Vol.8, Chapter IV (cont’d) – The Grisons (Graubünden)


Colonel Landammann Theofil Sprecher a Bernegg at Maienfeld, Graubünden, has a complete library of the history of the Grisons, including some of the manuscripts of Campell and De Porta. I was permitted to use it for this and the following two sections under his hospitable roof in June, 1890. I have also examined the Kantons-Bibliothek of Graubünden in the “Raetische Museum” at Coire, which is rich in the (Romanic) literature of the Grisons.

I. Ulrici Campelli Raetiae Alpestris Topographica Descriptio, edited by Chr. J. Kind, Basel (Schneider), 1884, pp. 448, and Historia Raetica, edited by Plac. Plattner, Basel, tom. I., 1877, pp. 724, and tom. II., 1890, pp. 781. These two works form vols. VII., VIII., and IX. of Quellen zur Schweizer-Geschichte, published by the General Historical Society of Switzerland. They are the foundation for the topography and history of the Grisons in the sixteenth century. Campell was Reformed pastor at Sues in the Lower Engadin, and is called “the father of the historians of Raetia.” De Porta says that all historians of Raetia have ploughed with his team. An abridged German translation from the Latin manuscripts was published by Conradin von Mohr: Ulr. Campell’s Zwei Buecher raetischer Geschichte, Chur (Hitz), 1849 and 1851, 2 vols., pp. 236 and 566.

R. Ambrosius Eichhorn (Presbyter Congregationis S. Blasii, in the Black Forest): Episcopatus Curiensis in Rhaetia sub metropoli Moguntina chronologice et diplomatice illustratus. Typis San-Blasianis, 1797 (pp. 368, 40). To which is added Codex Probationum ad Episcopatum Curiensem ex proecipuis documentis omnibus ferme ineditis collectus, 204 pp. The Reformation period is described pp. 139 sqq. Eichhorn was a Roman Catholic priest, and gives the documents relating to the episcopal see of Coire from a.d. 766-1787. On “Zwinglianisms in Raetia,” see pp. 142, 146, 248. (I examined a copy in the Episcopal Library at Coire.)

II General works on the history of the Grisons by Joh. Guler (d. 1637), Fortunatus Sprecher a Bernegg (d. 1647), Fortunatus Juvalta (d. 1654). Th. Von Mohr and Conradin Von Mohr (or Moor): Archiv für die Geschichte der Republik Graubünden. Chur, 1848-’86. 9 vols. A collection of historical works on Graubünden, including the Codex diplomaticus, Sammlung der Urkunden zur Geschichte Chur-Rhaetiens und der Republik Grauebunden. The Codex was continued by Jecklin, 1883-’86. Conradin Von Moor: Buendnerische Geschichtschreiber und Chronisten. Chur, 1862-277. 10 parts. By the same: Geschichte von Curraetien und der Republ. Graubünden. Chur, 1869. — Joh. Andr. von Sprecher: Geschichte der Republik der drei Buende im 18ten Jahrh. Chur, 1873-’75.2 vols. — A good popular summary: Graubündnerische Geschichten erzaehlt für die reformirten Volksschulen (by P. Kaiser). Chur, 1852 (pp. 281). Also J. K. von Tscharner: Der Kanton Graubünden, historisch, statistisch, geographisch dargestellt. Chur, 1842.

The Reformation literature see in § 37.

III. On the history of Valtellina, Chiavenna, and Bormio, which until 1797 were under the jurisdiction of the Grisons, the chief writers are: — 

Fr. Sav. Quadrio: Dissertazioni critico-storiche intorno alla Rezia di qua dalle Alpi, oggi detta Valtellina. Milano, 1755. 2 vols., especially the second vol., which treats la storia ecclesiastica. — Ulysses Von Salis: StaatsGesch. des Thals Veltlin und der Graftschaften Clefen und Worms. 1792. 4 vols. — Lavizari: Storia della Valtellina. Capolago, 1838. 2 vols. Romegialli: Storia della Valtellina e delle già contee di Bormio e Chiavenna. Sondrio, 1834-’39. 4 vols. — Wiezel: Veltliner Krieg, edited by Hartmann. Strassburg, 1887.

The canton of the Grisons or Graubünden was at the time of the Reformation an independent democratic republic in friendly alliance with the Swiss Confederacy, and continued independent till 1803, when it was incorporated as a canton. Its history had little influence upon other countries, but reflects the larger conflicts of Switzerland with some original features. Among these are the Romanic and Italian conquests of Protestantism, and the early recognition of the principle of religious liberty. Each congregation was allowed to choose between the two contending churches according to the will of the majority, and thus civil and religious war was prevented, at least during the sixteenth century.

Graubünden is, in nature as well as in history, a Switzerland in miniature. It is situated in the extreme south-east of the republic, between Austria and Italy, and covers the principal part of the old Roman province of Raetia. It forms a wall between the north and the south, and yet combines both with a network of mountains and valleys from the regions of the eternal snow to the sunny plains of the vine, the fig, and the lemon. In territorial extent it is the largest canton, and equal to any in variety and beauty of scenery and healthy climate. It is the fatherland of the Rhine and the Inn. The Engadin is the highest inhabited valley of Switzerland, and unsurpassed for a combination of attractions for admirers of nature and seekers of health. It boasts of the healthiest climate with nine months of dry, bracing cold and three months of delightfully cool weather.

The inhabitants are descended from three nationalities, speak three languages, — German, Italian, and Romansh (Romanic), — and preserve many peculiarities of earlier ages. The German language prevails in Coire, along the Rhine, and in the Praettigau, and is purer than in the other cantons. The Italian is spoken to the south of the Alps in the valleys of Poschiavo and Bregaglia (as also in the neighboring canton Ticino). The Romansh language is a remarkable relic of prehistoric times, an independent sister of the Italian, and is spoken in the Upper and Lower Engadin, the Münster valley, and the Oberland. It has a considerable literature, mostly religious, which attracts the attention of comparative philologists.

The Grisonians (Graubündtner) are a sober, industrious, and heroic race, and have maintained their independence against the armies of Spain, Austria, and France. They have a natural need and inclination to emigrate to richer countries in pursuit of fortune, and to return again to their mountain homes. They are found in all the capitals of Europe and America as merchants, hotel keepers, confectioners, teachers, and soldiers.

