Bible Christians who have some interest in church history have heard of the Catholic church’s infamous Council of Trent (1545-63). The Protestant Reformation began in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Saxony and the recovered Gospel of grace quickly spread throughout Europe. In an effort to counteract the advance and influence of the Reformation, pope Paul III convoked the Council of Trent in 1545. The twenty-five council sessions took place over eighteen years, overlapping into the tenures of two other popes, Julius III and Pius IV. The main “accomplishments” of the council were clarification of Roman Catholic teaching and condemnation of the Protestant “heresies.” The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone that was recovered by the Reformers and all those who believed in it were repeatedly anathematized (condemned) by the council’s declarations. Trent was the beginning of the Catholic “Counter-Reformation.”
I’ve often referred to the Council of Trent, but I honestly didn’t even know where Trent was. That’s embarrassing for an amateur history buff to admit. So I did a little googling and dug up a few facts that others may find interesting also.
Trent is actually Trento in Northern Italy (see above map) and is situated near the Italian Alps. It was inhabited by Celts and named after the Celtic god of the waters because of the nearby Adije river. The Romans conquered the city in the late-1st-century BC and renamed it Tridentum in tribute to the trident of the Romans’ mythical god, Neptune. Doctrines and practices promulgated by the council were afterward labeled as “Tridentine” in deference to the Roman name of the city.
Below are photos of the two churches in Trento where the council sessions were held. Three of the council sessions took place in the city of Bologna, but the other twenty-two sessions were held in Trento at these two churches.
In the future, when I refer to the Council of Trent, I’ll now know where the dastardly council took place. Despite its tremendous temporal power, the Roman Catholic church could not stop the Holy Spirit and the spread of the Gospel of grace. It’s quite interesting to note that, the current ecumenical climate notwithstanding, the Council of Trent’s anathemas against the Gospel of grace and believers have never been rescinded.
See here for interior photos of the two Trento churches, above, that hosted the Council of Trent.
For more information on how Catholicism condemned the Gospel of grace at the Council of Trent, see the article below:
Council of Trent: Canons on Justification