Reformation, 16th-century religious revolution in the Christian church, ending the ecclesiastical supremacy of the pope in Western Christendom and establishing the Protestant churches. The Reformation completely altered the medieval way of life in Western Europe and initiated the era of modern history.
II. Conditions Preceding Reformation Beginning in the 900s, popes and emperors battled continually for power in Western Europe, as political leaders resented papal taxation and submission to ecclesiastical officials. Religious reformers also began
showed first 75 words of 924 total
showed last 75 words of 924 total
the middle classes and monarchical rulers. Various regions of Europe gained political, religious, and cultural independence, and individualism and nationalism developed in culture and politics. The Protestant emphasis on personal judgment fostered democratic governments. National languages and literature were advanced by the wide dissemination of religious literature written in the languages of the people. Religion became less the province of a highly privileged clergy and more a direct expression of the beliefs of the people.