The institutions of the canton are thoroughly democratic and exemplify the good and evil effects of popular sovereignty. “Next to God and the sun,” says an old Engadin proverb, “the poorest inhabitant is the chief magistrate.” There are indeed to this day in the Grisons many noble families, descended in part from mediaeval robber-chiefs and despots whose ruined castles still look down from rocks and cliffs, and in greater part from distinguished officers and diplomatists in foreign service; but they have no more influence than their personal merits and prestige warrant. In official relations and transactions the titles of nobility are forbidden.

Let us briefly survey the secular history before we proceed to the Reformation.

The Grisons were formed of three loosely connected confederacies or leagues, that is, voluntary associations of freemen, who, during the fifteenth century, after the example of their Swiss neighbors, associated for mutual protection and defence against domestic and foreign tyrants. These three leagues united in 1471 at Vatzerol in an eternal covenant, which was renewed in 1524, promising to each other by an oath mutual assistance in peace and war. The three confederacies sent delegates to the Diet which met alternately at Coire, Ilanz, and Davos.

At the close of the fifteenth century two leagues of the Grisons entered into a defensive alliance with the seven old cantons of Switzerland. The third league followed the example.

In the beginning of the sixteenth century the Grisonians acquired by conquest from the duchy of Milan several beautiful and fertile districts south of the Alps adjoining the Milanese and Venetian territories, namely, the Valtellina and the counties of Bormio (Worms) and Chiavenna (Cleven), and annexed them as dependencies ruled by bailiffs. It would have been wiser to have received them as a fourth league with equal rights and privileges. These Italian possessions involved the Grisons in the conflict between Austria and Spain on the one hand, which desired to keep them an open pass, and between France and Venice on the other, which wanted them closed against their political rivals. Hence the Valtellina has been called the Helena of a new Trojan War. Graubünden was invaded during the Thirty Years’ War by Austro-Spanish and French armies. After varied fortunes, the Italian provinces were lost to Graubünden through Napoleon, who, by a stroke of the pen, Oct. 10, 1797, annexed the Valtellina, Bormio, and Chiavenna to the new Cisalpine Republic. The Congress of Vienna transferred them to Austria in 1814, and since 1859 they belong to the united Kingdom of Italy.


37. The Reformation in the Grisons. Comander. Gallicius. Campell

The work of CAMPELL quoted in § 36.

Bartholomaeus Anhorn: Heilige Wiedergeburt der evang. Kirche in den gemeinen drei Buendten der freien hohen Rhaetien, oder Beschreibung ihrer Reformation und Religionsverbesserung, etc. Brugg, 1680 (pp. 246). A new ed. St. Gallen, 1860 (pp. 144, 8°). By the same: Puentner Aufruhr im Jahr 1607, ed. from MSS. by Conradin von Mohr, Chur, 1862; and his Graw-Puentner [Graubündner]-Krieg, 1603-1629, ed. by Conr. von Mohr, Chur, 1873.

*Petrus Dominicus Rosius De Porta (Reformed minister at Scamff, or Scanfs, in the Upper Engadin): Historia Reformationis Ecclesiarum Raeticarum, ex genuinis fontibus et adhuc maximam partem numquam impressis sine partium studio deducta, etc. Curiae Raetorum. Tom. I., 1771 (pp. 658, 4°); Tom. II., 1777 (pp. 668); Tom. III., Como, 1786. Comes down to 1642. Next to Campell, the standard authority and chief source of later works.

Leonhard Truog (Reformed pastor at Thuais): Reformations-Geschichte von Graubünden aus zuverlaessigen Quellen sorgfaeltig geschoepft. Denkmal der dritten Sekular-Jubelfeier der Buendnerischen Reformation. Chur (Otto), 1819 (pp. 132). — Reformationsbuechlein. Ein Denkmal des im Jahr 1819 in der Stadt Chur gefeierten Jubelfestes. Chur (Otto), 1819. (pp. 304).

*Christian Immanuel Kind (Pfarrer und Cancellarius der evang. rhaetischen Synode, afterward Staats-Archivarius of the Grisons, d. May 23, 1884): Die Reformation in den Bisthuemern Chur und Como. Dargestellt nach den besten aelteren und neueren Huelfsmitteln. Chur, 1858 (Grubenmann), pp. 310, 8°. A popular account based on a careful study of the sources. By the same: Die Stadt Chur in ihrer aeltesten Geschichte, Chur, 1859; Philipp Gallicius, 1868; Georg Jenatsch, in “Allg. Deutsche Biogr.,” Bd. XIII. Georg Leonhardi (pastor in Brusio, Poschiavo): Philipp Gallicius, Reformator Graubündens. Bern, 1865 (pp. 103). The same also in Romansch. — H. G. Sulzberger (in Sevelen, St. Gallen, d. 1888): Geschichte der Reformation im Kanton Graubünden. Chur, 1880. pp. 90 (revised by Kind). — Florian Peer: L’église de Rhétie au XVIme XVIIme siècles. Genève, 1888. — Herold: J. Komander, in Meili’s Zeitschrift, Zurich, 1891.

The Christianization of the Grisons is traced back by tradition to St. Lucius, a royal prince of Britain, and Emerita, his sister, in the latter part of the second century. A chapel on the mountain above Coire perpetuates his memory. A bishop of Coire (Asimo) appears first in the year 452, as signing by proxy the creed of Chalcedon. The bishops of Coire acquired great possessions and became temporal princes. The whole country of the Grisons stood under the jurisdiction of the bishops of Coire and Como.

The state of religion and the need of a reformation were the same as in the other cantons of Switzerland. The first impulse to the Reformation came from Zürich with which Coire had close connections. Zwingli sent an address to the “three confederacies in Rhaetia,” expressing a special interest in them as a former subject of the bishop of Coire, exhorting them to reform the Church in alliance with Zürich, and recommending to them his friend Comander (Jan. 16, 1525). Several of his pupils preached in Flaesch, Malans, Maienfeld, Coire, and other places as early as 1524. After his death Bullinger showed the same interest in the Grisons. The Reformation passed through the usual difficulties first with the Church of Rome, then with Anabaptists, Unitarians, and the followers of the mystical Schwenkfeld, all of whom found their way into that remote corner of the world. One of the leading Anabaptists of Zürich, Georg Blaurock, was an ex-monk of Coire, and on account of his eloquence called “the mighty Jörg,” or “the second Paul.” He was expelled from Zürich, and burnt by the Catholics in the Tyrol (1529).

