Protestant Reformation, Renaissance and Middle Ages essay

Protestant Reformation is a movement which took emerged in Europe  in the  beginning of the XVI century. During this period many people became dissatisfied with the Catholic Church. Many blamed this institution for the corruption and perverting of Christian values. The Church of that time was very influential and possessed not only religious, but also political power. The change in the religious rituals was very slight and the break was rather a political act. Breaking up with the Roman Church  helped the rulers of the countries to get rid of the influence of Rome and obtain independence. This process got the name of Reformation. This process included major political, religious and social changes in the European countries.  The movement resulted in the deep transformation of the Church structure and decrease of influence of Rome. Reformation began in Germany and quickly spread to other European countries. Martin Luther, a German Monk, became the head of Protestant movement in Germany. Luther proclaimed that church was corrupted and insisted on the reformation of the church structure in order to help it to perform its original function.   The adherents of new reformed church named new church the Lutheran church.

Disagreements between Luther and representatives of other reformist movements resulted in the appearance of other branches of Protestantism, such as Calvinism, Presbyterianism and Anglican Church.    In England Protestantism gained a very big influence. The Protestant movement was initiated by Henry VIII.    Henry VIII set up the principles of total state power. This transition proved the switch from the medieval model of ruler, whose function was lawmaking and temporal power to new type of monarch, who possessed absolute power and presented additional function of the ideological ruler of the country in addition to functions of feudal time monarch. Henry’s first wife could not give birth to a boy. Henry needed the heir badly as the Crown was passed only to male heirs during those times. The Tudor dynasty was too young during then, as Henry was only the second Tudor monarch.

This is the reason he needed male child so badly. Henry has fallen in love with one of his mistresses ”“ Anne Boleyn – and decided to marry her. But he needed divorce or annulment of his marriage proved by the Pope of Rome.  Henry and his representatives spent several years trying to get a divorce approval from the Roman Church, which opinion was extremely important during those times. All his effort failed as his marriage with Catherine was specifically approved by the Pope’s license several years before (Wilson, 2002).

Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s right hand turned to English Parliament looking for the solution of the problem. Thus, the number of acts aiming to get rid of the Roman Church was ratified. These acts limited the influence of Roman church in England and started the era of English Reformation. Here we see a perfect example of the case where the problem of the one monarch has caused great changed for the whole history of the country. Trivial issue about the divorce of the king gave push to the English Reformation.

Finally, in 1532 the divorce process was successfully finished by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Just a week later Henry married Anne. This divorce resulted Henry’s excommunication. In respond Parliament ratified Henry’s decision to break up with the Roman Catholic Church. The king of England was proclaimed the only head of the country, which deprived the Roman Church any rights to interfere within the policy of the empire. Anglican Church was subdued to English monarch since than. The changes of the influences caused the Dissolution of Monasteries.

Enjoying full rights the head of the empire resold monastery lands. The possessions of the monasteries were immense and their selling brought big amount of money to the treasury.

In 1534 the Act of Supremacy completed the break of England with the Church of Rome (Smith, 1971). Henry was recognized as the head of English Church by this act. These changes had very poor consequences for the Monasteries. After becoming the full head of the church, Henry VIII decided to take the part of their property. He took property of the monasteries and churches. Part of the monasteries’ lands and possessions became the property of the country and another part was given to Henry’s friends and relatives as a present.

2. The term “Renaissance” derives from the Latin world “rinascere”, which means rebirth and revival. It was first implied in the 19th century to describe intellectual and artistic revival, inspired by a renewed interest to Ancient Classical art and culture. Italy became the motherland of Renaissance, which began in the early 14th century and reached its peak in the early 16th century. By this time, it had spread to France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and other European countries.  This period  was marked by the  dynamic changes in all spheres of life which followed strict and ascetic period of the Middle ages with its religious domination and censorship of the Church.

Middle Ages is the time, which is often called an obscure and dark time in history when all the sciences were limited by the needs of the church and art and culture were neglected and defined as “dirty” sinful and filled with evil temptations. Renaissance with its new ideas in art, astronomy, science, literature, mathematics, philosophy, religion, and politics became a breath of fresh air for the society suppressed by the religious dogmas and rules. Not satisfied with the existing state of events, Italian Humanists of the Renaissance period turned back to the culture of Ancient Greece and Rome. This ancient culture with its cult of human beauty, naturalness and thirst for life became a source of inspiration for the progressive  intellectuals. It’s absolutely natural that it was Italy, who became the centre Renaissance as it was the cradle of ancient Rome civilization. Greek and Rome gods were ”˜restored’ in their right and put back on the top of the secret mountain of Olympus. Ascetic and strict lifestyle was replaced by the splendor and luxury, which were so popular in the ancient times.  Ancient Greek and Rome authors were reread and interpreted in a new way, ancient plots became very popular among the contemporary authors, sculptors and architectures turned to Greek and Roman forms and patters. Theology which controlled all the spheres of life was pressed by the renewed and transformed Plato’s teaching which got the name of Neo-Platonism and became very popular during the period of Renaissance.

Leave a Reply