Below is a list of some reformation countries that had executions in them, burned at the stake, hung, and strangled.
The Czech reformer and university professor Jan Hus, 1369 to 1415) became the best-known representative of the Bohemian Reformation and one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation.
Jan Hus was declared a heretic and executed burned at the stake at the Council of Constance in 1415 where he arrived voluntarily to defend his teachings.
Other Protestant movements grew up along the lines of mysticism or humanism (cf. Erasmusand Louis de Berquinwho was martyred in 1529), sometimes breaking from Rome or from the Protestants or forming outside of the churches.
John Calvin and Republic of Geneva.
John Calvin was one of the leading figures of the Reformation. His legacy remains in a variety of churches.
Following the ex-communication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various churches in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Germany, and elsewhere.
Note, John Calvin, when running his church had one person burned at the stake.
Church of England
Henry VIII broke England’s ties with the Roman Catholic Church, becoming the sole head of the English Church.
The separation of the Church of England from Rome under Henry VIII, beginning in 1529 and completed in 1537, brought England alongside this broad Reformation movement. Although Robert Barnes attempted to get Henry VIII to adopt Lutheran theology, he refused to do so in 1538 and burned him at the stake in 1540.
Reformers in the Church of England alternated, for decades, between sympathies between Catholic tradition and Reformed principles, gradually developing within the context of robustly Protestant doctrine, a tradition considered a middle way (via media) between the Catholic and Protestant traditions.
The English Reformation followed a different course from the Reformation in continental Europe. There had long been a strong strain of anti-clericalism. England had already given rise to the Lollard movement of John Wycliffe, which played an important part in inspiring the Hussites in Bohemia. Lollardy was suppressed and became an underground movement, so the extent of its influence in the 1520s is difficult to assess. The different character of the English Reformation came rather from the fact that it was initially driven by the political necessities of Henry VIII.
Henry had once been a sincere Catholic and had even authored a book strongly criticizing Luther. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, bore him only a single child who survived infancy, Mary. Henry strongly wanted a male heir, and many of his subjects might have agreed, if only because they wanted to avoid another dynastic conflict like the Wars of the Roses.
Thomas Cranmer proved essential in the development of the English Reformation. Refused an annulment of his marriage to Catherine, King Henry decided to remove the Church of England from the authority of Rome.
In 1534, the Act of Supremacy recognized Henry as “the only Supreme Headon earth of the Church of England.”
Between 1535 and 1540, under Thomas Cromwell, the policy known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries was put into effect. The veneration of some saints, certain pilgrimages, and some pilgrim shrines were also attacked.
Huge amounts of church land and property passed into the hands of the Crown and ultimately into those of the nobility and gentry. The vested interest thus created made for a powerful force in support of the dissolution.
There were some notable opponents to the Henrician Reformation, such as Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher, who were executed for their opposition.
Oliver Cromwell was a devout Puritan and military leader, who became Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
The success of the Counter-Reformation on the Continent and the growth of a Puritan party dedicated to further Protestant reform polarised the Elizabethan Age, although it was not until the 1640s that England underwent religious strife comparable to what its neighbors had suffered some generations before.
The early Puritan movement(late 16th to 17th centuries) was Reformed (or Calvinist) and was a movement for reform in the Church of England.
Its origins lay in the discontent with the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. The desire was for the Church of England to resemble more closely the Protestant churches of Europe, especially Geneva.
The Puritans objected to ornaments and rituals in the churches as idolatrous(vestments, surplices, organs, genuflection), calling the vestments “popish pomp and rags” (see Vestments controversy). They also objected to ecclesiastical courts. Their refusal to endorse completely all of the ritual directions and formulas of the Book of Common Prayer and the imposition of its liturgical order by legal force and inspection sharpened Puritanism into a definite opposition movement.
The later Puritan movement often referred to as dissenters and nonconformists, eventually led to the formation of various Reformed denominations.
The most famous emigration to America was the migration of Puritan separatists from the Anglican Church of England. They fled first to Holland and then later to America to establish the English colony of Massachusetts in New England, which later became one of the original United States.
These Puritan separatists were also known as “the Pilgrims.” After establishing a colony at Plymouth (which became part of the colony of Massachusetts) in 1620, the Puritan pilgrims received a charter from the King of England that legitimized their colony, allowing them to do trade and commerce with merchants in England in accordance with the principles of mercantilism.
The Puritans persecuted those of other religious faiths; for example, Anne Hutchinson was banished to Rhode Island during the Antinomical Controversy, and quaker Mary Dyer was hanged in Boston for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony.
