*** DEBUG END ***

Archbishops repent over Reformation’s 'lasting damage'

20 January 2017


Caped visitor: the Reformer Martin Luther is por­trayed as a flying super­hero on a newly issued coin, in the Coin Museum, Stolberg, Saxony-Anhalt, in Germany. The silver coin recalls his stay in the town on 21 April 1525

Caped visitor: the Reformer Martin Luther is por­trayed as a flying super­hero on a newly issued coin, in the Coin Museum, Stolberg, Saxony-Anhalt, in...

THE Reformation brought “great blessings”, but also did “lasting damage . . . to the unity of the Church”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said in a statement on Tuesday, issued the day before the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

“The Reformation was a process of both renewal and division amongst Christians in Europe,” the Archbishops said. “In this Reformation anniversary year, many Christians will want to give thanks for the great blessings they have received to which the Reformation directly contributed.

“Amongst much else, these would include clear proclamation of the gospel of grace, the availability of the Bible to all in their own language, and the recognition of the calling of lay people to serve God in the world and in the Church”.

But the Archbishops also recalled “the lasting damage done five centuries ago to the unity of the Church, in defiance of the clear command of Jesus Christ to unity in love. Those turbulent years saw Christian people pitted against each other, such that many suffered persecution, and even death, at the hands of others claiming to know the same Lord.

“A legacy of mistrust and competition would then accompany the astonishing global spread of Christianity in the centuries that followed.”

Remembering the Reformation should “bring us back to what the Reformers wanted to put at the centre of every person’s life, which is simple trust in Jesus Christ”, the Archbishops said. It should also “lead us to repent of our part in perpetuating divisions”, and strengthen relationships with other churches.

For the past three years, members of the international ecumenical community Chemin Neuf, including several Roman Catholics, have lived at Lambeth Palace (News, 22 November 2013). Prayers are said in the chapel each day for Christian unity.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity runs from 18 to 25 January. The Council for Christian Unity has a web page dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on the Church of England website.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)