The Reformers abolished the indulgences, the sacrifice of the mass, the worship of images, sacerdotal celibacy and concubinage, and a number of unscriptural and superstitious ceremonies, and introduced instead the Bible and Bible preaching in church and school, the holy communion in both kinds, clerical family life, and a simple evangelical piety, animated by an active faith in Christ as the only Saviour and Mediator. Where that faith is wanting the service in the barren churches is jejune and chilly.

The chief Reformers of the Grisons were Comander, Gallicius, Campell, and Vergerius, and next to them Alexander Salandronius (Salzmann), Blasius, and John Travers. The last was a learned and influential layman of the Engadin. Comander labored in the German, Gallicius and Campell in the Romansh, Vergerius in the Italian sections of the Grisons. They were Zwinglians in theology, and introduced the changes of Zürich and Basel. Though occupying only a second or third rank among the Reformers, they were the right men in the right places, faithful, self-denying workers in a poor country, among an honest, industrious, liberty-loving but parsimonious people. With small means they accomplished great and permanent results.

John Comander (Dorfmann), formerly a Roman priest, of unknown antecedents, preached the Reformed doctrines in the church of St. Martin at Coire from 1524. He learned Hebrew in later years, to the injury of his eyes, that he might read the Old Testament in the original. Zwingli sent him Bibles and commentaries. The citizens protected him against violence and accompanied him to and from church. The bishop of Coire arraigned him for heresy before the Diet of the three confederacies in 1525.

The Diet, in spite of the remonstrance of the bishop, ordered a public disputation at Ilanz, the first town on the Rhine. The disputation was begun on Sunday after Epiphany, Jan. 7, 1526, under the presidency of the civil authorities, and lasted several days. It resembled the disputations of Zürich, and ended in a substantial victory of the Reformation. The conservative party was represented by the Episcopal Vicar, the abbot of St. Lucius, the deans, and a few priests and monks; the progressive party, by several young preachers, Comander, Gallicius, Blasius, Pontisella, Fabricius, and Hartmann. Sebastian Hofmeister of Schaffhausen was present as a listener, and wrote an account of the speeches.

Comander composed for the occasion eighteen theses, — an abridgment of the sixty-seven conclusions of Zwingli. The first thesis was: “The Christian Church is born of the Word of God and should abide in it, and not listen to the voice of a stranger” (Joh_10:4, Joh_10:5). He defended this proposition with a wealth of biblical arguments which the champions of Rome were not able to refute. There was also some debate about the rock-passage in Mat_16:18, the mass, purgatory, and sacerdotal celibacy. The Catholics brought the disputation to an abrupt close.

In the summer of the same year (June 26, 1526), the Diet of Ilanz proclaimed religious freedom, or the right of all persons in the Grisons, of both sexes, and of whatever condition or rank, to choose between the Catholic and the Reformed religion. Heretics, who after due admonition adhered to their error, were excluded and subjected to banishment (but not to death). This remarkable statute was in advance of the intolerance of the times, and forms the charter of religious freedom in the Grisons.

The Diet of Ilanz ordered the ministers to preach nothing but what they could prove from the Scriptures, and to give themselves diligently to the study of the same. The political authority of the bishop of Coire was curtailed, appeals to him from the civil jurisdiction were forbidden, and the parishes were empowered to elect and to dismiss their own priests or pastors.

Thus the episcopal monarchy was abolished and congregational independency introduced, but without the distinction made by the English and American Congregationalists between the church proper, or the body of converted believers, and the congregation of hearers or mere nominal Christians.

This legislation was brought about by the aid of liberal Catholic laymen, such as John Travers and John Guler, who at that time had not yet joined the Reformed party. The strict Catholics were dissatisfied, but had to submit. In 1553 the Pope sent a delegate to Coire and demanded the introduction of the Inquisition; but Comander, Bullinger, and the French ambassador defeated the attempt.

Comander, aided by his younger colleague, Blasius, and afterwards by Gallicius, continued to maintain the Reformed faith against Papists, Anabaptists, and also against foreign pensioners who had their headquarters at Coire, and who punished him for his opposition by a reduction of his scanty salary of one hundred and twenty guilders. He was at times tempted to resign, but Bullinger urged him to hold on. He stood at the head of the Reformed synod till his death in 1557.

He was succeeded by Fabricius, who died of the pestilence in 1566.

Philip Gallicius (Saluz) developed a more extensive activity. He is the Reformer of the Engadin, but labored also as pastor and evangelist in Domleschg, Langwies, and Coire. He was born on the eastern frontier of Graubünden in 1504, and began to preach already in 1520. He had an irresistible eloquence and power of persuasion. When he spoke in Romansh, the people flocked from every direction to hear him. He was the chief speaker at two disputations in Sues, a town of the Lower Engadin, against the Papists (1537), and against the Anabaptists (1544). He also introduced the Reformation in Zuz in the Lower Engadin, 1554, with the aid of John Travers, a distinguished patriot, statesman, soldier, and lay-preacher, who was called “the steelclad Knight in the service of the Lord.”

Gallicius suffered much persecution and poverty, but remained gentle, patient, and faithful to the end. When preaching in the Domleschg he had not even bread to feed his large family, and lived for weeks on vegetables and salt. And yet he educated a son for the ministry at Basel, and dissuaded him from accepting a lucrative offer in another calling. He also did as much as he could for the Italian refugees. He died of the pestilence with his wife and three sons at Coire, 1566.

He translated the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Ten Commandments, and several chapters of the Bible, into the Romansh language, and thus laid the foundation of the Romansh literature. He also wrote a catechism and a Latin grammar, which were printed at Coire. He prepared the Confession of Raetia, in 1552, which was afterwards superseded by the Confession of Bullinger in 1566.

Ulrich Campell (b. c. 1510, d. 1582) was pastor at Coire and at Sues, and, next to Gallicius, the chief reformer of the Engadin. He is also the first historian of Raetia and one of the founders of the religious literature in Romanic Raetia. His history is written in good Latin, and based upon personal observation, the accounts of the ancient Romans, the researches of Tschudi, and communications of Bullinger and Vadian. It begins a.d. 100 and ends about 1582.

