Protection was provided by Friedrich III, Elector of Saxony and so began the organisation of a new church. The key ideas of the Reformation, central to which was the belief that the Bible, not tradition, offered the sole source of spiritual authority, were not themselves new or novel. However, Luther and the other reformers, including John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, were able to skillfully use the power of the printing press to give their ideas a wider audience.
The Catholic Church responded with a Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent. However by 1545, when the Council was first convened, the Reformation's ideas had gained wide support. In general, Northern Europe came under the influence of Protestantism, with Henry VIII's establishment of the nascent Church of England being a notable event. Southern Europe remained Catholic, while Central Europe would be the theater for fierce conflict, culminating in the devastating Thirty Years' War, which saw the major powers clash in what has been argued to be Europe's last religious war.
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