Church History:  The 1400s


What happened in this century?

  • 2 then 3 then 1 popes

  • John Huss executed & John Wycliffe's body dug up and burned on orders of the Council of Constance (which reduced the number of popes from 3 to 1).

  • The Printing Press (moveable type printing) was created by John Gutenberg. 

Contact Mark Nickens, Ph.D. in Church History, at  Questions, comments, and observations are welcome!


2011 Mark Nickens


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1400        Around this time, John Huss became aware of John Wycliffe's writings.  This occurred because the marriage of Anne, sister of King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia, to Richard II of England (in 1382) caused much exchange of culture and writings between Bohemia and England.  

1404        Pope Boniface IX died (who lived in Rome).  Pope Innocent VII was elected (and lived in Rome).

1406        Pope Innocent VII died (who lived in Rome).  Pope Gregory XII was elected (and lived in Rome). 

1409        The Council of Pisa met.  Its purpose was to provide a platform for the two popes (or one pope and one antipope, which is what the pope in Avignon was considered) to resign with dignity and to elect a new popeA new pope was elected, Alexander V.  But neither of the two other popes agreed to step down.  Now the Catholic Church had three popes      

1410        Pope Alexander V died.  He is regarded as an antipope.  Pope John XXIII was elected to take his place. 

1414-8        The Council of Constance (in Germany) met.  Gregory XII (who lived in Rome) and John XXIII agreed to step down.  Benedict XIII (in Avignon) did not step downBenedict fled to his homeland of Aragon, where he was recognized as pope.  The Council elected Martin V as pope.  The Catholic Church was back to one pope (except for Aragon who looked to Benedict XIII as pope; once he died another pope was not elected in Aragon).  The Council also condemned over 200 of John Wycliffe's propositions and had his body dug up, and burned.  The Council also condemned and executed John Huss by burning him at the stake.  He was a church leader and held many of Wycliffe's ideas but on the other side of Europe in Bohemia (current day Czech Republic).   He told them he was willing to recant if they could prove that he was wrong by Scripture [author's note:  This is reminiscent of Luther's stand at the Diet of Worms.]

1423        Benedict XIII died (in Aragon).

1450        Gutenberg's printing press was completed by this year.

1452        Leonadi da Vinci born.

1453        Constantinople was defeated by a Muslim army. 

1455        Gutenberg printed 180 copies of a Bible, named the Gutenberg Bible.  [author's note:  The Bibles do not have page numbers.]

1463        Frederick III (the Wise) born.  He became Luther's protector.

1466        Erasmus born.  (or in 1469)

1468        Gutenberg died.

1473        Copernicus born.  He formulated a theory that the sun was the center of the solar system, not earth.

1475        Michelangelo born.

1483        Martin Luther born.

1484        Ulrich Zwingli born.

also        Catherine of Aragon, future first wife of Henry VIII, born.

1489        Catherine of Aragon was promised, via a treaty between England and Spain, to Arthur, Henry VIII's older brother.

1491        George Blaurock born.  He was an early Anabaptist leader.

also        Ignatius Loyola born.  (or in 1495)

also        Henry VIII born.

1492        Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic.  Read more about him and his Christian mission here.

1495        Leonardo da Vinci began painting "The Last Supper."  He finished in 1498.

1496        Michelanglo began sculpting the "Pieta."  He finished in 1501.

also        Menno Simons born.  He was an early Anabaptist leader.

1497        Arthur and Catherine of Aragon betrothed.

1498        Feliz Manz born.  He was an early Anabaptist leader

(also        Vasco da Gama reached India by sailing around Africa.)

1499        Katharina von Bora born.  She became Martin Luther's wife.


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