Many believe the heliocentric theory was immediately rejected by the Catholic Church. However, the relationship between the Church and Copernicus is much more complex than popular historical narratives suggest.
Legend has it that Nicolaus Copernicus and the church were at odds over his development of the heliocentric theory, a principle that disputed the widely held belief that Earth was the center of the universe.
Unlike Galileo and other controversial astronomers, however, Copernicus had a good relationship with the Catholic Church. It may come as a surprise, considering the Church banned Copernicus' "Des revolutionibus" for more than 200 years. Copernicus was actually respected as a canon and regarded as a renowned astronomer. Contrary to popular belief, the Church accepted Copernicus' heliocentric theory before a wave of Protestant opposition led the Church to ban Copernican views in the 17th century.
Throughout his lifetime, Copernicus was active in the religious community. Copernicus was born in 1473 in Torun, Poland, the youngest of four children. At age 10, his father died and he were sent to live with his uncle Lucas Watzenrode, who would later become the bishop of Warmia (Ermland).
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