an estimated 1,000,000 European Christians were enslaved by Islamic raiders from North Africa. This number is roughly equivalent to the number of African slaves transported westward across the Atlantic by European Christians during the same period.
1530-33 Melchior Hoffman preached in Strassburg and the Low Countries. He taught that Christ’s flesh had come directly from heaven (having come through Mary but not partaking of her), emphasized adult baptism, and predicted the coming of Christ in 1533, followed by the millennial reign of the saints. He was imprisoned in Strassburg in 1533 and died there.
1531 The Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to an Aztec named Juan Diego, about 5 miles north of Mexico City. As proof of her desire to have a chapel built at the foot of Tepeyac Hill, she caused an image of herself to appear on Diego’s cape and told him to call the image Santa Maria de Guadalupe.
1531 Zwingli died while acting as chaplain for Zurich’s forces as they fought against Catholics from the Swiss inner states (forest cantons). Heinrich Bullinger replaced Zwingli as leader of the church in Zurich. Bullinger went further than Zwingli in his doctrine of the Eucharist, agreeing with Zwingli that it is a memorial service, but adding that God does, in fact, work through the Eucharist. Bullinger is noted for centering his discussion of Christianity around the concept of God’s covenants with men, and he interpreted baptism and the Eucharist as covenant seals.
1531 Establishment of the Schmalkaldic League, a defensive alliance among Protestant states and cities within the German empire. Members included Hesse, Saxony, Brunswick, Anhalt, Mansfeld, Magdeburg, Bremen, Strassburg, and Ulm. The league was formed in the wake of Diet of Augsburg, where Catholics had shown themselves unwilling to work toward a compromise. The league was destroyed in 1547 by the emperor Charles V.
1533 In March, the Act of Appeals was passed in England. This act forbade appeals to the pope on spiritual matters (including marriage). Matters relating to the king were to be decided by the Upper House of Convocation. Thomas Cromwell, the author of this legislation which enabled Henry VIII to obtain a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, was shortly thereafter acknowledged as the king’s chief minister.
The Convocations of Canterbury and York declared: “[t]he bishop of Rome has not by Scripture any greater jurisdiction in this kingdom of England than any other foreign prelate.” In the same year, both Convocations claimed that the pope had erred in permitting Henry to marry Catherine, since she had consummated her marriage to his brother Arthur. In May, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, declared the marriage null.
1534 Parliament passed several more more significant pieces of legislation at Thomas Cromwell’s urging: (1) the Act in Restraint of Annates, which forbade annates (the first year’s revenue from a bishop’s benefice) to be sent to Rome and obligated cathedral chapters to elect the king’s choice to bishoprics; (2) the Dispensations Act, which entirely halted the flow of money from the church in England to Rome and entitled the Archbishop of Canterbury to grant dispensations (exceptions to canon law); (3) the Act for Submission of the Clergy, which forbade Convocation to legislate except as the king permitted and entitled the king to select a committee to oversee and veto all legislation Convocation should pass; (4) the Succession Act, which made slandering Henry’s marriage to Anne treason, made the offspring of Henry’s marriage to Anne his rightful heirs, and required all adult subjects to swear an oath to uphold the act; and (5) the Act of Supremacy, which permitted Henry to correct preachers, oversee the proper statement of doctrine, try heretics, and discipline the clergy.
1534 A Dutch Bible by Jacob van Liesveldt segregated the apocryphal books. This is the first vernacular Bible to do so. Luther’s German Bible of the same year also segregated these books, entitling them the “Apocrypha” for the first time.
1534/35 Affair of the Placards. In Paris, twenty-four Protestants were burned alive between Nov 10, 1534, and May 5, 1535, in reprisal for French Reformers’ placing posters in several French cities in October reviling the mass as idolatry and slandering the pope. Many French evangelical intellectuals (including John Calvin) left the country.
1535 First complete English Bible printed – Coverdale’s. His was also the first English Bible to segregate the apocryphal books, though he did place Baruch at the end of Jeremiah.
1535 Execution of Thomas More. More had refused to take the oath required by the Succession Act (see 1534).
1535 In June, Catholic and evangelical forces of Franz von Waldeck, bishop of Munster, entered that city after a year’s siege. Radical Anabaptists under Jan Matthijszoon and, after his death, Jan Beukels (John of Leiden), had taken control of Munster in February 1534. The Anabaptists preached that the millennium was imminent and that Munster was the New Jerusalem.
1535 During the siege of Munster, several members of Menno Simons’ congregation were killed. Simons was a Catholic parish priest, whose parish was in Witmarsum, but had been influenced by the writings of Luther and Zwingli. In 1536 or 1537, Simons was rebapized as an adult and became leader of an Anabaptist group which rejected the use of arms. These early Mennonites also believed that the Second Coming was imminent, and they taught that Christ’s flesh did not come from Mary, but had descended from heaven.
1535 The modern Sunday School began in Milan when the priest Abbate Castellino de Castello began enticing boys to catechesis by offering them apples. The work he started eventually resulted in the formation of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
1535 Geneva declared itself independent of Savoy (see 1526) and accepted the Reformation, as its ally Berne had done in 1528.
1536 The Pilgrimage of Grace. This uprising, led by Robert Aske, was in part a protest against Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Aske and his followers took York and demanded papal rule over the church and the calling of a new Parliament. Thomas Howard, the third duke of Norfolk, by offering a pardon persuaded Aske to send his forces home. Aske and about 250 others were executed shortly thereafter.
1536 First edition of Calvin’s Institutes. In time, Calvin became the leader of the Reformed branch of Protestantism. Like the other major Reformers (Luther, Zwingli, and Bullinger) he continued to teach that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life.
Eucharist, Calvin wrote (Institutes, 4.17.5), “There are some who define
the eating of the flesh of Christ, and the drinking of his blood, to be,
in one word, nothing more than believing in Christ himself. … According
to them, to eat is merely to believe; while I maintain that the flesh of
Christ is eaten by believing, because it is made ours by faith, and that
that eating is the effect and fruit of faith.”
1536 William Tyndale, who had been imprisoned near Brussels at Henry VIII's insistence, executed by strangling. His corpse was burned at the stake.
1536 Jakob Hutter burned for heresy. During his lifetime, Hutterite communities had been established in Moravia. Hutterite children lived together in dormitories beginning at age 2. Adults lived in dormitories also, regardless of their marital state.
1536 The First Helvetic Confession, written in Basel. This Reformed confession was criticized for moving too far in Luther’s direction on the question of the Eucharist.
1536 Wittenberg Concord. Discussions between Philip Melanchthon (Lutheran) and Martin Bucer (Reformed) led to an agreed statement on the Eucharist. The statement failed to promote harmony, because Swiss Protestants thought it conceded too much to Luther’s position.
The dissolution of English monasteries.
Reform Commission, appointed by Pope Paul III (1534-49) delivered its report,
entitled Consilium de Emendenda Ecclesia.
