This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant religion. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 theses, which criticized the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, the new religion broke away from the high church in Rome.
Luther nailed his list of criticism on the door of a church in Wittenberg, where he taught theology. He attacked the Church because it claimed that a sinner could reduce God’s punishment by giving money to the church. He also claimed that popes were too powerful and abused their power.
A few years later Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. However, because of the printing press, which was invented at that time, his message spread across most of Europe. The Reformation caused widespread change in Europe. It led to wars and people leaving their home country in pursuit of religious freedom.
In England, Henry VIII broke his ties with the Roman Catholic Church and, based on Luther’s theses, founded the Anglican Church. Over the centuries Protestants have created many different branches of their religion. Many Protestants are found in Scandinavia, Germany and the United States.
About 800 million Protestants live in the world today. Even though there are still many disagreements between Protestantism and Catholicism, both churches have overcome their differences. Their relationship has improved since the 16th century.
The anniversary was celebrated throughout the Protestant world. Most ceremonies took place in Germany, the cradle of Protestantism.
- abuse = to use something in the wrong way
- anniversary = date on which something important happened in the past
- attack = to criticise something in a strong way
- based on = here: to create a new church out of Protestant ideas
- cause = lead to
- century = a hundred years
- ceremony = important event that is performed in a traditional way
- claim = to say that something is true
- cradle = here: where everything began
- disagreement = when two or more people do not have the same opinion
- even though = while, although
- excommunicate = to punish someone by no longer allowing them to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church
- found – founded = create something new
- however = but
- invent = to make or design something new
- message = news
- printing press = machine that prints newspapers, books etc.. in large numbers
- publish = to make something official, for everyone to see
- pursuit = follow
- nail = to fasten something to an object
- overcome = here: not to argue anymore
- reduce = make something smaller or less
- Reformation = religious changes in Europe in the 16th century that led to the creation of Protestantism
- sinner = a person who does not obey or follow God’s laws
- spread = to move from one place to another
- theology = the study of religion and religious ideas
- theses = an opinion about something, often in writing
- widespread= something that happens in many places at the same time