While the Anabaptist movement enjoyed popularity in the region in the early decades of the Reformation, Calvinism, in the form of the Dutch Reformed Church , became the dominant Protestant faith in the country from the s onward. In the early 17th century internal theological conflict within the Calvinist church between two tendencies of Calvinism, the Gomarists and the liberal Arminians or Remonstrants , resulted in Gomarist Calvinism becoming the de facto state religion. The first two Lutheran martyrs were monks from Antwerp, Johann Esch and Heinrich Hoes who were burned at the stake when they would not recant.
Harsh persecution of Protestants by the Spanish government of Philip II contributed to a desire for independence in the provinces, which led to the Eighty Years' War and, eventually, the separation of the largely Protestant Dutch Republic from the Catholic-dominated Southern Netherlands present-day Belgium.
Luxembourg , a part of the Spanish Netherlands, remained Catholic during the Reformation era because Protestantism was illegal until Much of the population of the Kingdom of Hungary adopted Protestantism during the 16th century. They found this in the teaching of Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther. The spread of Protestantism in the country was assisted by its large ethnic German minority, which could understand and translate the writings of Martin Luther.
While Lutheranism gained a foothold among the German- and Slovak-speaking populations, Calvinism became widely accepted among ethnic Hungarians. In the more independent northwest, the rulers and priests, protected now by the Habsburg Monarchy , which had taken the field to fight the Turks, defended the old Catholic faith.
They dragged the Protestants to prison and the stake wherever they could. Such strong measures only fanned the flames of protest, however. Protestants likely formed a majority of Hungary's population at the close of the 16th century, but Counter-Reformation efforts in the 17th century reconverted a majority of the kingdom to Catholicism. A significant Protestant minority remained, most of it adhering to the Calvinist faith. In the Transylvanian Diet of Turda decreed the free practice of both the Catholic and Lutheran religions, but prohibited Calvinism.
Ten years later, in , the Diet extended this freedom, declaring that "It is not allowed to anybody to intimidate anybody with captivity or expulsion for his religion". Between and , there was a series of anti-Habsburg uprisings calling for equal rights and freedom for all Christian denominations, with varying success; the uprisings were usually organised from Transylvania. The Habsburg-sanctioned Counter-Reformation efforts in the 17th century reconverted the majority of the kingdom to Catholicism.
The center of Protestant learning in Hungary has for some centuries been the University of Debrecen. Founded in , the University was situated in an area of Eastern Hungary under Ottoman Turkish rule during the s and s, being allowed Islamic toleration and thus avoiding Counter-Reformation persecution. Transylvania in what is today's Romania was a "dumping ground for undesirables" by the Habsburg monarchy. People who did not conform to the will of the Habsburgs and the leaders of the Catholic Church were forcibly sent there.
Centuries of this practice allowed diverse Protestant traditions to emerge in Romania, including Lutheranism , Calvinism and Unitarianism.
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Calvinism was popular among Hungarians who inhabited the southwestern parts of the present-day Ukraine. Their descendants are still there, see the Sub-Carpathian Reformed Church. The first Protestant congregation was founded in Brest-Litovsk in the Reformed tradition , and the Belarusian Evangelical Reformed Church exists today. His desire for an annulment of his marriage was known as the King's Great Matter. Ultimately Pope Clement VII refused the petition; consequently it became necessary for the King to assert his lordship over the church in his realm to give legal effect to his wishes.
This challenge to Papal supremacy resulted in a breach with the Roman Catholic Church. By , the Irish Parliament had agreed to the change in status of the country from that of a Lordship to that of Kingdom of Ireland.
Unlike similar movements for religious reform on the continent of Europe, the various phases of the English Reformation as it developed in Ireland were largely driven by changes in government policy, to which public opinion in England gradually accommodated itself. However, a number of factors complicated the adoption of the religious innovations in Ireland; the majority of the population there adhered to the Catholic Church. However, in the city of Dublin the reformation took hold under the auspices of George Browne , Archbishop of Dublin. Word of the Protestant reformers reached Italy in the s but never caught on.
