Glossary

Terms beginning with R

Reformation

1)     The Reformation occurred in the sixteenth century as a protest against the late medieval church. There is a history of protest from various groups (Lollards in East Anglia and Hussites in Bohemia) all of them calling into question Papal authority and what exactly happens when the bread and wine are blessed at the Eucharist. The break with Rome first came with Martin Luther’s protest over papal excesses. He focused on the idea that we were not ‘justified by works but by Grace’. Simplifications in worship and faith practices followed and many ornamentation and works of art were destroyed as idolatry. The Bible was translated into the language of the people and made more generally available. Many northern European states, including this country, severed their connection with Rome and developed their own national churches.

Relics

1)     These sacred objects were popular in the Middle Ages as they were thought to contain something of the sanctity of the saint or holy person associated with them. They could be the bones of a saint or a piece of the Cross or some other object familiar from the Bible or the lives of the saints. The greater the fame of the relic the more pilgrims it would attract to the shrine in which it was housed. Most relics were destroyed at the Reformation when they became regarded as superstitious.

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Amendments

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Credits

The original core of this glossary was commissioned from Canon Phillip McFadyen of St George's Colegate, in Norwich.