October 31 is Reformation Day, and October 25 is Reformation Sunday. Reformation Day is one of the so-called “Lesser Festivals” of the Christian Year, and commemorates a significant period in the history of the Christian church. The Reformation (1517-1648) was a time in which people sought to bring about reform in the church, but rather succeeded mainly in creating new “branches” of the church, breaking away from the established Roman Catholic Church. One of those branches is the Reformed tradition, of which the Presbyterian Church is a part. The other major branches created during the Reformation are the Anglican tradition, the Lutheran tradition, and the Anabaptist tradition.
From our perspective as Presbyterians in Canada, the most significant leaders of the Reformation were Martin Luther (who in effect started the Reformation), John Calvin (the founder of the Reformed tradition), and John Knox (who followed John Calvin’s teachings in leading the reform movement in Scotland).