Executions ceased in 1661 when King Charles ISSUABILITY forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone for professing Quakerism.
In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting any Jesuit Roman Catholic priests from entering territory under Puritan jurisdiction.
Any suspected person who could not clear himself was to be banished from the colony; a second offense carried the death penalty.
The Pilgrims held radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas, and its celebration was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681.
The ban was revoked in 1681 by the English-appointed governor Edmund Andros, who also revoked a Puritan ban on festivities on Saturday nights.
Nevertheless, it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the
Although a Catholic clergyman himself, Cardinal Richelieu allied France with Protestant states. Besides the Waldensians already present in France, Protestantism also spread in from German lands, where the protestants were nicknamed Huguenots; this eventually led to decades of civil warfare.
Though not personally interested in religious reform, Francis I (reigned 1515 to 1547) initially maintained an attitude of tolerance in accordance with his interest in the humanist movement.
This changed in 1534 with the Affair of the Placards. In this act, Protestants denounced the Catholic Massin placards that appeared across France, even reaching the royal apartments. During this time as the issue of religious faith entered into the arena of politics, Francis came to view the movement as a threat to the kingdom’s stability.
Following the Affair of the Placards, culprits were rounded up, at least a dozen heretics were put to death, and the persecution of Protestants increased.
One of those who fled France at that time was John Calvin, who emigrated to Basel in 1535 before eventually settling in Geneva in 1536.
Beyond the reach of the French kings in Geneva, Calvin continued to take an interest in the religious affairs of his native land including the training of ministers for congregations in France.
As the number of Protestants in France increased, the number of heretics in prisons awaiting trial also grew.
As an experimental approach to reduce the caseload in Normandy, a special court just for the trial of heretics was established in 1545 in the Parlement de Rouen.
When Henry II took the throne in 1547, the persecution of Protestants grew and special courts for the trial of heretics were also established in the Parlement de Paris. These courts came to know as “La Chambre Arden te”(“the fiery chamber”) because of their reputation of meting out death penalties on burning gallows.
Despite heavy persecution by Henry II, the Reformed Church of France, largely Calvinist in direction, made steady progress across large sections of the nation, in the urban bourgeoisie and parts of the aristocracy, appealing to people alienated by the obduracy and the complacency of the Catholic establishment.
Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre, painting by François Dubois French Protestantism, though its appeal increased under persecution, came to acquire a distinctly political character, made all the more obvious by the conversions of nobles during the 1550s. This established the preconditions for a series of destructive and intermittent conflicts known as the Wars of Religion.
The civil wars gained impetus with the sudden death of Henry IIin 1559, which began a prolonged period of weakness for the French crown.
Atrocity and outrage became the defining characteristics of the time, illustrated at their most intense in the Saint. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of August 1572, when the Catholic party killed between 30,000 and 100,000 Huguenots across France.
The wars only concluded when Henry IV, himself a former Huguenot, issued the Edict of Nantes(1598), promising official toleration of the Protestant minority but under highly restricted conditions. Catholicism remained the official state religion, and the fortunes of French Protestants gradually declined over the next century, culminating in Louis XIV’s Edict of Fontainebleau(1685), which revoked the Edict of Nantes and made Catholicism the sole legal religion of France, leading some Huguenots to live as Nicodemites.
In response to the Edict of Fontainebleau, Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg, declared the Edict of Potsdam(October 1685), giving free passage to Huguenot refugees and tax-free status to them for ten years.
In the late 17th century, 150,000 to 200,000 Huguenots fled to England, the Netherlands, Prussia, Switzerland, and the English and Dutch overseas colonies.
A significant community in France remained in the Cévennesregion. A separate Protestant community of the Lutheran faith existed in the newly conquered province of Alsace, its status not affected by the Edict of Fontainebleau.
The New Testament translated by Enzinas, published in Antwerp(1543)
The New Testament translated by Joanes Leizarragainto the Basque language(1571) on the orders of Navarre’s Calvinist queen, Jeanne III of Navarre.
In the early 16th century, Spain had a different political and cultural milieu from its Western and Central European neighbors in several respects, which affected the mentality and the reaction of the nation towards the Reformation.
Spain, which had only recently managed to complete the reconquest of the Peninsula from the Moors in 1492, had been preoccupied with converting the Muslim and Jewish populations of the newly conquered regions through the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition in 1478.
The rulers of the nation stressed political, cultural, and religious unity, and by the time of the Lutheran Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition was already 40 years old and had the capability of quickly persecuting any new movement that the leaders of the Catholic Church perceived or interpreted to be religious heterodoxy.
