Martin Luther, Henry VIII.


In understanding the martyrdom of Saint John Ogilvie, it is important to have a closer look at what had happened further afield in the century before his death and, in particular, perhaps strangely, in England.


In 1517, Martin Luther famously pinned his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, which is regarded as the event marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. In 1521, Henry VIII, King of England, opposing Luther, wrote his “Assertio Septem Sacramentorum” (Defence of the Seven Sacraments). As observed earlier, monarchs were deeply involved in Church affairs and it was not entirely remarkable that a king in those times should have taken this step of writing on theological matters. Henry was a learned and religious man. Pope Leo X conferred on him the title “Fidei Defensor” (Defender of the Faith). Luther was excommunicated the same year.

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