The Reformation was a schism in Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, a Friar of the Augustine Order, and continued by Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin and other Protestant Reformers in 16th-century Europe.
It is usually considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517 and lasted until the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648. It led to the division of Western Christianity into different confessions (Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist, Unitarian, etc.).
Although there had been earlier attempts to reform the Catholic Church, Luther is widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with the Ninety-five Theses. Luther began by criticising the sale of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory. The Reformation incorporated doctrinal changes such as a complete reliance on Scripture as the only source of proper belief (sola scriptura) and the belief that faith in Jesus, and not good works, is the only way to obtain God's pardon for sin (sola fide).
The Reformation is usually dated to 31 October 1517 in Wittenberg, Saxony, when Luther sent his Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the Archbishop of Mainz. The theses debated and criticized the Church and the papacy, but concentrated upon the selling of indulgences and doctrinal policies about purgatory, particular judgment, and the authority of the Pope. He would later in the period 1517–1521 write works on the Catholic devotion to Virgin Mary, the intercession of and devotion to the saints, the sacraments, mandatory clerical celibacy, monasticism, further on the authority of the Pope, the ecclesiastical law, censure and excommunication, the role of secular rulers in religious matters, the relationship between Christianity and the law, and good works.
It was never Luther’s intent to start the Reformation or to split the Catholic Church. His writings did reflect a large amount of commonality of teaching with the Roman Catholic Church such as the Liturgy, Baptism and the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Luther additionally held the Virgin Mary and other saints in very high regard. Lutherans and Catholics are in regular dialogue regarding these and other issues and frequently enjoy each other’s company in Christian fellowship. Pope Francis celebrated the 500 anniversary of the Reformation with Lutheran leaders in Germany in 2017.
ALL SAINTS DAY
All Saints' Day is a solemn holy day of the Christian Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven.
All Saints' Day is commemorated by members of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches as well as some protestant churches, such as Anglican and Lutheran Churches.
All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls' Day, which follows All Saints and is practiced in the Roman Catholic Church on Nov 2.
The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731.741) of an oratory in St. Peter's for the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", with the day moved to 1 November and the 13 May feast suppressed.
The festival was retained after the Reformation in the calendar of the Anglican Church and in many Lutheran churches. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada, the Methodist churches, and the Wesleyan Church.
Protestants generally regard all true Christian believers as saints and if they observe All Saints Day at all they use it to remember all Christians both past and present. In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November. It is held, not only to remember Saints, but also to remember all those that have died that were members of the local church congregation.
In many Lutheran churches, All Saints' Day and Reformation Day are observed concurrently on the Sunday before or after those dates, given Reformation Day is observed in Protestant Churches on October 31. Typically, Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress is Our God is sung during the service. Besides discussing Luther's role in the Protestant Reformation, some recognition of the prominent early leaders of the Reformed tradition, such as John Calvin and John Knox, occurs. The observance of Reformation Day may be immediately followed by a reading of those members of the local congregation who have died in the past year in observance of All Saints' Day. Otherwise, the recognition of deceased church members occurs at another designated portion of the service.