Charles V did not wish to see Spain or the rest of Habsburg Europe divided and in light of continual threat from the Ottomans, preferred to see the Roman Catholic Church reform itself from within. This led to a Counter-Reformationin Spain in the 1530s.
During the 1520s, the Spanish Inquisition had created an atmosphere of suspicion and sought to root out any religious thought seen as suspicious.
As early as 1521, the Pope had written a letter to the Spanish monarchy warning against allowing the unrest in Northern Europe to be replicated in Spain.
Between 1520 and 1550, printing presses in Spain were tightly controlled, and any books of Protestant teaching were prohibited.
Contemporary illustration of the auto-da-féof Valladolid, in which fourteen Protestants were burned at the stake for their faith, on May 21, 1559.
Between 1530 and 1540, Protestantism in Spain was still able to gain followers clandestinely, and in cities such as Seville and Valladolid, adherents would secretly meet at private houses to pray and study the Bible.
Protestants in Spain were estimated at between 1000 and 3000, mainly among intellectuals who had seen writings such as those of Erasmus.
Notable reformers included Dr. Juan Gil and Juan Pérez de Pineda, who subsequently fled and worked alongside others such as Francisco de Enzinasto, translate the Greek New Testament into the Spanish language, a task completed by 1556.
Protestant teachings were smuggled into Spain by Spaniards such as Julián Hernández, who in 1557 was condemned by the Inquisition and burnt at the stake.
Under Philip II, conservatives in the Spanish church tightened their grip, and those who refused to recant, such as Rodrigo de Valer, were condemned to life imprisonment.
In May 1559, sixteen Spanish Lutherans were burnt at the stake: fourteen were strangled before being burnt, while two were burnt alive. In October, another thirty were executed.
Spanish Protestants who were able to flee the country were to be found in at least a dozen cities in Europe, such as Geneva, where some of them embraced Calvinist teachings.
Those who fled to England were given support by the Church of England.
The Kingdom of Navarre, although by the time of the Protestant Reformation a minor principality territoriality restricted to southern France, had French Huguenot monarchs, including Henry IV of France and his mother, Jeanne III of Navarre, a devout Calvinist.
Upon the arrival of the Protestant Reformation, Calvinism reached some Basques through the translation of the Bible into the Basque language by Joanes Leizarraga. As Queen of Navarre, Jeanne III commissioned the translation of the New Testament into Basque[d] and Béarnesefor the benefit of her subjects.
Molinismpresented a soteriology similar to Protestants within the Roman Catholic Church.
Anabaptist Dirk Willems rescues his pursuer and is subsequently burned at the stake in 1569.
The Reformation in the Netherlands, unlike in many other countries, was not initiated by the rulers of the Seventeen Provinces but instead by multiple popular movements, which in turn were bolstered by the arrival of Protestant refugees from other parts of the continent. While the Anabaptist movement enjoyed popularity in the region in the early decades of the Reformation, Calvinism, in the form of the Dutch Reformed Church, became the dominant Protestant faith in the country from the 1560s onward.
In the early 17th century, internal theological conflict within the Calvinist church between two tendencies of Calvinism, the Gomaristsand the liberal Arminians(or Remonstrants), resulted in Gomarist Calvinism becoming the de facto state religion.
The first two Lutheran martyrs were monks from Antwerp, Johann Esch, and Heinrich Hoes, who were burned at the stake when they would not recant.
Harsh persecution of Protestants by the Spanish government of Philip II contributed to a desire for independence in the provinces, which led to the Eighty Years’ War and, eventually, the separation of the largely Protestant Dutch Republic from the Catholic-dominated Southern Netherlands(present-day Belgium).
In 1566, at the peak of Belgian Reformation, there were an estimated 300,000 Protestants or 20% of the Belgian population.
Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth
Jan Laskisought unity between various Christian Churches in the Commonwealth and participated in the English Reformation.
In the first half of the 16th century, the enormous Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was a country of many religions and Churches, including Roman Catholics, Byzantine Orthodox, Armenian Oriental Orthodox, Ashkenazi Jews, Karaites, and Sunni Muslims. The various groups had their own juridical systems. On the eve of the Protestant Reformation, Christianity held the predominant position within the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and Catholicism received preferential treatment at the expense of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox.
The Reformation first entered Poland through the mostly German-speaking areas in the country’s north.
