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Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549)
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The Zells were leading figures in the civic and church life of Strasbourg. Her pen remained active as well. An irenic spirit who worked for unity within the church, she has come to be known as a mother of the Reformation, with good reason. She was also a gifted writer, like several others on this list. She corresponded with Marguerite de Navarre, produced a French grammar book, and wrote a history of the Reformation in Geneva.

She also spoke publicly in taverns and on street corners, promoting Reformation ideas.

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She and Calvin had some fairly critical things to say about each other, but nevertheless, they shared a mutual respect and devotion to spreading the Gospel. In fact Calvin asked her, later in life, to write the preface to one of his books. Her spunky personality testifies to the wonderful diversity in the Body of Christ, then as now.

She knew Latin, Greek and Hebrew, read the New Testament in the original Greek, and wrote letters to the continental reformers, Heinrich Bullinger and Martin Bucer, when she was 14 years old.

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Yet her witness, her light, is incandescent. Daughter of an Italian classical scholar who embraced the teachings of Luther and Calvin, Olympia Morata was a prodigiously gifted scholar in her own right. By the age of 12, she was engaged as a tutor in the ducal court of Ferrara, and during her time there, she was invited to lecture in Greek and Latin. After falling from favour at court, she was forced to flee for her life, and the experience transformed her faith from mere philosophical assent to a true and living trust in Christ. During this time, she fell in love with a Reformed German doctor who was also classically educated and a kindred spirit.

The two married and moved to Germany, from where she continued her scholarly pursuits. Among other things, she wrote dialogues, Greek poems, letters to scholars in Latin and to less educated women in Italian, and a Greek psalter that her husband set to music. No odour of sinners can be so foul that its force cannot be broken and weakened by the sweetest odour that flows from the death of Christ, which alone God can perfume. Therefore seek Christ. These seven names are but a small sample of the influential women who stepped up, alongside the men, to champion scriptural truth during the Protestant Reformation.

Queens and scholars, poets and diplomats, they wrote and fought for reform within the church and culture of their day. They held forth Christ and his Gospel, each in her own way, and thereby changed their world — and ours — much for the better.

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Roland H. Stephen J. If you liked this article and would like to go deeper, we have some helpful resources below. Free advice on marriage, parenting and Christian living delivered straight to your inbox. Get Involved Pray for us Share your story Make a donation. Support Focus Help us reach families across Canada Reasons to give. We recommend. More from Focus. Marguerite de Navarre Poet, playwright, diplomat, cultural leader, royal adviser, patroness of the arts and theology, Marguerite de Navarre was a true renaissance woman in both the literal and figurative sense.

Argula von Grumbach c. When the possessions of the Church more than 20 per cent of the wealth of the country were confiscated, Gustave Vasa was able to consolidate his financial position.

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Indeed, the more radical tendency of the evangelical movement in Germany was not at all reassuring for the king — so much so that he dismissed the reformed members of his council. For this reason, the king felt justified in breaking off relations with the Catholic Church in The Swedish national Church was officially Lutheran and governed according to a system of synods and consistories, but it still retained many Roman Catholic traditions.

In , his brother duke Charles later proclaimed king in , called a synod in Uppsala where the decision was made to definitively adhere to the Confession of Augsburg.

In addition, he went on to conquer many territories in Russia, Denmark and Poland, thus becoming the absolute master of the Baltic regions. His daughter queen Christina, who succeeded him, followed all the latest developments in learning at that time and even called Descartes to come and visit the Swedish court. The queen was also interested in theology and abdicated from the crown because she wished to convert to Catholicism.

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In spite of the military brilliance of Charles II , his kingdom was defeated by Peter the Great and all the former territories were lost. The king had to hand over power to Parliament. These tendencies were strongly repressed by the authorities who banned any private religious meeting. The Constitution of proclaimed that the king and members of the government had to belong to the Church of Sweden.

He was crowned in , as Charles XIV, had to accept all the demands of his new country and abjure Catholicism. At the beginning of the XXth century, Sweden became a leading member of the new ecumenical movement. At present, the Church of Sweden has 7.

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However, there is a great decline in faith and only 2 per cent are considered to be actually practicing Christians. Surprisingly, 90 per cent of its members have a Church burial. The Church of Sweden has many diaconal and missionary activities throughout the world. Website of the Swedish Church Svenska kyrkan. Lutheranism took hold in Finland, a possession of the Swedish crown, without any particular opposition, in the middle of the XVI th century. The bishop Michel Agricola translated the Bible into Finnish, thus laying down the basis of the language. When Finland was annexed by Russia in , certain popular religious movements displayed a tendency to emotional extremism, which almost led the traditional Church to exclude them from its ranks.

From onwards, the evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland was no longer considered to be a State Church, but rather simply an established Church. This agreement announced full communion between Lutheran, reformed and united Churches. In , when the Teutonic order ceased to be in control of Livonia, Lutheranism became the official religion in Estonia , which had been annexed by Sweden, as well as the independent duchy of Courlande.

Pietism and the Moravian brothers were very influential in the XIX th century. Estonia as well as the other two Baltic States became independent in , after having suffered from the domination of Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Russia for centuries. In Lithuania , which had strong links with Poland, Lutheran parishes mostly came into being through the influence of Prussia. However, due to the Counter Reform movement, the country returned to Catholicism.