The report blamed the church’s woes, including the Protestant Reformation,
on the papacy, the cardinals, and the hierarchy. The curia tried to
suppress the report, but a copy made its way to Germany, where Luther published
a German translation in 1538.
1537 Matthew’s Bible published. The work was edited by an associate of William Tyndale’s, John Rogers. Matthew’s Bible was influenced by Tyndales work, including Old Testament material translated by Tyndale but not previously published.
1539 The Great Bible published, so called because of its size – each page measuring 13 ¼ by 7 1/2 inches.
1539 The Six Articles Act passed by the English Parliament at the king’s insistence. The act defended transubstantiation, communion in one kind, clerical celibacy, vows of chastity, private masses, and auricular confession.
1540 Thomas Cromwell put to death. His execution was due to his arrangement of the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves, a German princess, in hope of establishing an alliance with German Lutherans. Henry was unhappy with the marriage and, as the Six Articles Act shows, not favorably disposed toward Lutheran theology.
1540 Pope Paul III (1534-49) established the Jesuit order.
1541 John Calvin permanently established at Geneva.
1541 The Turkish army occupied Buda in Hungary.
1541 The Regensburg Colloquy. In January, Johann Gropper, a theologian in the service of Hermann von Wied, archbishop of Cologne, and Martin Bucer began discussions on the nature of justification. Gropper prepared a statement on justification that became known as the Regensberg Book, since it was prepared for the Imperial Diet that would meet in Regensberg (Ratisbon) in March. (Gropper agreed with the Protestants and Augustine that man could do nothing to justify himself, and stated that human merits and the sacraments would have to be augmented on judgment day with the “alien righteousness” of Christ.) There was hope that the Regensberg Book would form the basis for a reunion of Catholics and evangelicals. However, disagreements over transubstantiation and the necessity of auricular confession stood in the way. In addition, since an agreement would strengthen the Hapsburg emperor, there were political incentives to retaining the status quo.
1542 In August, Cardinal Gasparo Contarini died under house arrest. Contarini had been leader of the Catholics at the Regensburg Colloquy. His willingness to compromise there was not looked on favorably in Rome. Contarini was an associate of the Catholic humanist Juan de Valdes, who emphasized the need for God’s grace conveyed through the Holy Spirit. Those influenced by Valdes’s interest in reforming the Church from within became known as Spirituali. Among the Spirituali were Bernardino Ochino, of the Franciscan reformed order, and Piermartire Vermigli (known as Peter Martyr). As Contarini lay dying, Ochino fled northward to Calvin’s Geneva. Peter Martyr also left and joined Martin Bucer in Strassburg. Reginald Pole was also associated with the Spirituali.
1542 Before he fled to Strassburg, Peter Martyr had supported a movement in Tuscany that resembled incipient Protestantism – including evangelical preaching. Gian Pietro Carafa (the future Pope Paul IV) convinced Pope Paul III (1534-49) to established the Roman Inquisition to combat Protestantism. It was renamed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope Paul VI in 1965. Most of this Inquisition’s activities were in Italy.
1542 Clement Marot published his Trente Pseaulmes de David, the first metrical psalter. (A partial edition had appeared in 1539. When Calvin left Geneva in 1538, he ministered to the French congregation in Strassburg, who were already singing Marot’s version of the psalms.) Marot found later refuge in Calvin’s Geneva, where the practice of singing the psalms was adopted. Metrical psalters were also produced in German (1573) and Hungarian (1607), as well as English.
1543 Hermann von Weid, the archbishop of Cologne, published his Pia Consultatio, which condemned the mass, endorsed justification by faith alone, objected to prayer to saints, and adopted the Reformed numbering of the Ten Commandments (which emphasized the injunction against graven images). Archbishop von Weid eventually died a Protestant in 1552.
1544 Johann Gropper, who had worked for Archbishop von Weid during the Regensberg Colloquy (1541), attacked the Pia Consultatio in his Antididagma.
1544 The German emperor Charles V made peace with France, allowing him to attack the Schmalkaldic League (see 1531).
December, the Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1545-1563) was convened.
Only 31 bishops were present intially, and that number never rose above 270.
Trent, in the Italian Alps, was within the Holy Roman empire, and so acceptable
to the Germans.
1545 Francis I, king of France (1515-47), allowed the Inquisition to persecute the Waldensees, followers of Peter Waldo (see 1184). The Waldensees lived in roughly 30 villages in Provence. Three thousand Waldensees were killed and a further 700 of the men were made galley slaves.
1546 On 1 March, George Wishart was burned at St. Andrews, Scotland. Wishart had been a schoolmaster at Montrose, where he had been charged with heresy for teaching the New Testament in Greek (1538). He had also translated the First Helvetic Confession of 1536 into Scots. Having gone to England and taught at Cambridge, Wishart returned to Scotland at the request of Henry VIII to arrange a marriage between Henry’s son Edward and the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. Wishart was executed at the urging of Cardinal David Beaton for preaching the doctrines of the Reformation. Cardinal Beaton was subsequently murdered. John Knox became associated with the murderers, and preached to them at St. Andrews Castle. In 1548, Knox was captured by the French, and spent 19 months as a galley slave.
1546 Fourteen Lutherans were burned to death at Meaux, France. The tongues of eight of them had been torn out before the execution.
1546 The German emperor Charles V stepped up persecution of Protestants in the Low Countries. Many printers fled to England, where they were in a position to spread evangelicalism when Edward VI ascended to the throne in 1547.
1546 In the 4th session, the Council of Trent defined: “It has thought it proper, moreover, to insert in this decree a list of the sacred books, lest a doubt might arise in the mind of some one as to which are the books received by this council. They are the following: of the Old Testament, the five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, the first and second of Esdras, the latter of which is called Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, the Davidic Psalter of 150 Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias, with Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, the twelve minor Prophets, namely, Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Micheas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggeus, Zacharias, Malachias; two books of Machabees, the first and second. Of the New Testament, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; the Acts of the Apostles written by Luke the Evangelist; fourteen Epistles of Paul the Apostle, to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two of Peter the Apostle, three of John the Apostle, one of James the Apostle, one of Jude the Apostle, and the Apocalypse of John the Apostle. If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema.”
In addition, as regards the Vulgate, it added the following: “Moreover, the same holy council considering that not a little advantage will accrue to the Church of God if it be made known which of all the Latin editions of the sacred books now in circulation is to be regarded as authentic, ordains and declares that the old Latin Vulgate Edition, which, in use for so many hundred years, has been approved by the Church, be in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions held as authentic, and that no one dare or presume under any pretext whatsoever to reject it.” Yet, this authenticity did not prevent the Roman Catholic Church from declaring a new edition of the Vulgate as “typical” (see 1979).
The council was undecided about the propriety of translations of the Bible into the vernacular. It appointed an Index Commission to make a recommendation to the pope on this matter. See 1564.
1546 In about this year Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbuty, abandoned the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. He was influenced by Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London from 1550, who had read Ratramnus’ De Corpore et Sanguine Domini. (See 868, 1050, 1059.)