In the 1520s, Luther’s reforms spread among the mostly German-speaking inhabitants of such major cities as Danzig(now Gdansk), Thorn(now Torun), and Elbing(now Elblag). In Königsberg(now Kaliningrad), in 1530, a Polish-language edition of Luther’s Small Catechism was published.
The Duchy of Prussia, a vassal of the Polish Crownruled by the Teutonic Knights, emerged as a key center of the movement, with numerous publishing houses issuing not only Bibles but also catechisms in German, Polish and Lithuanian. In 1525 the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights secularised the territory, became Lutheran, and established Lutheranism as the state church.
Lutheranism found few adherents among the other peoples of the two countries. Calvinism became the most numerous Protestant group because Calvin’s teachings on the role of the state within religion appealed to the nobility (known as Szlachta), mainly in Lesser Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Several publishing houses were opened in Lesser, Poland, in the mid-16th century in such locations as Slomnikiand Raków.
At that time, Mennonites and Czech Brothers came to Poland. The former settled in the Vistula Delta, where they used their agricultural abilities to turn parts of the delta into plodders. The latter settled mostly in Greater Polandaround Leszno. Later on, Socinus and his followers emigrated to Poland.
Originally the Reformed Church in Poland included both the Calvinists and the Anti-trinitarians (also known as the Socinians and the Polish Brethren); however, they eventually split due to an inability to reconcile their divergent views on the Trinity. Both Catholics and Orthodox Christians converts became Calvinists, and the Anti-Trinitarians needed.
The Commonwealth was unique in Europe in the 16th century for its widespread tolerance, confirmed by the Warsaw Confederation. This agreement granted religious toleration to all nobles: peasants living on noble estates did not receive the same protections. In 1563, the Brest Bible was published (see also Bible translations into Polish).
The period of tolerance came under strain during the reign of King Sigismund III Vasa(Zygmunt Wasa). Sigismund, who was also the King of Sweden until deposed, was educated by Jesuits in Sweden before his election as King of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. During his reign, he selected Catholics for the highest offices in the country.
This created resentment amongst the Protestant nobility; however, the country did not experience a religiously motivated civil war. Despite concerted efforts, the nobility rejected efforts to revise or rescind the Confederation of Warsaw and protected this agreement.
The Deluge, a 20-year period of almost continual warfare, marked the turning point in attitudes. During the war with Sweden, when King John Casimir(Jan Kazimierz) fled to Silesia, the Icon of Mary of Czestochowabecame the rallying point for military opposition to the Swedish forces.
Upon his return to the country, Kihn John Casimir crowned Mary a Queen of Poland. Despite these wars against Protestant, Orthodox, and Muslim neighbors, the Confederation of Warsaw held with one notable exception. In the aftermath of the Swedish withdrawal and truce, attitudes throughout the nobility (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) turned against the Polish Brethren. In 1658 the Polish Brethren were forced to leave the country.
They were permitted to sell their immovable property and take their movable property; however, it is still unknown whether they received fair-market value for their lands. In 1666, the Sejmbanned apostasy from Catholicism to any other religion, under penalty of death.
Finally, in 1717, the Silent Sejmbanned non-Catholics from becoming deputies of the Parliament. The strategy the Catholic Church took towards reconverting the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth differed from its strategy elsewhere.
The unique government (Poland was a republic where the citizen nobility owned the state) meant the king could not enforce a religious settlement even if he so desired. Instead, the Catholic Church undertook a long and steady campaign of persuasion. In the Ruthenianlands (predominately modern-day Belarus& Ukraine) the Orthodox Church also undertook a similar strategy.
Additionally, the Orthodox also sought to join the Catholic Church (accomplished in the Union of Brzesc[Brest]); however, this union failed to achieve a lasting, permanent, and complete union of the Catholics and Orthodox in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth.
An important component of the Catholic Reformation in Poland was education. Numerous colleges and universities were set up throughout the country: the Jesuits and Piaristswere important in this regard, but there were contributions of other religious orders such as the Dominicans.
While in the middle of the 16th century, the nobility mostly sent their sons abroad for education (the new German Protestant universities were important in this regard), by the mid-1600s, the nobility mostly stayed home for education. The quality of the new Catholic schools was so great that Protestants willingly sent their children to these schools.
Through their education, many nobles became appreciative of Catholicism or outright converted. Even though the majority of the nobility were Catholic circa 1700, Protestants remained in these lands, and pockets of Protestantism could be found outside the German-speaking lands of the former Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth into the 20th century.
Among the most important Protestants of the Commonwealth were Mikolaj Rej, Marcin Czechowic, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski and Symon Budny.