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A religious movement known as the Reformation swept through Europe in the 1500s. Its leaders disagreed with the Roman Catholic Church on certain religious issues and criticized the church’s great power and wealth. They broke away from the Catholic church and founded various Protestant churches. Today Protestantism is one of the three major branches of Christianity. As the Reformation spread across Europe, it also inspired movements for political and social change. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
The era of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation in Europe spawned a number of radical reform groups, among them the Anabaptists. These Christians regarded the Bible as their only rule for faith and life. They denied the merit of infant baptism, however. Some Anabaptists were revolutionaries. Others, like Menno Simons (1496–1561), were more moderate. Because of their radical beliefs, the Anabaptists were persecuted by other Protestants as well as by Roman Catholics.
Simons, a Dutch priest, gathered the scattered Anabaptists of Northern Europe into congregations in 1536. These groups soon came to be called by his name. By the late 16th century the Mennonites had found political toleration in the Netherlands. (Encyclopedia Britannica)