This Week in Christian History: Elizabeth I Crowned, Pope Returns to Rome, Catechism Published

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(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)Queen Elizabeth I, (1533-1603).

Christianity is a faith with a long and detailed history, with numerous events of lasting significance occurring throughout the ages.

Each week brings the anniversaries of great milestones, horrid tragedies, amazing triumphs, telling tribulations, inspirational progress, and everything in between.

Here are just a few things that happened this week, Jan. 14-20, in church history. They include the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I, the return of the papacy to Rome, and the publication of an influential catechism.

Elizabeth I Crowned Queen of England - January 15, 1559

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(Photo: Universal Pictures / Pool)In this image released by Universal Pictures, Cate Blanchett, right, and Geoffrey Rush appear in a scene from the film 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age.'

This week marks the anniversary of when Elizabeth I was officially crowned Queen of England at age 25, succeeding her infamous half-sister Mary I, known as "Bloody Mary" for her persecution of Protestants.

Soon after taking power, Queen Elizabeth I helped to establish the Church of England with the hopes of ending years of religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants within the nation.

"Elizabeth's religious views were remarkably tolerant for the age in which she lived. While she had her own beliefs and convictions, she also believed in tolerating the views of others, and sincerely believed that Catholics and Protestants were basically of the same faith," noted

"'There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith' she exclaimed later in her reign, 'all else is a dispute over trifles.' She also declared that she had 'no desire to make windows into men's souls.'"

Pope Gregory XI Returns Papal See Back to Rome - January 17, 1377

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(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)A nineteenth century portrait of Pope Gregory XI (1329-1378), who moved the papacy back to Rome, Italy from Avignon, France in 1377.

This week marks the anniversary of when Pope Gregory XI moved the Papal See back to Rome, after nearly 70 years of the popes being based in Avignon, France.

Elected pope in 1370, Gregory XI moved the papacy back to its current location in part to influence church policies both in Italy and more broadly relations with Eastern churches.

The move was met with much opposition from many cardinals as well as the Kingdom of France, and led to a good deal of strife in the short run for the Church.

"After Gregory XI reestablished the papal capital in Rome, cardinals of the Sacred College selected a second pope, who assumed the vacant Avignon seat. This marked the onset of the Great Schism," explained "A succession of such 'antipopes' were selected, and the Great Schism was not healed until 1417."

Heidelberg Catechism Published - January 19, 1563

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(Photo: Public Domain)The Heidelberg Catechism, an influential Protestant confessional document from 1563.

This week marks the anniversary of when the Heidelberg Catechism was published, thus giving German Protestants a major Christian educational resource.

Created at the request of German Elector Frederick III of the Palatinate, the Heidelberg Catechism has remained popular among many Protestant churches.

"A second and third German edition, each with some small additions, as well as a Latin translation were published in Heidelberg in the same year [1563]," explained the United Reformed Churches in North America.

"The Catechism has been translated into all the European and many Asiatic and African languages and is the most widely used and most warmly praised catechism of the Reformation period."

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