1546 Death of Martin Luther.
1547 In the fifth session, the Council of Trent stated, “Justification ... is not merely remission of sins, but also sanctification and renewal of the inward man.”
Canon XI of the same session reads, “If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost and is inherent in them; or even that grace whereby we are justified is only the favor of God: let him be anathema.”
Canon XIII: “If anyone says that it is necessary for everyone, in order to obtain the remission of sins, that he believe for certain and without wavering ... that his sins are forgiven him: let him be anathema.” Cardinal Reginald Pole found Trent’s discussion of justification so distressing that he had to leave the council.
1547 Edward VI (1547-53) king of England. He was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. As Edward was only nine years old, the government was overseen by guardians, first Somerset, then Northumberland.
1547 In November, the English Parliament decreed that the Eucharist be administered with both bread and wine (in both kinds).
1547 With the German emperor’s victories over the Schmalkaldic League, Strassburg was forced to allow some parishes to return to Catholicism. Peter Martyr left the city and moved to England, where he became a professor at Oxford.
1548 In England, the Privy Council outlawed candles at Candlemas, ashes on Ash Wednesday, palms on Palm Sunday, repeatedly bowing before the cross on Good Friday, and the use of holy water. The Council also outlawed the presence of any images in churches.
1548 The Interim. With the Schmalkaldic League destroyed, the German emperor Charles V imposed a religious solution on the empire. Known as the interim, it endorsed Catholic theology and worship, but permitted married clergy and communion in both kinds.
1549 In February a bill was passed which legalized clerical marriage in England.
1549 The First English Book of Common Prayer introduced. It was opposed by the Reformers because it retained too much from the older forms. In fact, it was reportedly used at St. Paul’s in 1550 “as the very Mass.” The canon included a prayer for the dead and thanked God for “the wonderful grace and virtue declared … chiefly in the glorious and most blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Thy Son Jesu Christ our Lord and God.” The 1549 canon also included an explicit invocation of the Holy Spirit (absent from the earlier usage) before the words of institution. Perhaps most significantly, in the the Book of Common Prayer the liturgy was now in English instead of Latin. The Catholic-minded conservatives would have preferred to retain the former services.
1549 Jews were officially recognized as a fifth estate in Poland. King Sigismund II Augustus (1548-72) encouraged Jewish immigration.
1549 Martin Bucer left Strassburg for England, where he became a professor at Cambridge.
1549 Consensus Tigurinus (Zurich Agreement). Calvin and Bullinger met in May of this year and agreed to this joint statement on baptism and the Eucharist. The Consensus was instrumental in the identification of Reformed Christians as a distinct and coherent group.
1549 Francis Xavier, one of the first seven Jesuits, arrived in Japan. By the time he left in 1551, there were approximately 2000 Christian converts in Japan.
1550 In England, stone altars were replaced with wooden tables oriented east-west, the priest standing on the north side. The change was initiated by Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London, in June. In November, the Privy Council ordered all bishops to follow Ridley’s example.
1550 A radical group met for forty days in Venice and determined that Jesus is not God. Pietro Manelfi, one of the leaders, later turned himself over to the Roman Inquisition.
1550 Pope Paul III had died on November 10, 1549. Paul III had recommended Cardinal Pole be his successor, and Pole had the support of the German emperor Charles V. Pole came within one vote of being elected, but eventually lost to Julius III (1550-55).
1550 The English set up a special church for refugees from the continent, the “Stranger Church,” in London. Jan Laski, formerly chief pastor in Emden (until the Interim), and a benefactor of Erasmus, was appointed superintendent.
1550 The Polish Diet considered a proposal that the king, Sigismund II Augustus, lead a national church. The Diet demanded communion in both species, the end of mandatory celibacy for priests, and services in the vernacular. Sigismund forwarded these demands to the pope.
1551 In its thirteenth session, the Council of Trent decreed: “[B]y the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood; which conversion is suitably and properly called Transubstantiation by the holy Catholic Church.”
1551 The elector Moritz of Saxony formed an alliance with Henry II of France. The ensuing war against the Hapsburg emperor Charles V effectively freed German evangelicals from the Interim (see 1548).
1551 Death of Martin Bucer.
1552 The Second English Book of Common Prayer published. Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer may have influenced Cranmer to make certain changes in the prayer book. In contrast to the first, this second prayer book suggested that the presence of Christ in communion was only in the hearts of the believers. The words said as communion was distributed were changed from “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life” to “Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.” It also contained the Black Rubric, that explained of the command to kneel at the reception of communion, “that it is not meant thereby that any adoration is done, or ought to be done, either unto the sacramental bread or wine there bodily received, or to any real and essential presence there being of Christ’s natural flesh and blood.” The recitation of the Ten Commandments was first introduced in the 1552 book. A rubric concerning vestments forbade the use of albs, vestments, or copes, but indicated that a priest should wear a surplice, and a bishop a rochet.
The 1552 canon deleted the prayer invoking the Holy Spirit, first included in 1549. It moved the communion to a point immediately following the words of institution (“this is my body” & etc.), perhaps to minimize any lingering tendency to worship the host. This order is still followed in the English Book of Common Prayer.
1552 Joachim Westphal, a Lutheran pastor in Hamburg, published a pamphlet critical of the Consensus Tigurinus in which he referred to Calvin as a cow and Bullinger as a bull.
1552 Treaty of Passau, resulting in peace between Moritz of Saxony and the German (Holy Roman) empire. Passau formed the basis of the Peace of Augsburg, 1555.
Gil, a cathedral preacher in Seville, Spain, was arrested by the Inquisition.
Gil had been reading Protestant writings and was accused of fomenting dissent.
He was forced to recant.
Council of Trent suspended. See 1562.
1553 Michael Servetus was burned at the stake in Geneva. Servetus was a unitarian. John Calvin’s reputation as a leader among the Reformed owes much to this event.
1553 The 42 articles of religion were published in England.
1554 Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, queen of England 1553-58, married Philip of Spain and the persecution of Protestants began in England. Roughly three hundred heretics were burned between Feb 4, 1555 and Nov 10, 1558. The 1552 prayer book was replaced with the old Latin liturgical books.
1554 Many English Protestants fled to Emden in East Frisia, which became a center for the printing of Protestant material.
1555 The English Parliament restored papal authority.
1555 Upon Mary’s ascendancy to the throne, approximately 800 English Protestants fled to the continent. Initially they formed communities at Frankfurt, Emden, Wesel, Strassburg and Zurich, and later settled in Basel, Geneva and Aarau. Much Protestant propaganda made its way from Emden into England. The community in Geneva was founded after a conflict in Frankfurt over use of the 1552 Prayer Book. Moderate reformers under Richard Cox were opposed by a group that wished for further purification, led by John Knox. Knox and many of his followers were expelled from Frankfurt by the city authorities when the latter learned (from one of Cox’ associates) that Knox had vilified Mary Tudor and the emperor Charles V. Knox and several others then settled in Geneva, where a team headed by William Whittingham and Antony Gilby later produced the Geneva Bible (see 1560).