The Romansh literature was first cultivated during the Reformation. Gallicius, Campell, and Biveroni (Bifrun) are the founders of it. Campell prepared a metrical translation of the Psalter, with original hymns and a catechism (1562). Jacob Biveroni, a lawyer of Samaden, published a translation of Comander’s Catechism, which was printed at Poschiavo, 1552, and (with the aid of Gallicius and Campell) the entire New Testament, which appeared first in 1560 at Basel, and became the chief agency in promoting the evangelical faith in those regions. The people, who knew only the Romansh language, says a contemporary, “were amazed like the Israelites of old at the sight of the manna.”

The result of the labors of the Reformers and their successors in Graubünden was the firm establishment of an evangelical church which numbered nearly two-thirds of the population; while one-third remained Roman Catholic. This numerical relation has substantially remained to this day with some change in favor of Rome, though not by conversion, but by emigration and immigration. The two churches live peacefully together. The question of religion was decided in each community by a majority vote, like any political or local question. The principle of economy often gave the decision either for the retention of the Roman priest, or the choice of a Reformed preacher. Some stingy congregations remained vacant to get rid of all obligations, or hired now a priest, now a preacher for a short season. Gallicius complained to Bullinger about this independence which favored license under the name of liberty. Not unfrequently congregations are deceived by foreign adventurers who impose themselves upon them as pastors.

The democratic autonomy explains the curious phenomenon of the mixture of religion in the Grisons. The traveller may pass in a few hours through a succession of villages and churches of different creeds. At Coire the city itself is Reformed, and the Catholics with their bishop form a separate town on a hill, called the Court (of the bishop).

There is in Graubünden neither a State church nor a free church, but a people’s church. Every citizen is baptized, confirmed, and a church member. Every congregation is sovereign, and elects and supports its own pastor. In 1537 a synod was constituted, which meets annually in the month of June. It consists of all the ministers and three representatives of the government, and attends to the examination and ordination of candidates, and the usual business of administration. The civil government watches over the preservation of the church property, and prevents a collision of ecclesiastical and civil legislation, but the administration of church property is in the hands of the local congregations or parishes. The Second Helvetic Confession of Bullinger was formally accepted as the creed of the Church in 1566, but has latterly gone out of use. Ministers are only required to teach the doctrines of the Bible in general conformity to the teaching of the Reformed Church. Pastors are at liberty to use any catechism they please. The cultus is very simple, and the churches are devoid of all ornament. Many pious customs prevail among the people. A Protestant college was opened at Coire in the year 1542 with Pontisella, a native of Bregaglia, as first rector, who had been gratuitously educated at Zürich by the aid of Bullinger. With the college was connected a theological seminary for the training of ministers. This was abolished in 1843, and its funds were converted into scholarships for candidates, who now pursue their studies at Basel and Zürich or in German universities. In 1850 the Reformed college at Coire and the Catholic college of St. Lucius have been consolidated into one institution (Cantonsschule) located on a hill above Coire, near the episcopal palace.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Reformed clergy were orthodox in the sense of moderate Calvinism; in the eighteenth century Pietism and the Moravian community exerted a wholesome influence on the revival of spiritual life. In the present century about one-half of the clergy have been brought up under the influence of German Rationalism, and preach Christian morality without supernatural dogmas and miracles.

The Protestant movement in the Italian valleys of the Grisons began in the middle of the sixteenth century, but may as well be anticipated here.


38. The Reformation in the Italian Valleys of the Grisons. Vergerio

I. P. Dom. Rosius De Porta: Dissertatio historico-ecclesiastica qua ecclesiarum colloquio Vallis Praegalliae et Comitatiis Clavennae olim comprehensarum Reformatio et status … exponitur. Curiae, 1787 (pp. 56, 4°). His Historia Reformations Eccles. Rhaeticarum, bk. II. ch. v. pp. 139-179 (on Vergerio). — Dan. Gerdes (a learned Reformed historian, 1698-1765): Specimen Italiae Reformatae. L. Batav. 1765. — *Thomas McCrie (1772-1835, author of the Life of John Knox, etc.): History of the Progress and Suppression of the Reformation in Italy. Edinburgh, 1827. 2d ed. 1833. Republished by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, Philadelphia, 1842. Ch. VI., pp. 291 sqq., treats of the foreign Italian churches and the Reformation in the Grisons. — F. Trechsel: Die protest. Antitrinitarier, Heidelberg, 1844, vol. II. 64 sqq.) — G. Leonhardi: Ritter Johannes Guler von Weineck, Lebensbild eines Rhaetiers aus dem 17ten Jahrh. Bern, 1863. By the same: Puschlaver Mord. Veltiner Mord. Die Ausrottung des Protestantismus im Misoxerthal. In the Zeitschrift “der Wahre Protestant,” Basel, 1852-’54. — B. Reber: Georg Jenatsch, Graubündens Pfarrer und Held waehrend des dreissigjaehrigen Kriegs. In the “Beitaege zur vaterlaendischen Geschichte,” Basel, 1860. — E. Lechner: Das Thal Bergell (Bregaglia) in Graubünden, Natur, Sagen, Geschichte, Volk, Sprache, etc. Leipzig, 1865 (pp. 140). — Y. F. Fetz (Rom. Cath.): Geschichte der kirchenpolitischen Wirren im Freistaat der drei Buende vom Anfang des 17ten Jahrh. bis auf die Gegenwart. Chur, 1875 (pp. 367). — *Karl Benrath: Bernardino Ochino von Siena. Leipzig, 1875 (English translation with preface by William Arthur, London, 1876). Comp. his Ueber die Quellen der italienischen Reformationsgeschichte. Bonn, 1876. — *Joh. Kaspar Moerikofer: Geschichte der evangelischen Fluechtlinge in der Schweiz. Zürich, 1876. — John Stoughton: Footprints of Italian Reformers. London, 1881 (pp. 235, 267 sqq.). — Em. Comba (professor of church history in the Waldensian Theological College at Florence): Storia della Riforma in Italia. Firenze, 1881 (only l vol. so far). Biblioteca della Riforma Italiana Sec. XVI. Firenze, 1883-’86. 6 vols. Visita ai Grigioni Riformati Italiani. Firenze, 1885. Vera Narrazione del Massacro di Valtellina. Zürich, 1621. Republished in Florence, 1886. Comp. literature in § 36.

