Protestantism, form of Christian faith and practice that originated with the principles of the Reformation. The term is derived from the Protestatio delivered by a minority of delegates against the (1529) Diet of Speyer, which passed legislation against the Lutherans. Since that time the term has been used in many different senses, but not as the official title of any church until it was assumed (1783) by the Protestant Episcopal Church (since 1967 simply the Episcopal Church) in the United States, the American branch of the Anglican Communion. Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the other major Christian faiths, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.
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