1555 Peace of Augsburg. After warring unsuccessfully against the German Protestants since 1546, Charles V agreed to allow each prince to determine the religion of his state. Protestants, however, were to conform to the 1530 Augsburg Confession, which afforded no freedom for the Reformed. In addition, the “Peace” stipulated that bishops and prelates who converted to Protestantism would lose their imperial lands and office.
1555 Gian Pietro Carafa, instigator of the Roman Inquisition, was elected Pope Paul IV (1555-59). Wishing to drive the Spanish out of Naples, Paul formed an alliance with France against Spain. Spanish victories in 1557 forced him to make peace. Paul denounced the Peace of Augsburg. Assuming the Jews were fomenting Protestantism, Paul established a ghetto for Jews in Rome and forced them to wear yellow hats as a distinctive Jewish badge.
1555 Michel de Notredame or Nostredame (Nostradamus), a French physician and astrologer, published his Centuries. The Centuries consists of prophecies in the form of rhymed quatrains collected into sets of 100.
1555/56 John Knox permitted to preach in Scotland.
1556 At a meeting of non-Lutheran Protestants at Secemin, Poland, in January, a certain Peter Gonesius promoted pacifism, denied the doctrine of the Trinity, and attacked infant baptism.
1556 The Hapsburg emperor Charles V went into retirement. Philip II became king of Spain and prince of the Netherlands. He reigned until 1598. Charles’s brother Ferdinand took control of the German (Holy Roman) Empire.
1556 In March, Thomas Cranmer, formerly Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake. He had signed six recantations of his Protestant views but, when given a pulpit at University Church in Oxford, withdrew his recantations. On the stake, he reportedly stretched his right hand, with which he had signed the recantations, into the flames.
1556 In Strassburg the English exile John Ponet, formerly bishop of Winchester, published a book entitled Short Treatise of Political Power in which he endorsed tyrranicide. This book would be reprinted in 1639 and again in 1642, seven years before Charles I was beheaded.
1557 In April, Pope Paul IV (1555-59) removed Cardinal Reginald Pole from his office as papal legate. In June, after England declared war on France (the pope’s ally in his war with Spain), Paul charged Pole with heresy and summoned him to Rome, but the queen refused to permit Pole to travel. Pole had been associated with the Spirituali (see 1542). (The war with France resulted in England’s loss of Calais.)
1557 The Spanish defeated the French at St. Quentin.
1557 In December, some Scottish nobles signed a “Covenant” to oppose Popery. This was the first of several such covenants (see 1638).
1558 In November, Queen Mary Tudor and Cardinal Reginald Pole died on the same day, the queen of stomach cancer, and the cardinal of influenza.
1558 Elizabeth I (1558-1603) queen of England. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
1559 The English Parliament passed (1) an act of uniformity, which required the use of a modified form of the second Prayer Book (Cranmer’s book of 1552) and (2) an act of supremacy, making Elizabeth head of the church. Among other changes, the modified Prayer Book allowed priests and bishops their vestments and deleted the explanation concerning kneeling. It also combined the words of institution from 1549 with those of 1552.
Sacred Congregation of the Roman Inquisition (later known as the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith) issued the first catalog of forbidden books
- the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Index of Forbidden Books.
The last edition of the Index was published in 1948, and it was finally suppressed
in 1966. (See also 496 above.) Under the title Biblia prohibita
(prohibited Bibles), the Index forebade some Latin editions and the
publication and possession of translations of the Bible into German, French,
Spanish, Italian, English, or Dutch, without the permission of the Roman Inquisition.
All the works of Erasmus were banned also. The Jesuits found this disconcerting,
since they used Erasmus’s grammars in their schools.
1559 The Spanish Inquisition produced its own Index of Forbidden Books. Among the prohibited works was Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. All Spanish language books printed outside Spain were banned. The Inquisition also ordered the return of all Spanish students studying abroad, as well as all teachers.
1559 The Spanish Inquisition arrested Bartolome Carranza, archbishop of Toledo. Since Carranza had been battling Protestantism in England under Mary Tudor, where he wrote a catechism that formed the basis of the 1566 catechism of Trent, the Inquisition found Protestant writings in his possession. Carranza was also known to be a friend of Cardinal Reginald Pole (see 1557) and so associated with the humanism of the Spirituali. Carranza spent 17 years in prison.
1559 John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs first published, in Latin. The first English printing was in 1563.
1559 A peace treaty was signed at Cateau-Cambresis to end the war between France and Spain. In the celebratory jousting that followed, King Henry II of France sustained a mortal wound to the face. He died two weeks later. His wife, Catherine de Medici, assumed the regency for her son King Francois, the heir to the throne.
1559 Publication of the French (or Gallican) Confession, a statement of faith by French Huguenots. It was based on a draft prepared by John Calvin.
1559 The Palatine elector Frederich III rejected the Lutheran brand of Protestantism in favor of the Reformed.
1560 Death of Philip Melanchthon.
1560 The Geneva Bible published. William Whittingham (1524?-79 – see 1555) is thought to have been the principal translator, assisted by Anthony Gilby and Thomas Sampson. This was the Bible of the Pilgrims, and remained the most popular English translation until about the middle of the next century. In this Bible, the text was divided into verses for the first time. In the 1560 edition, the books of the “Apocrypha” are included in a section between the two Testaments.
The Geneva Bible is dedicated to “the most noble and virtuous Queen Elizabeth” and the dedication provides advice on “the building of the Lord’s Temple, the house of God, the Church of Christ, whereof the Son of God is the head and perfection.” Just as when Zerubbabel rebuilt the Temple, enemies opposed him, so it is now. The current enemies include “Papists,” “worldlings,” and “ambitious prelates.” But the authors urge the queen to follow the example of Josiah, who “destroyed, not only with utter confusion the idols with their appurtenances, but also burnt (in sign of detestation) the idolatrous priests’ bones upon their altars, and put to death the false prophets and sorcers, to perform the words of the Law of God: and therefore the Lord gave him good success and blessed him wonderfully, so long as he made God’s word his line and rule to follow, and enterprised nothing before he had inquired at the mouth of the Lord.” And how should the Queen so inquire? “And forasmuch as he hath established and left an order in his Church for the building up of his body, appointing some to be Apostles, some Prophets, others Evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, he signifieth that every one according as he is placed in this body which is the Church, ought to inquire of his ministers concerning the will of the Lord, which is revealed inhis word.”
The Geneva Bible appears to rely on a slightly different Greek source text from that used by the Authorized Version. For instance, in Revelation 16.5, the Geneva Bible reads, “And I heard the angel of the waters say, Lord, thou art just, which art, and which wast, and holy, because thou hast judged these things.” The Authorized version has, “And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.” Again, in Acts 8.13, the Geneva Bible reads, “Then Simon himself believed also, and was baptized, and continued with Philip, and wondered, when he saw the signs and great miracles which were done.” The Authorized Version reads, “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” In Luke 10.22, the Geneva Bible reads, “Then he turned to his disciples, and said, All things are given me of my Father; and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father: neither who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” The Authorized Version reads, “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him”; omitting “Then he turned to his disciples, and said.” The Geneva Bible omits Luke 17.36, which, in the Authorized Version, reads, “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left”; placing the text in a marginal note.