II. The Vergerius literature. The works of Vergerius, Latin and Italian, are very rare. Niceron gives a list of fifty-five, Sixt (pp. 595-601) of eighty-nine. He began a collection of his Opera adversus Papatum, of which only the first volume has appeared, at Tübingen, 1563. Recently Emil Comba has edited his Trattacelli e sua storia di Francesco Spiera in the first two volumes of his “Biblioteca della Riforma Italiana,” Firenze, 1883, and the Parafrasi sopra l’ Epistola ai Romani, 1886. Sixt has published, from the Archives of Koenigsberg, forty-four letters of Vergerius to Albert, Duke of Prussia (pp. 533 sqq.), and Kausler and Schott (librarian at Stuttgart), his correspondence with Christopher, Duke of Würtemberg (Briefwechsel zwischen Christoph Herzog von Wuert. und P. P. Vergerius, Tübingen, 1875). — Walter Friedensburg: Die Nunciaturen des Vergerio, 1533-’36. Gotha, 1892 (615 pp.). From the papal archives.

Chr. H. Sixt: Petrus Paulus Vergerius, paepstlicher Nuntius, katholischer Bischof und Vorkaempfer des Evangeliums. Braunschweig, 1855 (pp. 601). With a picture of Vergerius. 2d (title) ed. 1871. The labors in the Grisons are described in ch. III. 181 sqq. — Scattered notices of Vergerius are found in Sleidan, Seckendorf, De Porta, Sarpi, Pallavicini, Raynaldus, Maimburg, Bayle, Niceron, Schelhorn, Salig, and Meyer (in his monograph on Locarno. I. 36, 51; II. 236-255). A good article by Schott in Herzog2, XVI. 351-357. (Less eulogistic than Sixt.)

The evangelical Reformation spread in the Italian portions of the Grisons; namely, the valleys of Pregell or Bregaglia, and Poschiavo (Puschlav), which still belong to the Canton, and in the dependencies of the Valtellina (Veltlin), Bormio (Worms), and Chiavenna (Cleven), which were ruled by governors (like the Territories of the United States), but were lost to the Grisons in 1797. The Valtellina is famous for its luxuriant vegetation, fiery wine, and culture of silk. A Protestant congregation was also organized at Locarno in the Canton Ticino (Tessin), which then was a dependency of the Swiss Confederacy. This Italian chapter of the history of Swiss Protestantism is closely connected with the rise and suppression of the Reformation in Italy and the emigration of many Protestant confessors, who, like the French Huguenots of a later period, were driven from their native land, to enrich with their industry and virtue foreign countries where they found a hospitable home.

The first impulse to the Reformation in the Italian Grisons came from Gallicius and Campell, who labored in the neighboring Engadin, and knew Italian as well as Romansh. The chief agents were Protestant refugees who fled from the Inquisition to Northern Italy and found protection under the government of the Grisons. Many of them settled there permanently; others went to Zürich, Basel, and Geneva. In the year 1550 the number of Italian refugees was about two hundred. Before 1559 the number had increased to eight hundred. One fourth or fifth of them were educated men. Some inclined to Unitarian and Anabaptist opinions, and prepared the way for Socinianism. Among the latter may be mentioned Francesco Calabrese (in the Engadin); Tiriano (at Coire); Camillo Renato, a forerunner of Socinianism (at Tirano in the Valtellina); Ochino, the famous Capuchin pulpit orator (who afterwards went to Geneva, England, and Zürich); Lelio Sozini (who died at Zürich, 1562); and his more famous nephew, Fausto Sozini (1539-1604), the proper founder of Socinianism, who ended his life in Poland.

The most distinguished of the Italian evangelists in the Grisons, is Petrus Paulus Vergerius (1498-1565). He labored there four years (1549-1553), and left some permanent traces of his influence. He ranks among the secondary Reformers, and is an interesting but somewhat ambiguous and unsatisfactory character, with a changeful career. He held one of the highest positions at the papal court, and became one of its most decided opponents.

Vergerio was at first a prominent lawyer at Venice. After the death of his wife (Diana Contarini), he entered the service of the Church, and soon rose by his talents and attainments to influential positions. He was sent by Clement VII., together with Campeggi and Pimpinelli, to the Diet of Augsburg, 1530, where he associated with Faber, Eck, and Cochlaeus, and displayed great zeal and skill in attempting to suppress the Protestant heresy. He was made papal secretary and domestic chaplain, 1532. He was again sent by Paul III. to Germany, in 1535, to negotiate with the German princes about the proposed General Council at Mantua. He had a personal interview with Luther in Wittenberg (Nov. 7), and took offence at his bad Latin, blunt speech, and plebeian manner. He could not decide, he said in his official report to the papal secretary (Nov. 12), whether this German “beast” was possessed by an evil demon or not, but he certainly was the embodiment of arrogance, malice, and unwisdom. He afterwards spoke of Luther as “a man of sacred memory,” and “a great instrument of God,” and lauded him in verses which he composed on a visit to Eisleben in 1559. On his return to Italy, he received as reward for his mission the archbishopric of Capo d’ Istria, his native place (not far from Trieste). He aspired even to the cardinal’s hat. He attended — we do not know precisely in what capacity, whether in the name of the Pope, or of Francis I. of France — the Colloquies at Worms and Regensburg, in 1540 and 1541, where he met Melanchthon and Calvin. Melanchthon presented him on that occasion with a copy of the Augsburg Confession and the Apology. At that time he was, according to his confession, still as blind and impious as Saul. In the address De Unitate et Pace Ecclesicae, which he delivered at Worms, Jan. 1, 1541, and which is diplomatic rather than theological, he urged a General Council as a means to restore the unity and peace of the Church on the traditional basis.

His conversion was gradually brought about by a combination of several causes, — the reading of Protestant books which he undertook with the purpose to refute them, his personal intercourse with Lutheran divines and princes in Germany, the intolerance of his Roman opponents, and the fearful death of Spiera. He acquired an experimental knowledge of the evangelical doctrine of justification by faith, which at that time commended itself even to some Roman divines of high standing, as Cardinal Contarini and Reginald Pole, and which was advocated by Paleario of Siena, and by a pupil of Valdés in an anonymous Italian tract on “The Benefit of Christ’s Death.” He began to preach evangelical doctrines and to reform abuses. His brother, bishop of Pola, fully sympathized with him. He roused the suspicion of the Curia and the Inquisition. He went to Trent in February, 1546, to justify himself before the Council, but was refused admittance, and forbidden to return to his diocese. He retired to Riva on the Lago di Garda, not far from Trent.

