Martin Luther (1483-1546) posts his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenburg Cathedral, in protest at the Catholic doctrine of indulgences and formally begins the Protestant Reformation.
Luther debates Johann Eck (1486-1543), arguing that sola scriptura (scripture alone) is the basis for Christian faith and doctrine.
Luther publishes three monumental works, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and On the Freedom of a Christian.
In The Christian Nobility of the German Nation, Luther outlined the doctrine of the Priesthood of all believers and denied the authority of the Pope to interpret, or confirm interpretation of the Bible.
Diet of Worms
Luther appears at the Diet before Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, to to answer charges of heresy. On refusing to recant, he is declared a heretic and formally excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.
Frederick III, Elector of Saxony ensures that Luther is taken to the Wartburg Castle for his own safety.
Defender of the Faith
After writing Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (Defence of the Seven Sacraments) in opposition to Luther, Henry VIII of England is rewarded with the title Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith) by Pope Leo X.
While at the Wartburg castle, Luther works on a translation of the Bible into German and publishes his New Testament translation (The Old Testament translation is posted later, in 1534).
William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536) publishes a translation of the New Testament in English.
Luther meets the Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) to discuss the issue of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Both parties are unable to come to an agreement, with Luther defending his view of a Sacramental Union of the body and blood and the bread and wine as opposed to the symbolic view of Zwingli.
Publication of the Confessio Augustana or Augsburg Confession, outlining Lutheran theology and practice.
Death of Ulrich Zwingli
Following conflict between the Catholic and Protestant cantons of the Swiss confederacy, Zwingli is killed during the Battle of Kappel.
The marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury in defiance of the Catholic church. Henry later marries Anne Boleyn.
Society of Jesus
Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) founds the Society of Jesus (Jesuit) order as part of the Catholic counter-reformation. Parts of Poland, Hungry and Germany are reconverted from Protestantism to Catholicism.
Act of Supremacy
Henry VIII becomes supreme head of the Church in England, which separates from the Roman Catholic Church.
Thomas More (1478-1535) is executed on the orders of Henry VIII for refusing to support the English Reformation.
William Tyndale burnt at the stake for heresy. His final words were: Lord! Open the King of England's eyes.
John Calvin (1509-1564) publishes (in Latin) his work of Systematic Theology: Institutes of the Christian Religion.
Dissolution of the Monasteries
Henry VIII disbands monasteries, convents, priories and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland.
Council of Trent
The 19th Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church is held to reform and clarify doctrine. It repudiated Protestantism and led to the issuing of a Catechism in 1566.
Martin Luther dies at the age of 62, in Eisleben, Germany. His final words: We are beggars: this is true.
Book of Common Prayer
Publication of the first version of the Book of Common Prayer in the Church of England.
Peace of Augsburg
A treaty grants toleration to Lutherans within the Holy Roman Empire using the principle of cuius regio, eius religio or "Whose region, his religion".
Publication of the Geneva Bible - the first translation in English to use verse and chapter divisions.
The 39 Articles of the Church of England are first published, giving a summary of Anglican doctrine and practice. They were prceeded by the 42 Articles of 1552, written largely by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556).
Death of John Calvin
Calvin dies and is succeeded by Theodore Beza.
Edict of Nantes
French Protestants (Huguenots) are granted toleration by Henry IV in the Edict.
King James Bible
Publication of the KJV or Authorised Version, a translation for the Church of England.
Synod of Dort
The Dutch Reformed Church holds the synod to discuss the issues raised by the supporters of Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). At the Synod, Five point Calvinism is upheld in opposition to Arminianism.
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
Louis XIV (1638-1715) revokes the edict, leading to an exodus of Protestants from France.