Calvin had taught that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. Consistent with this position, the Geneva Bible, in a note on Matthew 12.46 (which speaks of Jesus’s brethren), states, “This worde [brethren] in the Scriptures signifieth ofttimes every kinsman.”
1560 On July 6, the Treaty of Leith or Edinburgh was signed. The Scottish Protestants had allied themselves with the English and forced French troops to exit Scotland. During the siege of Leith, the Queen Mother (mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was in France) had died. The Treaty of Leith set up a provisional government. In August, the Scottish Parliament adopted a confession of faith authored by John Knox and three others, abolished the authority of the pope, reduced the number of Sacraments to two, and authorized the death penalty for anyone convicted three times of celebrating the Mass.
1561-72 During this period in France, Protestants were massacred on 18 occasions, and Catholics five times.
1561 Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland from France. John Knox managed to meet with the queen several times, but their discussions were fruitless. Mary remained firmly Catholic.
1561 English Roman Catholics set up a college at Douai (moved to Reims in 1571) from which they sent missionaries into England.
1561 Jakob Heraklides, an apostate from Orthodoxy who had been a mercenary in Western Europe, became ruler of Moldavia. He introduced a Reformed Protestantism into the country. He seized crosses and the metal frames of icons from Orthodox churches. Heraklides had the precious metal melted into coins with his image stamped onto them. The Orthodox were reminded of the iconoclast emperors who had destroyed sacred images but put their own images on currency. When Heraklides married a Pole rather than a Moldavian and his army dissipated, he was murdered.
1561 Colloquy at Poissy. Catherine de Medici, regent of France, realizing that Protestantism in France had taken firm root, summoned Protestant leaders to attend a discussion at Poissy. Theodore de Beza came from Geneva and Peter Martyr from Zurich. Charles de Guise, cardinal of Lorraine, unsuccessfully sought to reach agreement on a “middle way” based on the Augsburg Confession.
1561 Publication of the Belgic Confession. Revised in 1566, and again at the Synod of Dort in 1619, the Belgic Confession became the creed of Reformed Dutch churches.
1562 The Massacre of Vassy. The first French religious war (1562-63) began when the Duke of Guise and his men were disturbed during mass in Vassy by the psalm singing of Huguenots in a barn nearby. Guise killed 23 of them. By this year, there were an estimated 2000 Huguenot (Calvinist) churches in France with two million members. Protestantism had gained ground in France rapidly through the 1550s. The Jesuits moved into France in force at about this time.
1562 Concerned that Catholic monarchs were seeking to reconcile with the Protestants (see Poissy, 1561), Pope Pius IV (1559-65) summoned the Council of Trent for its final meeting. It opened in January 1562 and closed in December 1563, with a ceremony at which the council’s decrees were signed. It became clear to Charles de Guise, cardinal of Lorraine, who had been instrumental in the Colloquy at Poissy, that reconciliation with Protestantism was impossible after the decrees of Trent had been ratified. He turned away from his former program of supporting communion in both kinds and vernacular worship and began urging that France implement the decrees of Trent.
The council forbade the sale of indulgences.
In its twenty-second session, the Council of Trent decreed: “[I]n this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross ... [T]his sacrifice is truly propitiatory, and that by means thereof this is effected: that we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid, if we draw nigh unto God, contrite and penitent ...”
de Beza published a metrical Psalter in French.
1563 Russian troops under Ivan the Terrible slaughtered the Jewish and Protestant inhabitants of Polotsk (Belarus). Both groups rejected the use of religious icons.
1563 Elizabeth I, queen of England, proclaimed the 39 articles of religion. These were the 42 articles of 1553 as edited by Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury.
1563 John of the Cross (1542-91) became a Carmelite monk at Medina del Campo in Spain. He wrote mystical poetry, describing the union of the soul with Christ. Among his works are The Dark Night of the Soul and Ascent of Mount Carmel.
1563 The Heidelburg Catechism, written the previous year as an attempt to reconcile Lutheran and Calvinist positions, was accepted at a synod of the church in the Palatinate (see 1559, Frederich III). Zacharias Ursinus led the group that developed the catechism.
1563 Johann Wyver, physician to the duke of Cleves-Jurich, published his De Praestigiis Daemonum, in which criticized the persecution of witches. As a consequence, Bremen ceased witch trials.
1564 Maximilian II succeeded Ferdinand as Holy Roman emperor.
1564 The Creed of the Council of Trent approved. It confessed acceptance of tradition, and obligated the faithful to understand scripture “according to the meaning which has been held by holy Mother Church and which she now holds.” The seven sacraments are endorsed, and the mass is held to be a propitiatory sacrifice in which the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood, with “the whole and entire Christ ... received under each species.” Belief in purgatory is mandated, as is veneration of the saints, their relics and images. The power of indulgences within the Church is affirmed, and obedience to “the Roman Pontiff” is sworn. Finally, a general affirmation of all the doctrines of the church is made, all heresies are rejected, and the “infallible teaching authority” of the “Roman Pontiff” is acknowledged.
1564 Pope Pius IV (1559-65) published rules developed by the Index Commission of the Council of Trent (see 1546 above) regarding the reading of Scripture in the vernacular. The fourth rule read, “Inasmuch as it is manifest from experience that if the Holy Bible, translated into the vulgar tongue, be indiscriminately allowed to everyone, the temerity of men will cause more evil than good to arise from it, it is, on this point, referred to the judgment of the bishops or inquisitors, who may, by the advice of the priest or confessor, permit the reading of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue by Catholic authors, to those persons whose faith and piety they apprehend will be augmented and not injured by it; and this permission must be had in writing. But if any shall have the presumption to read or possess it without such permission, he shall not receive absolution until he have first delivered up such Bible to the ordinary.” This freedom of bishops or inquisitors to give this permission was withdrawn by Pope Clement VIII in 1596.
1564 The Jesuits founded a Polish college at Braunsberg on the Baltic coast (between Danzig and Konigsberg).
1564 From about this year the term “Puritan” began to be used of those who wished to take the Reformation in England in the direction of the Reformed churches on the continent.
1565 Ferenc David, superintendent of the Reformed church in Transylvania, publicly expressed doubt about the doctrine of the Trinity.
1566 Second Helvetic Confession.
1566 Publication of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. This work was based on a catechism that Bartolome Carranza had prepared for Reginald Poe during Mary Tudor’s reign in England. See 1559. Since the Spanish Inquisition considered Carranza a heretic, it prohibited the Tridentine catechism from entering Spain.
1567 A professor at Louvain named Michael Baius accused the Jesuits of Pelagianism. Baius took an Augustinian, pessimistic view of human nature, as Jansen was to do later. Baius’s teachings were condemned by Pius V (1566-72).