In 1548 he paid a visit to Padua to take some of his nephews to college. He found the city excited by the fearful tragedy of Francesco Spiera, a lawyer and convert from Romanism, who had abjured the evangelical faith from fear of the Inquisition, and fell into a hell of tortures of conscience under the conviction that he had committed the unpardonable sin by rejecting the truth. He was for several weeks a daily witness, with many others, of the agonies of this most unfortunate of apostates, and tried in vain to comfort him. He thought that we must not despair of any sinner, though he had committed the crimes of Cain and Judas. He prepared himself for his visits by prayer and the study of the comforting promises of the Scriptures. But Spiera had lost all faith, all hope, all comfort; he insisted that he had committed the sin against the Holy Spirit which cannot be forgiven in this world nor in the world to come; he was tormented by the remembrance of the sins of his youth, the guilt of apostasy, the prospect of eternal punishment which he felt already, and died in utter despair with a heart full of hatred and blasphemy. His death was regarded as a signal judgment of God, a warning example, and an argument for the truth of the evangelical doctrines.

Vergerio was overwhelmed by this experience, and brought to a final decision. He wrote an apology in which he gives an account of the sad story, and renounces his connection with Rome at the risk of persecution, torture, and death. He sent it to the suffragan bishop of Padua, Dec. 13, 1548.

He was deposed and excommunicated by the pope, July 3, 1549, and fled over Bergamo to the Grisons. He remained there till 1553, with occasional journeys to the Valtellina, Chiavenna, Zürich, Bern, and Basel. He was hospitably received, and developed great activity in preaching and writing. People of all classes gathered around him, and were impressed by his commanding presence and eloquence. He founded a printing-press in Poschiavo in 1549, and issued from it his thunderbolts against popery. He preached at Pontresina and Samaden in the Upper Engadin, and effected the abolition of the mass and the images. He labored as pastor three years (1550-53) at Vicosoprano in Bregaglia. He travelled through the greater part of Switzerland, and made the acquaintance of Bullinger, Calvin, and Beza.

But the humble condition of the Grisons did not satisfy his ambition. He felt isolated, and complained of the inhospitable valleys. He disliked the democratic institutions. He quarrelled with the older Reformers, Comander and Gallicius. He tried to get the whole Synod of the Grisons under his control, and, failing in this, to organize a separate synod of the Italian congregations. Then he aspired to a more prominent position at Zürich or Geneva or Bern, but Bullinger and Calvin did not trust him.

In November, 1553, he gladly accepted a call to Würtemberg as counsellor of Duke Christopher, one of the best princes of the sixteenth century, and spent his remaining twelve years in the Duke’s service. He resided in Tübingen, but had no official connection with the University. He continued to write with his rapid pen inflammatory tracts against popery, promoted the translation and distribution of the Bible in the South Slavonic dialect, maintained an extensive correspondence, and was used in various diplomatic and evangelical missions to the Emperor Maximilian at Vienna, to the kings of Bohemia, and Poland. On his first journey to Poland he made the personal acquaintance of Albert, Duke of Prussia, who esteemed him highly and supplied him with funds. He entered into correspondence with Queen Elizabeth, in the vain hope of an invitation to England. He desired to be sent as delegate to the religious conference at Poissy in France, 1561, but was again disappointed. He paid four visits to the Grisons (November, 1561; March, 1562; May, 1563; and April, 1564), to counteract the intrigues of the Spanish and papal party, and to promote the harmony of the Swiss Church with that of Würtemberg. On his second visit he went as far as the Valtellina. He received an informal invitation to attend the Council of Trent in 1561 from Delfino, the papal nuncio, in the hope that he might be induced to recant; he was willing to go at the risk of meeting the fate of Hus at Constance, but on condition of a safe conduct, which was declined. At last he wished to unite with the Bohemian Brethren, whom he admired for their strict discipline combined with pure doctrine; he translated and published their Confession of Faith. He was in constant need of money, and his many begging letters to the Dukes of Würtemberg and of Prussia make a painful impression; but we must take into account the printing expenses of his many books, his frequent journeys, and the support of three nephews and a niece. In his fifty-ninth year he conceived the plan of contracting a marriage, and asked the Duke to double his allowance of two hundred guilders, but the request was declined and the marriage given up.

He died Oct. 4, 1565, at Tübingen, and was buried there. Dr. Andreae, the chief author of the Lutheran Formula of Concord, preached the funeral sermon, which the learned Crusius took down in Greek. Duke Christopher erected a monument to his memory with a eulogistic inscription.

The very numerous Latin and Italian books and fugitive tracts of Vergerio are chiefly polemical against the Roman hierarchy of which he had so long been a conspicuous member. He exposed, with the intemperate zeal of a proselyte, the chronique scandaleuse of the papacy, including the mythical woman-pope, Johanna (John VIII.), who was then generally believed to have really existed. He agreed with Luther that the papacy was an invention of the Devil; that the pope was the very Antichrist seated in the temple of God as predicted by Daniel (Dan_11:36) and Paul (2Th_2:3 sq.), and the beast of the Apocalypse; and that he would soon be destroyed by a divine judgment. He attacked all the contemporary popes, except Adrian VI., to whom he gives credit for honesty and earnestness. He is especially severe on “Saul IV.” (Paul IV.), who as Cardinal Caraffa had made some wise and bold utterances on the corruption of the clergy, but since his elevation to the “apostate chair, which corrupts every one who ascends it,” had become the leader of the Counter-Reformation with its measures of violence and blood. Such monsters, he says, are the popes. One contradicts the other, and yet they are all infallible, and demand absolute submission. Rather die a thousand times than have any communion with popery and fall away from Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for us and rose from the dead. Popery and the gospel are as incompatible as darkness and light, as Belial and Christ. No compromise is possible between them. Vergerio was hardly less severe on the cardinals and bishops, although he allowed some honorable exceptions. He attacked and ridiculed the Council of Trent, then in session, and tried to show that it was neither general, nor free, nor Christian. He used the same arguments against it as the Old Catholics used against the Vatican Council of 1870. He repelled the charge of heresy and turned it against his former co-religionists. The Protestants who follow the Word of God are orthodox, the Romanists who follow the traditions of men are the heretics.

