On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95-Theses to the door of a Wittenberg church. It was a strong condemnation of the catholic church and its utter corruption. Most notably, Luther railed against the granting of indulgences. These were bought grants which remitted sin and reduced the time spent in purgatory. The more one paid, the more time and sin was removed.
It was Luther's actions which sparked the growing religious powder keg, incinerating all of Europe in the heat and furor of religious discord. Some nations resisted stronger than others. Spain, France and Italy all remained catholic strongholds while many German states and eventually England, fell under protestantism.
In England, it was Henry VIII who broke with Rome and established the Church of England. He remained, however, a catholic. It wasn't until his son Edward VI that protestant teachings became commonplace. Upon hearing of Luther's attack on the church, Henry actually penned a book in the Pope's defense known to us as the "Assertio Septum Sacrementorum". For his efforts, the Pope granted Henry the title of "Fideli Defensor" - Defender of the Faith. This title remains tied to the monarchy to this day and can be found on some official documents, arms and coins.