1567/68 The second French religious war. Fearing Catholic aggression, the Huguenots attempted unsuccessfully to capture the king (Charles IX, 1560-74) and his mother. But the Huguenots did manage to seize the cities of Orleans and La Rochelle.
1567 Eighty Catholics massacred by Huguenots at Nimes, France.
1567 On 24 July, Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate, given the suspicious circumstances of her husband Darnley’s death and her sudden marriage to a man (Bothwell) suspected of his murder. Mary was replaced by her son James VI, who was coronated at Stirling on 29 July. John Knox preached the coronation sermon, signaling the success of Protestantism in Scotland.
1567 Publication in Heidelburg of Sanctae Inquisitionis hispanicae artes detectae ac palam traductae, an account of the Spanish Inquisition. The book helped generate the legend of the Spanish Inquisition’s sadistic cruelty.
1568 The Transylvanian Diet affirmed the legal status of Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran, and even anti-Trinitarian religious groups (see 1565, Ferenc David). The Diet asserted that “ministers should everywhere preach and proclaim according to their understanding.”
1568 The Bishop’s Bible published in England. It was read publicly in the churches, though the Geneva Bible was more popular for private reading.
1568 Holland rose in revolt against Spain. This was the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648). Germany, England, and French Huguenots assisted the Dutch. The war was precipitated by Philip II’s introduction in 1559 of eleven new bishoprics. At Philip’s urging, the holders of these sees were determined to root out heresy, and they unleashed the Inquisition on the Low Countries. The persecution set up a backlash: in 1566 Protestant mobs wrecked churches in a number of cities, destroying statues, crucifixes, missals, and organs. In 1567, Philip’s regent, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva, entered the territory with an army of ten thousand men (and two thousand prostitutes). He cracked down on the Protestants severely, forbidding emigration and arresting city officials who failed tolerated Protestants. Hundreds were imprisoned and executed. William of Orange seized the opportunity to wage a war of independence.
controversy arose at Heidelburg University over Thomas Erastus’s view
that the secular authority, not the church, has the right to excommunicate
sinners whenever the citizens of profess a single faith. Erastus’s
view has given rise to the term “Erastianism,” which now refers to
state domination of the church.
Pius V (1566-72) forbade bullfighting. He characterized it as sinful
and prohibited anyone killed in a bullfight from Christian burial.
Spain refused to promulgate the pope's decree.
Pius V (1566-72) added several new condemnations to the bull Coena Domini (a yearly listing of crimes
against the church). Anyone who appealed from the pope to a general
council was to be condemned; as were rulers who banished cardinals, bishops,
nuncios, or legates; and any secular court or private person who initiated
legal proceedings against a cleric. Spain and Austria prohibited the
bull from being promulgated. In Naples, the Viceroy collected and destroyed
all copies of the bull. Venice prevented its publication on Venetian
1568-70 The third French religious war. It ended when Charled IX signed a peace treaty with the Huguenots, who were advancing on Paris.
1569 Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) had St. Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, strangled to death in prison for opposing his cruel methods. (An alternate account states that Philip was burned alive.) Philip had refused to bless Ivan at a liturgy in Moscow in 1568. He was canonized in 1652.
1569 The Union of Lublin. Lithuania united to Poland.
1569 In a bull published this year, Pope Pius V (1566-72) gave the first official instructions regarding the Rosary (popular in northern Europe since the fifteenth century). The Jesuits had begun promoting the Rosary in the 1560s, and the Rosary had recently been introduced into the Roman Breviary.
1569 Arians (anti-Trinitarians) in Poland opened the Academy of Rakow, an institution of higher learning which also published Arian literature. See 1609.
1570s During this decade the Roman Inquisition triumphed over Protestantism in Italy, forcing it into hiding in remote valleys in the Alps.
1570 Beginning in about this year, pipe organs were removed from churches in England or allowed to fall into disrepair. Organs were no longer used in Scotland or in Zurich.
1570 The Turks invaded and conquered Cyprus. The bulk of the population were Orthodox peasants enslaved by a Frankish ruling class. The Turks restored the privileges and property of the Orthodox church, at the expense of the Latin Catholics. They also transported Moslem immigrants from Anatolia to work uninhabited land.
1570 Pope Pius V (1566-72) excommunicated Elizabeth I of England. His bull was entitled “The Damnation and Excommunication of Elizabeth.” It also deposed her and absolved her subjects from their oaths of allegiance to her.
1570 Thomas Cartwright, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, was dismissed for advocating a Presbyterian form of church government.
1571 At the naval battle of Lepanto, a Venetian and Spanish fleet defeated the Turks. This was largely revenge for the loss of Cyprus. The victory was celebrated throughout western Europe and signaled the end of the myth of Turkish invincibility. (Incidentally, Cervantes fought in this battle.)
1571 Tatars sacked and burned Moscow.
1571 In response to the papal deposition of its sovereign, England’s Parliament passed legislation against Catholic practice. All priests not ordained according to the prayer book were required to subscribe to the 39 Articles of Religion.
1572 On January 12, a Scottish General Assembly re-introduced Episcopacy (Prelacy) into Scotland. The fight against Prelacy was led by Andrew Melville.
1572/3 Major cities in Holland, Zeeland, Gelderland and Orange came out openly in support of William of Orange. A group known as the Beggars of the Sea, in league with William, seized 18 ships and took command of the Netherlands coast. The brutality of Alva’s Spanish troops strengthened the resolve of the Dutch rebels. From this time the northern Low Countries were effectively independent of Philip II and Spain.
assembled in Paris were slaughtered – the of St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.
Charles IX was under the influence of Coligny, a leader of the Protestants,
who urged him to support the Dutch war against Spain in hopes of acquiring
Flanders for France. The queen mother, Catherine, convinced her son
that the Protestants were about to kidnap him. Charles ordered the
Huguenots killed. About 2000 were murdered in Paris, and a further
5000 in the provinces. Upon hearing of the massacre, Pope Gregory XIII
(1572-85) ordered a special medal to be produced to order the Ugonotorum
strages, or defeat of the Protestants. He also commissioned a painting
of the massacre with the title Pontifex Colignii necem probat, “The
pope approves the killing of Coligny.”
Gregory XIII (1572-85) established the Gregorian University.
1573 A delegation of Lutheran scholars from Tubingen visited Constantinople. They provided Patriarch Jeremias II a Greek translation of the Augsburg Confession. One of the Lutheran leaders, Martin Crusius, wrote, “If they wish to take thought for the eternal salvation of their souls, they must join us and embrace our teaching, or else perish eternally!” Jeremias provided an Orthodox critique of the Augsburg Confession in 1576.
1573 In Poland the Compact (or Confederation) of Warsaw provided for religious liberty. Nevertheless, the Polish king began discriminatory policies during the late 1580s during the reign of Sigismond III (see 1587).
Gregory XIII (1572-85) established a German college (the Germanicum) in Rome
as part of a long-term strategy to train clergy who would become canons in
German cathedrals and thus influence the selection of bishops.
