Reformation History

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Holy Roman Empire ? Up until the early 19th century, this empire ruled in Europe. Any holiness attached to it came from the claims of the popes in their attempts to assert religious control in Europe. It was Roman to the extent that it tried to revive, without success, the political authority of the Roman Empire in the West as a countermeasure to the Byzantine Empire in the East. It was an empire in the loosest sense of the word--at no time was it able to consolidate unchallenged political control over the vast territories it pretended to rule. There was no central government, no unity of language, no common system of law and no sense of common loyalty among the many states within it. Over the centuries the empire's boundaries shifted and shrank drastically.

5. Johann Tetzel ? Up until the early 16th century, he joined the Dominicans. He became a well-known preacher and was made inquisitor general of Poland.

In 1503 he preached an indulgence mission for the Teutonic Knights and in 1506 another along the Rhine. In 1517 his promotion of the indulgence for the erection of St. Peter's Church aroused the indignation of Martin Luther, whose theses were in part promoted by Tetzel's preaching. In 1518, Tetzel replied to Luther's theses, and their dispute became famous throughout Germany. Tetzel soon retired in bad health to a monastery.

6. Imperial Diet at Worms ? In Worms, Germany, this was opened by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The diet took up the question of the unruly behavior of Martin Luther. Charles summoned Luther, who arrived at Worms. At the diet Luther was asked if he would retract his teachings condemned by the pope. After a day's meditation he refused for a straight week. According to tradition Luther ended his...