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John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe, (c. 1329-84). English religious reformer. He studied at Oxford and was briefly master of Balliol College. A forerunner of the Reformation and Protestantism in England, Wycliffe made many attacks on the Church, condemning the doctrine of transubstantiation (the belief that the bread and wine of the Eucharist changes into the body and blood of Christ on consecration), the payment of papal taxes, and the sale of indulgences. This led to his enforced retirement from Oxford and his condemnation as a heretic. His followers, known as Lollards, travelled the country to preach his doctrines. Wycliffe was denounced by the pope and eventually had his works banned by the Church. His greatest achievement was the first complete translation of the Bible into English.

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