Gregory XIII (1572-85) declared this a Jubilee Year. See 1300, 1450.
1576 Spanish mutineers in the war against the Dutch sacked Antwerp, killing 7000 citizens and setting a thousand buildings on fire.
1576 Rudolf II succeeded Maximilian II as Holy Roman emperor.
1576-80 During this period, a Dominican named Bartolome de Medina taught theology at the University of Salamanca. He formulated the casuistic theory of probabilism, according to which absolution was to be offered to those who had acted contrary to the opinion of most authorities if they had followed the opinion of at least one doctor of the Church. This theory was employed by the Jesuits and criticized for encouraging moral laxity. (Medina is also the inventor of the patio process for extracting silver from ore.)
1577 The College of St. Athanasius was opened in Rome to train missionaries to convert the Eastern Orthodox. Most of the students came from Catholic families living on islands ruled by Italians: Corfu, Crete, Cyprus, and Chios.
1577 The Formula of Concord written by Jakob Andrea and Martin Chemnitz. The Formula, an interpretation of the Augsburg Confession, was an attempt to reconcile the various branches of Lutheranism. Three years later, the Formula was included in the Book of Concord, a collection of Lutheran doctrinal standards.
1578 Faustus Socinus finished his De Jesu Christo servatore, in which he opposed he contradicted the view that Christ paid the penalty man owed God for sin. This work was not published until 1594. Already in 1562 Socinus had argued that the first chapter of John’s gospel means that Christ held a divine office, not that he was divine by nature. In 1578/79, Socinus visited Transylvania and attempted to convince Ferenc David (see 1565) that Christ could be worshipped even if he is not divine (David did not agree). Socinus’s anti-Trinitarianism came to be termed Socinianism.
1578 In a sermon given in Cambridge, Dr. Laurence Chaderton, a Puritan, described the Church of England as “a huge mass of old and stinking works , of conjuring, witchcraft, sorcery, charming, blaspheming the holy name of God, swearing and forswearing, profaning of the Lord’s Sabbath, disobedience to superiors, contempt of inferiors; murder, manslaughter, …”
1579 In France the anonymous work Vindiciae contro tyrannos (A Vindication against Tyrants) was published. It argued that a king, if he were a tyrant and failed to uphold the natural law, could be deposed by magistrates or by a body such as States-General.
1579 Alessandro Farnesse, Duke of Parma, sacked Maastricht. Four hundred people survived out of a population of 30,000.
Munich, Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol and Archduke Karl of Inner Austria met
with Wilhelm V, son of the Duke of Bavaria. They agreed to suppress
Protestantism not through force of arms but by removing their legal and political
privileges, and by favoring and promoting Catholics.
Gregory XIII (1572-85) transformed the English pilgrim hospice in Rome into
a seminary for training missionaries to England.
1580-82 Though completed around the turn of the century, the complete Slavonic Bible (known as the Ostrozhsky or Ostrong Bible because it was published at the Ostrozhskii princes' printing house) was printed. See 1490 above.
1580/81 General Assemblies in Scotland condemned the Scottish Episcopacy. James VI signed the Negative Confession, which abjured Popery.
1581 Edmund Campion executed at Tyburn (now Marble Arch, Hyde Park). A Jesuit missionary, Campion authored Decem rationes, a pamphlet opposing the Anglican Church. In England, 78 Catholic priests and 25 laypersons were executed for their religion in the decade ending with 1590.
1582 Gregorian Calendar. On 24 February, Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85) revised the calendar to keep the calendar in sync with the seasons. Oct 5, 1582 became Oct 15. The beginning of the year was moved from 25 March to 1 January. The revised calendar was not adopted in England until 1752.
1582 In November, a synod meeting in Constantinople rejected the Gregorian calendar reform, particularly as it was introduced on papal authority alone. The pope had sent Livio Cellini to Constantinople in May to discuss the reform with Jeremias II Tranos, patriarch of Constantinople. Initially, the patriarch had been receptive. But when it became known that the reform had been instituted unilaterally the previous February, calendar reform was doomed in the East.
1582 The archbishop of Cologne, Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg, announced that he had become a Protestant, that he was married, and that he had no intention of stepping down as archbishop. Forces under Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria, augmented by troops from the Hapsburg Low Countries, removed the archbishop.
1582 Publication of the Rheims New Testament. The full Bible was complete in 1609. The preface to this Catholic New Testament stated that the purpose of the translation was to provide Catholic priests a weapon to use against Protestant arguments. The intention was not to supply laymen with the Scriptures.
1584 William of Orange assassinated.
1584 Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85) founded the Maronite College in Rome. It was during this century that the Maronites (see 684), who had been Monothelites in the centuries immediately following the sixth ecumenical council, entered into communion with Rome. [This last sentence is contradicted by the traditions of the Maronites themselves, who hold they have always been “orthodox Christians in union with the Roman see” - Britannica.]
1584 Death of Charles Borromeo, archbishop of Milan. Borromeo had been instrumental in the publication of the catechism of Trent in 1566. He also introduced and promoted the confessional (a wooden chamber with two compartments separated by a latticed screen).
1585 Publication of Dudley Fenner’s Sacra Theologia, a work on covenant theology.
1586 Publication of William Perkins’ Treatise Tending unto a Declaration whether a man be in the estate of Damnation or in the estate of Grace and if he be in the first, how he may in time come out of it; if in the second, how he may discern it, and persevere in the same to the end. A central problem for the Puritans was the determination of whether they might have only a temporary faith, only seeming to be among the elect, while actually being among the damned. This question led the Puritans to keep journals in which they recorded the examination of their own inner lives.
1587 On 8 Feb, Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded. Mary had escaped from Scotland to England in 1568, where she was held in confinement. She had been implicated in a plan for a Spanish invasion of England (the Throckmorton plot, 1582) and the Babington plot (1586) to murder Elizabeth.
1587 The third printed edition of the Septuagint was published under the sponsorship of Pope Sixtus V (1585-90). Known as the Sixtine Septuagint, the text relies heavily on Codex Vaticanus (B). Valpy’s edition of 1819 is based on the Sixtine; Brenton, in turn, based his text (1851) on Valpy’s.
1587 Sigismund III of Sweden became king of Poland. His overturned the policy of his predecessor, King Stephen Bathory, and prevented Orthodox and Lutheran bishops from taking seats in the Polish Senate, though Catholic bishops retained that privilege. He also set aside all public offices for Catholics.
Jesuit Ramon de la Higuera claimed to have discovered lead tablets proving
that St. James the Apostle had come to Spain and attested to the truth of
the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The spurious nature of
the supposed discoveries was proven by Dominican scholars. In 1639,
Pope Urban VIII (1623-44) forbade Catholics from appealing to the tablets
of Granada (Laminae Granatenses) as evidence.
Sixtus V (1585-90) set the maximum number of cardinals to 70. He divided
them into 15 congregations. Six congregations were responsible for
managing the Papal States. The remaining 9 attended to the Index for
Forbidden Books, regulating bishops, the Inquisition, implementing the decrees
of Trent, standardizing rituals, and so forth.
