The Colloquy of Marlburg took place in October, 1529 and was an attempt to unite the Protestant movement. This was stimulated both by the Diet of Speyer, 1529 and the end of the Italian wars which both meant that a crackdown on Protestants was looking increasingly likely.

The leaders of the movements themselves (Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli) were not very in favour of such attempts. However Philip of Hesse, Elector of Saxony and a key figure in the politics of Protestantism, felt that it would be necessary to unite the Protestant movement to give it greater strength against a possible attack from Charles V and the Papacy.

Luther and Zwingli were able agree on most matters but controversy over the Eucharist remained the stumbling point. Luther continued to insist upon the physical presence and his theory of consubstantiation while Zwingli claimed that the sacrament merely represented the body and blood of Christ. This is shown by the fact that Luther reputedly chalked ‘hoc est corpus meum’ upon the table. Zwingli cited a little used translation of ‘est’ meaning ‘signifies’ as his justification behind his theory.

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