The Confessio Tetrapolitana, same as the Confessio Augustana, was created in the context of the Augsburg Diet of 1530 during which the unity of the church was to be restored. In order to achieve this goal, the positions of the “old faith” and of the diverse Protestant factions ought to be compared and discussed.
The initiative for the Confessio Tetrapolitana came from the imperial city of Strasbourg. The representatives did not share the view of the Lord’s Supper laid down in the Confessio Augustana, according to which bread and wine are indeed transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. However, they also rejected the Zwinglian perspective of the Lord’s Supper as a purely symbolical memorial service. Even though they did not see Christ as physically present during the Eucharist, they still regarded him as spiritually attendant.
Therefore, the theologians Martin Bucer (1491–1551) and Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541) wrote their own declaration with the Confessio Tetrapolitana which was followed by Strasbourg and also by the Upper German imperial cities of Constance, Lindau and Memmingen. The signatories presented it to the diet on 9 July 1530.
However, the importance of the alternative confession which also differs from the Confessio Augustana in a number of other respects remained limited. While the Confessio Augustana is to this day one of the central confessions of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the Tetrapolitana remained relevant only for a short period in the sixteenth century. For the history of Reformation, the middling position on the issue of the Lord’s Supper is of particular importance.