1588/89 Luis de Molina (1535-1600), a Jesuit philosopher and theologian, published his "The Harmony of Free Will with the Gifts of Grace," an attempt to comport divine justice and mercy, predestination and damnation, and grace and human freedom. Molina held to a high view of human nature, emphasizing the importance of the assent of the one who receives divine grace. He spoke of predestination in terms of divine foreknowledge of works done under grace. Molina's views incited a theological battle between the Dominicans and Jesuits, which lasted for over 300 years.
1588/89 The Marprelate Controversy. An unknown Puritan authored several tracts attacking the episcopacy in England. In response, in a sermon delivered at Paul’s Cross in London, Richard Bancroft argued that the office of the bishop is a divine institution.
1588 William Morgan translated the Bible into Welsh. Morgan’s translation contained an introduction that identified ancient Celtic Christianity with Protestantism. The Welsh Bible, along with the founding of Jesus College at Oxford, led to the decline of Catholicism in Wales. By 1603, only 1.6% of the roughly 212,000 churchgoers in Wales admitted to being Catholic..
1588 Defeat of the Spanish Armada. Cardinal William Allen, founder of the college at Douai which sent Jesuit missionaries into England, had urged English Catholics to support the invading forces. He referred to Queen Elizabeth as “begotten and born in sin of an infamous courtesan” and as the “chief spectacle of sin and abomination in this age.”
1588 The Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople passed through Ukraine on his return from Moscow in this year. Upset with his popularity, King Sigismund III of Poland ordered the Jesuits to increase their efforts in Ukraine. They succeeded in converting Michael, metropolitan of Vilna, and Ignatius, bishop of Vladimir, who then assisted Sigismund in summoning the council of Brest-Litovsk.
1589 Russian Patriarchate. The head of the Russian church was raised in rank from a Metropolitan to a Patriarch, receiving the fifth place in honor, after Jerusalem.
1589 Henry of Navarre, heir to the throne of France and a Protestant, had overcome Catholic forces and was in a position to take Paris. In the face of Parisian opposition to having a Protestant king, Henry sent to the pope requesting instruction in the Catholic faith. He was advised by the Duke of Sully that “Paris is well worth a mass.”
1590 Meletios of Pegas became patriarch of Constantinople (1590-1601). He opposed the Union of Brest-Litovsk and wrote a treatise critical of the Western Church’s innovations in Trinitarian theology. He also drafted an apology for Christianity, intended for the Jews.
1590 Between this year and 1603, 53 Catholic priests and 35 laypersons were executed in England for their faith.
1590 In around this year Francisco Ribera, a Jesuit priest,
published a commentary on the Apocalypse. He
taught that most of the book of Revelation prophesies events that will occur
at the end of time. His teaching contrasts with
that of Protestant Reformers who applied much of the book to the entire period
since Christ’s first coming.
1590-91 The Clementine edition of the Vulgate published.
1594 The Turks burned the relics of St. Sava of Serbia.
1595 The secular clergy of the Sorbonne sent a petition to the Parlement of Paris requesting that the Jesuits be expelled from France. The Parlement agreed to their request. The Jesuits were agitating against the new king, Henry IV.
1595 Martin Del Rio, a Spanish Jesuit, published a book on witchcraft. According to Del Rio, witchcraft flourishes as the intial enthusiasm for heresy dies out. In his view, this phenomenon was then taking place in the Low Countries. Del Rio also popularized the notion that witches hold sabbats and engage in sexual intercourse with Satan.
1595 The Orthodox Church was declared illegal in Poland.
1595/96 The “Union” of Brest-Litovsk. A council met at Brest-Litovsk, attended by only a few Orthodox bishops. A slim majority of those present agreed to accept papal supremacy if they were permitted to retain their liturgy, communion under both species, married priests, and the use of the Julian calendar. On December 23, Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) formally accepted these terms. A second council was then scheduled to meet, again in Brest-Litovsk, to formally establish the union. Sigismund, the Polish king, prevented any dissenting clergy from attending the council. Among those who did attempt to attend were representatives of the patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria: Nicephorus Cantacuzenus and Cyril Lucaris. Cantacuzenus was executed by the Polish police in 1598, but Lucaris, temporarily protected by the prince of Ostrov, escaped to Constantinople.
1596 Political, economic, and military pressure was brought to bear on millions of Orthodox Christians living along the Western borders of Russia, Byelorussia, and Ukraine, in order to force them to accept a false union with the Roman Catholic Church. (Six of the eight Orthodox bishops of Ukraine had voted in favor of union with Rome.) Bishoprics were given only to Uniates, and Orthodox bishops were deprived of office. There was a powerful backlash among the laity. Over the next century or so, Brotherhoods (Bratstva), associations of laymen, were formed to combat Jesuit propaganda, obtaining printing presses and publishing books in defense of Orthodoxy.
1596 Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) withdrew the right of bishops or inquisitors to permit Bible reading in the vernacular (see 1564). From this point, permission was required from the pope himself. However, it would appear that the restriction on reading the Bible in the vernacular was not in effect in Northern Europe.
1597 The fifth book of Richard Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity appeared in print. Against the Puritans, who insisted on Scripture alone as the authority, Hooker listed Scripture as primary, and always to be obeyed when it spoke clearly, but he added church tradition and reason in doubtful matters. He argued that Englishman must be loyal to their sovereign, and so must be Anglicans. He stressed the sacraments and liturgical prayer and de-emphasized preaching.
1597 King James VI of Scotland a book entitled Demonologie, in which he encouraged the persecution of witches.
1597 Anneke van den Hove, an Anabaptist servant girl in the Spanish Netherlands, was buried alive for heresy. Her execution was arranged by magistrates and Jesuits.
1598 The Edict of Nantes. The edict, issued by Henry IV, extended some freedom to French Protestants. Protestant pastors were to be paid by the state, and Protestants could maintain their strongholds for another eight years, also at the king’s expence. However, Protestant worship was forbidden from extending into Catholic areas. The edict was opposed by Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605).
1599 The first printing of an English Old Testament without the “Apocrypha” – a Geneva Bible of 1599.
1599 Archduke Ferdinand of Inner Austria began to persecute Protestants through “reformation commissions.” These commissions consisted of a cleric with Hapsburg government officials and armed troops. They burned Protestant books and destroyed Protestant churches.
this year, 50 of the German (Holy Roman) Empire’s 65 free cities had accepted
population of Rome may have been 100,000 by this year.
1600 Death of St. Basil of Mangazeya. Born of a poor family in 1587, Basil traveled to Mangazeya in Siberia to become a merchant’s apprentice. Unfortunately, the merchant pressured Basil to have homosexual relations with him. Basil refused. Enraged, the merchant accused him of theft, and he was arrested and tortured. The merchant himself struck Basil in the head with a set of heavy iron keys and Basil fell dead. In 1652, Basil began appearing in dreams to the local people, and he healed many. His coffin rose to the surface of the ground. It was opened, and his body was found incorrupt.