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Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and John Calvin (1509-1564)

Ulrich Zwingli paved the way for the Reformation in Switzerland. He was contemporary of Martin Luther. Born in a rich family in Switzerland, he became a priest in the Zurich Canton in 1502.

Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)

 

Ulrich Zwingli paved the way for the Reformation in Switzerland. He was contemporary of Martin Luther. Born in a rich family in Switzerland, he became a priest in the Zurich Canton in 1502. He attacked abuses of the Church such as the sale of indulgences. He spoke openly that the clergy should strictly follow the principles of the Bible. Samson was sent to Zurich by the Pope to sell the indulgences. It was opposed by Zwingli.

 

Thereafter, his preaching was directed against the leadership of the Pope, the excessive veneration of saints, the celibacy of the priesthood, and fasting. His stand against the celibacy was opposed by the bishop of Constance. The city council voted in favour of Zwingli and against the bishop. Thus Zurich adopted the Reformation. In 1523, Pope sent an order excommunicating Zwingli but, the Zurich Canton announced its separation from the Church. Five other Cantons declared a war against Zurich in which Zwingli was killed in 1531. Finally an agreement was reached between the Cantons by which each Canton was given freedom to choose their religious sect.


John Calvin (1509-1564)

 

The French protest reformer John Calvin was born in France. He studied humanities and Law at the University of Paris. He obtained in 1532, Doctor of Law. His first published work was a commentary on Roman philosopher Seneca's De Clementia. In 1536, he settled in Geneva. His main teachings are that the Bible alone is the final authority for matters of faith and that salvation is attained purely through grace. He subscribed to the doctrine of the absolute fore-knowledge and the determining power of God. Calvin published his religious doctrines as a book called The Institutes of Christian Religion. His religious sect was own as Calvinism. He became the head of the church in Geneva. He established several schools for the spread of education. He was also the founder of the University of Geneva. Calvinism had spread to many parts of Europe.

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