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4.0 Introduction

During the 16th century, at the time of the Western European expansion overseas in America, Asia and Africa, there was a notable break in the Christian Church in Europe. There was a revolt against the authority of the Pope, on the part of a large number of Christians who gave up some of the doctrines of the Catholic Church. These Christians mainly in northern Europe, organized themselves under different creeds and assumed new names. This break in the church that gave rise to the new groups called 'Protestants' is often called the 'Reformation'.

Difference of opinion had existed among Christians from early times. There had been earlier heresies and schisms, such as Aryanism, which flourished for a while and gradually faded away. Separate national churches were formed in Armenia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Abyssinia, as a result of other varieties of faiths.

In the 11th century, a serious schism arose between east and west, between the Christians using Latin. Thus the believers were divided into two groups, the 'Orthodox' Church of the east, and the 'Catholic' Church of the west.

However the break in the Church occurring in the 16th century, was the result of dissatisfaction that had appeared in the Middle Age and often showed up in the 14th and 15th centuries.

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4.0 Introduction
4.1 Meaning
4.2 Importance of the Reformation
4.3 Causes of the Reformation
4.4 Spread of Protestantism
4.5 The Counter Reformation
4.6 Consequences of the Reformation
4.7 Dates & Events
4.8 Points to Remember

Chapter 5


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