His anti-popery writings were read with great avidity by his contemporaries, but are now forgotten. Bullinger was unfavorably impressed, and found in them no solid substance, but only frivolous mockery and abuse.

As regards the differences among Protestants, Vergerio was inconsistent. He first held the Calvinistic theory of the Lord’s Supper, and expressed it in his own Catechism, in a letter to Bullinger of Jan. 16, 1554, and even later, in June, 1556, at Wittenberg, where he met Melanchthon and Eber. But in Würtemberg he had to subscribe the Augsburg Confession, and in a letter to the Duke of Würtemberg, Oct. 23, 1557, he confessed the ubiquitarian theory of Luther. He also translated the Catechism of Brenz and the Würtemberg Confession into Italian, and thereby offended the Swiss Zwinglians, but told them that he was merely the translator. He never attributed much importance to the difference, and kept aloof from the eucharistic controversy. He was not a profound theologian, but an ecclesiastical politician and diplomatist, after as well as before his conversion.

Vergerio left the Roman Church rather too late, when the Counter-Reformation had already begun to crush Protestantism in Italy. He was a man of imposing personality, considerable learning and eloquence, wit and irony, polemic dexterity, and diplomatic experience, but restless, vain, and ambitious. He had an extravagant idea of his own importance. He could not forget his former episcopal authority and pretensions, nor his commanding position as the representative of the pope. He aspired to the dignity and influence of a sort of Protestant internuncio at all the courts of Europe, and of a mediator between the Lutheran and Reformed Churches. Pallavicino, the Jesuit historian of the Council of Trent, characterizes him as a lively and bold man who could not live without business, and imagined that business could not get along without him. Calvin found in him much that is laudable, but feared that he was a restless busybody. Gallicius wrote to Bullinger: “I wish that Vergerio would be more quiet, and persuade himself that the heavens will not fall even if he, as another Atlas, should withdraw his support.” Nevertheless, Vergerio filled an important place in the history of his times. He retained the esteem of the Lutheran princes and theologians, and he is gratefully remembered for his missionary services in the two Italian valleys of the Grisons, which have remained faithful to the evangelical faith to this day.


39. Protestantism in Chiavenna and the Valtellina, and its Suppression. The Valtellina Massacre. George Jenatsch

See literature in §§ 36 and 38.

We pass now to the Italian dependencies of the Grisons, where Protestantism has had only a transient existence.

At Chiavenna the Reformed worship was introduced in 1544 by Agostino Mainardi, a former monk of Piedmont, under the protection of Hercules von Salis, governor of the province. He was succeeded by Jerome Zanchi (1516-1590), an Augustinian monk who had been converted by reading the works of the Reformers under the direction of Vermigli at Lucca, and became one of the most learned and acute champions of the Calvinistic system. He fled to the Grisons in 1551, and preached at Chiavenna. Two years later he accepted a call to a Hebrew professorship at Strassburg. There he got into a controversy with Marbach on the doctrine of predestination, which he defended with logical rigor. In 1563 he returned to Chiavenna as pastor. He had much trouble with restless Italian refugees and with the incipient heresy of Socinianism. In 1568 he left for Heidelberg, as professor of theology on the basis of the Palatinate Catechism, which in 1563 had been introduced under the pious Elector Frederick III. He prepared the way for Calvinistic scholasticism. A complete edition of his works appeared at Geneva, 1619, in three folio volumes.

Chiavenna had several other able pastors, — Simone Florillo, Scipione Lentulo of Naples, Ottaviano Meio of Lucca,

Small Protestant congregations were founded in the Valtellina, at Caspan (1546), Sondrio (the seat of government), Teglio, Tirano, and other towns. Dr. McCrie says: “Upon the whole, the number of Protestant churches to the south of the Alps appears to have exceeded twenty, which were all served, and continued till the end of the sixteenth century to be for the most part served, by exiles from Italy.”

But Protestantism in Chiavenna, Bormio, and the Valtellina was at last swept out of existence. We must here anticipate a bloody page of the history of the seventeenth century.

Several causes combined for the destruction of Protestantism in Upper Italy. The Catholic natives were never friendly to the heretical refugees who settled among them, and called them banditi, which has the double meaning of exile and outlaw. They reproached the Grisons for receiving them after they had been expelled from other Christian countries. They were kept in a state of political vassalage, instead of being admitted to equal rights with the three leagues. The provincial governors were often oppressive, sold the subordinate offices to partisans, and enriched themselves at the expense of the inhabitants. The Protestants were distracted by internal feuds. The Roman Counter-Reformation was begun with great zeal and energy in Upper Italy and Switzerland by the saintly Cardinal Charles Borromeo, archbishop of Milan. Jesuits and Capuchins stirred up the hatred of the ignorant and superstitious people against the Protestant heretics. In the Grisons themselves the Roman Catholic party under the lead of the family of Planta, and the Protestants, headed by the family of Salis, strove for the mastery. The former aimed at the suppression of the Reformation in the leagues as well as the dependencies, and were suspected of treasonable conspiracy with Spain and Austria. The Protestant party held a court (Strafgericht, a sort of tribunal of inquisition) at Thusis in 1618, which included nine preachers, and condemned the conspirators. The aged Zambra, who in the torture confessed complicity with Spain, was beheaded; Nicolaus Rusca, an esteemed priest, leader of the Spanish Catholic interests in the Valtellina, called the hammer of the heretics, was cruelly tortured to death; Bishop John Flugi was deposed and outlawed; the brothers Rudolf and Pompeius Planta, the Knight Jacob Robustelli, and other influential Catholics were banished, and the property of the Plantas was confiscated.

These unrighteous measures created general indignation. The exiles fostered revenge, and were assured of Spanish aid. Robustelli returned, after his banishment, to the Valtellina, and organized a band of about three hundred desperate bandits from the Venetian and Milanese territories for the overthrow of the government of the Grisons and the extermination of Protestantism.

