What are some unresolved events in history

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Vera Isaiasz
The 16th and 17th centuries in Germany were marked by religious and denominational conflicts. The church division brought about by the Reformation led to the creation of three large, independently organized denominational churches, which were distinguishable in terms of creed and dogma, organization and religious lifestyle: the Catholic, Lutheran and Calvinist or Reformed churches. The religious division shaped the political, social and cultural conditions in Germany and Westphalia well into the 19th and 20th centuries: In 1858, over 90% Catholics lived in the cities of Paderborn and Münster, while the population was in the districts of Bielefeld or Herford was over 98% Protestant in the same year. The decision about the denominational character of a region was made in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries. The confessional age in Westphalia is characterized by very different events and sometimes opposing processes, while the political and religious struggles and events of this time can hardly be separated from one another.

In Westphalia, the first Reformation movements arose between 1520 and 1530 in the larger cities such as Soest, Lippstadt, Münster, Paderborn, Osnabrück and Lemgo. In Münster, the influence of a radical sect was to lead to the catastrophe of the Anabaptist Empire. As the first sovereign, Count Konrad zu Tecklenburg joined the teachings of Martin Luther around 1527. Most of the rulers of the smaller counties followed him, where the establishment of Lutheran regional churches began.

The denominational situation in Westphalia had not yet been decided in the second half of the 16th century: The dukes of Jülich-Kleve-Berg, who were also rulers of the Westphalian counties of Mark and Ravensberg, tried to find a third way to mediate between Lutheranism and Catholicism. Even in the officially Catholic princes of Paderborn, Münster and Minden, which together made up 2/3 of the total area of ​​Westphalia, the Reformation had numerous supporters in the nobility and the bourgeoisie. It was not until the reign of the Wittelsbacher Ernst von Bayern and his successor Ferdinand von Bayern that reforms of the Catholic church system began in the diocese of Münster from 1585, but these did not take effect until the 17th century. At the end of the 16th century, Calvinism also found widespread use in Westphalia: In 1605, Graf zur Lippe changed the confession from Lutheranism to Calvinism and, against internal resistance, had the Reformed confession introduced in his country.

The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), which broke out not least because of the unresolved religious question in the empire, particularly affected Westphalia in 1622/1623 and after 1631, when Hessian troops occupied some places. With the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, negotiated in Münster and Osnabrück, the religious question was resolved and made manageable. With the peace treaty, Westphalia experienced its territorial and denominational structure as it was to last until the end of the Holy Roman Empire (1803/1806).

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The following eight chapters deal with the relationship between religion and society, between church and state, from the Reformation to the end of the 17th century, with a brief look back at the late Middle Ages. Above all, the religious-political conflicts between sovereigns and the population are to be dealt with. The main focus should be on those territories that form today's Westphalia-Lippe. The development in the Diocese of Osnabrück, for example, is only touched upon.

Since the Westphalia region was divided into different territories with their own sovereigns, which cannot be dealt with in detail, typical regional developments will be followed and exemplified in the following. The largest area comprised the Catholic princedoms of Münster, Paderborn and Minden, followed by the county of Lippe and the counties of Mark and Ravensberg as well as the smaller dominions of Anholt and Gemen, the county of Steinfurt and finally the imperial city of Dortmund. The spatial structure was also of considerable importance for the course of the Reformation and the Catholic reform in Westphalia: Surrounded by the Calvinist Netherlands in the west, the Lutheran - since 1602 Reformed - Hesse in the east and the Catholic Kurköln in the south, Westphalia became the scene, sometimes also to the hinterland of the denominational wars of his neighbors. During the 80 years of the Dutch War of Freedom, the neighboring Westphalian areas were often attacked and plundered by Dutch and Spanish troops. Protestant religious refugees from the Netherlands also settled in Westphalia.

The basis of the theological and doctrinal delimitation of the three great churches - Catholicism, Lutheranism and Calvinism - were the respective confessional writings in the 16th century. The differences were most evident in the celebration of the divine service, in the different interpretations of the celebration of the Lord's Supper. The number of sacraments in Lutheranism was limited to two (baptism and the Lord's Supper), while the Catholic Church maintained the seven number of sacraments. Denomination-specific religious practices became a sign of demarcation. The main means of educating the faithful in all denominations were sermons, but also catechism lessons and a denominational school system.

Private testimonies of faith from the 16th and 17th centuries have hardly survived, so that it is extremely rare to get an insight into the private beliefs of contemporaries. Therefore, above all external events as well as official laws, church and school regulations are documented. The following texts are intended to serve as an explanatory introduction to the specified source texts and materials, the language of which is not always easy to understand. For the most part, no Latin sources were included. With one exception, there are no excerpts from the so-called visitation protocols that give an insight into the church life of individual parishes in the 16th and 17th centuries.



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