Its development was stopped by the Counter-Reformation, the Inquisition and also popular disinterest. Not only was the Church highly aggressive in seeking out and suppressing heresy, but there was a shortage of Protestant leadership. No one translated the Bible into Italian; few tracts were written. No core of Protestantism emerged. The few preachers who did take an interest in "Lutheranism", as it was called in Italy, were suppressed or went into exile to northern countries where their message was well received.
As a result, the Reformation exerted almost no lasting influence in Italy, except for strengthening the Catholic Church and pushing for an end to ongoing abuses in Counter-Reformation.
Some Protestants left Italy and became outstanding activists of the European Reformation, mainly in the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth e. In , the Waldensians , who had been already present centuries before the Reformation, aligned themselves and adopted the Calvinist theology. The Waldensian Church survived in the Western Alps through many persecutions and remains a Protestant church in Italy. The various groups had their own juridical systems.
On the eve of the Protestant Reformation, Christianity held the predominate position within the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and Catholicism received preferential treatment at the expensive of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox. The Reformation first entered Poland through the German-speaking lands in the country's north. The Duchy of Prussia , a vassal of the Polish Crown ruled by the Teutonic Knights, emerged as a key center of the movement, with numerous publishing houses issuing not only Bibles, but also catechisms, in German, Polish and Lithuanian.
In the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights secularized the territory, became Lutheran, and established Lutheranism as the state Church. Lutheranism found few adherents among the other peoples of the two countries.
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Calvinism became the most numerous Protestant group because Calvin's teachings on the role of the state within religion appealed to the nobility known as szlachta , mainly in Lesser Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. At that time, Mennonites and Czech Brothers came to Poland, the former settled in the Vistula Delta where they used their agricultural abilities to turn parts of the delta into plodders and the latter settled mostly in Greater Poland around Leszno.
Later on, Socinus and his followers emigrated to Poland. Originally the Reformed Church in Poland included both the Calvinists and the Anti-trinitarians also known as the Socinians and the Polish Brethren ; however, they eventually split due to an inability to reconcile their divergent views on the Trinity. The Commonwealth was unique in Europe in the 16th century for its widespread tolerance confirmed by the Warsaw Confederation.
This agreement granted religious toleration to all nobles: peasants living on nobile estates did not receive the same protections. In , the Brest Bible was published see also Bible translations into Polish. Sigismund, who was also the King of Sweden until deposed, was educated by Jesuits in Sweden before his election as King of Poland-Lithuania. During his reign, he selected Catholics for the highest offices in the country. This created resentment amongst the Protestant nobility; however, the country did not experience a religiously motivated civil war.
Despite concerted efforts, the nobility rejected efforts to revise or recind the Confederation of Warsaw, the nobility protected this agreement. The Deluge , an year period of almost continual warfare, marked the turning point in attitudes. Despite these wars against Protestant, Orthodox, and Muslim neighbors, the Confederation of Warsaw held with one notable exception. In the aftermath of the Swedish withdrawal and truce, attitudes throughout the nobility Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant turned against the Polish Brethren.
In the Polish Brethren were forced to leave the country.
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They were permitted to sell their immovable property and take their movable property; however, it is still unknown whether they received fair-market value for their lands. In , the Sejm banned apostasy from Catholicism to any other religion, under penalty of death. Finally, in , the Silent Sejm banned non-Catholics from becoming deputies of the Parliament. The strategy the Catholic Church took towards reconverting Poland-Lithuanian differed from its strategy elsewhere.
The unique government Poland-Lithuania was a republic where the citizen nobility owned the state meant the king could not enforce a religious settlement even he if so desired. Instead the Catholic Church undertook a long and steady campaign of persuasion. An important component of the Catholic Reformation in Poland-Lithuania education.