This is the name given to the body of doctrines and practices characteristic of those churches (and their off-shoots) that came into being during the European Reformation in schism from the (Roman) Catholic Church. The word itself (and its related forms) derive from the Latin word protestatio, and in particular from the document of that name issued by the minority Lutherans of the Diet of Speyer in Germany in 1529, containing a ‘protest’ against the suppression of Lutheranism by the Catholic majority in the Diet. Those who subscribed to this document and their supporters came to be termed ‘protestants’. Protestantism in England was less systematic and more indirect in its course. Henry VIII’s ‘reformation’ was political rather than theological, and he remained Catholic in his sympathies and devotional practices, although protestantism made some advances during his reign under Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer. The ‘Elizabethan Settlement’ achieved by Elizabeth 1 (1558-1603) set its stamp upon the ‘Ecclesia Anglicana’ (C of E) as the ‘via media’ between Geneva (Calvin) and Rome.
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