This is the infamous “Valtellina Massacre” (Veltliner Mord) of July, 1620. It may be called an imitation of the Sicilian Vespers, and of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. It was the fiendish work of religious fanaticism combined with political discontent. The tragedy began in the silence of the night, from July 18th to 19th, by the murder of sixty defenceless adult Protestants of Tirano; the Podesta Enderlin was shot down in the street, mutilated, and thrown into the Adda; Anton von Salis took refuge in the house of a Catholic friend, but was sought out and killed; the head of the Protestant minister, Anton Bassa of Poschiavo, was posted on the pulpit of the church. The murderers proceeded to Teglio, and shot down about the same number of persons in the church, together with the minister, who was wounded in the pulpit, and exhorted the hearers to persevere; a number of women and children, who had taken refuge in the tower of the church, were burnt. The priest of Teglio took part in the bloody business, carrying the cross in the left, and the sword in the right hand. At Sondrio, the massacre raged for three days. Seventy-one Protestants, by their determined stand, were permitted to escape to the Engadin, but one hundred and forty fell victims to the bandits; a butcher boasted of having murdered eighteen persons. Not even the dead were spared; their bodies were exhumed, burnt, thrown into the water, or exposed to wild beasts. Paula Baretta, a noble Venetian lady of eighty years, who had left a nunnery for her religious conviction, was shamefully maltreated and delivered to the Inquisition at Milan, where a year afterward she suffered death at the stake. Anna of Libo fled with a child of two years in her arms; she was overtaken and promised release on condition of abjuring her faith. She refused, saying, “You may kill the body, but not the soul;” she pressed her child to her bosom, and received the death-blow. When the people saw the stream of blood on the market-place before the chief church, they exclaimed: “This is the revenge for our murdered arch-priest Rusca!” He was henceforth revered as a holy martyr. At Morbegno the Catholics behaved well, and aided the Protestants in making their escape. The fugitives were kindly received in the Grisons and other parts of Switzerland. From the Valtellina Robustelli proceeded to Poschiavo, burnt the town of Brusio, and continued there the butchery of Protestants till he was checked.

The Valtellina declared itself independent and elected the Knight Robustelli military chief. The canons of the Council of Trent were proclaimed, papal indulgences introduced, the evangelical churches and cemeteries reconsecrated for Catholic use, the corpses of Protestants dug up, burnt, and cast into the river. Addresses were sent to the Pope and the kings of Spain and France, explaining and excusing the foul deeds by which the rebels claimed to have saved the Roman religion and achieved political freedom from intolerable tyranny.

Now began the long and bloody conflicts for the recovery of the lost province, in which several foreign powers took part. The question of the Valtellina (like the Eastern question in modern times) became a European question, and was involved in the Thirty Years’ War. Spain, in possession of Milan, wished to join hands with Austria across the Alpine passes of the Grisons; while France and Venice had a political motive to keep them closed. Austrian and Spanish troops conquered and occupied the Valtellina and the three leagues, expelled the Protestant preachers, and inflicted unspeakable misery upon the people. France, no less Catholic under the lead of Cardinal Richelieu, but jealous of the house of Habsburg, came to the support of the Protestants in the Grisons, as well as the Swedes in the north, and sent an army under the command of the noble Huguenot Duke Henri de Rohan, who defeated the Austrians and Spaniards, and conquered the Valtellina (1635).

The Grisons with French aid recovered the Valtellina by the stipulation of Chiavenna, 1636, which guaranteed to the three leagues all the rights of sovereignty, but on condition of tolerating no other religion in that province but the Roman Catholic. Rohan, who had the best intentions for the Grisons, desired to save Protestant interests, but Catholic France would not agree. He died in 1638, and was buried at Geneva.

The Valtellina continued to be governed by bailiffs till 1797. It is now a part of the kingdom of Italy, and enjoys the religious freedom guaranteed by the constitution of 1848.

In this wild episode of the Thirty Years’ War, a Protestant preacher, Colonel Georg Jenatsch, plays a prominent figure as a romantic hero. He was born at Samaden in the Upper Engadin, 1590, studied for the Protestant ministry at Zürich, successively served the congregations at Scharans and at Berbenno in the Valtellina, and narrowly escaped the massacre at Sondrio by making his flight through dangerous mountain passes. He was an eloquent speaker, an ardent patriot, a shrewd politician, and a brave soldier, but ambitious, violent, unscrupulous, extravagant, and unprincipled. He took part in the cruel decision of the court of Thusis (1618), and killed Pompeius Planta with an axe (1621). He served as guide and counsellor of the Duke de Rohan, and by his knowledge, pluck, and energy, materially aided him in the defeat of Austria. Being disappointed in his ambition, he turned traitor to France, joined the Austrian party and the Roman Church (1635), but educated his children in the Protestant religion. He was murdered at a banquet in Coire (1639) by an unknown person in revenge for the murder of Pompeius Planta. He is buried in the Catholic church, near the bishop’s palace. A Capuchin monk delivered the funeral oration.


40. The Congregation of Locarno

Ferdinand Meyer: Die evangelische Gemeinde von Locarno, ihre Auswanderung nach Zürich und ihre weiteren Schicksale. Zürich, 1836. 2 vols. An exhaustive monograph carefully drawn from MS. sources, and bearing more particularly on the Italian congregation at Zürich, to which the leading Protestant families of Locarno emigrated.

Locarno, a beautiful town on the northern end of the Lago Maggiore, was subject to the Swiss Confederacy and ruled by bailiffs. It had in the middle of the sixteenth century a Protestant congregation of nearly two hundred members. Chief among them were Beccaria, Taddeo Duno, Lodovico Ronco, and Martino Muralto. A religious disputation was held there in 1549, about the authority of the pope, the merit of good works, justification, auricular confession, and purgatory. It ended in a tumult. Wirz, the presiding bailiff, who knew neither Latin nor Italian, gave a decision in favor of the Roman party. Beccaria refused to submit, escaped, and went to Zürich, where he was kindly received by Bullinger. He became afterwards a member of the Synod of Graubünden, and was sent as an evangelist to Misocco, but returned to Zürich.

The faithful Protestants of Locarno, who preferred emigration to submission, wandered with wives and children on foot and on horseback over snow and ice to Graubünden and Zürich, in 1556. Half of them remained in the Grisons, and mingled with the evangelical congregations. The rest organized an Italian congregation in Zürich under the fostering care of Bullinger. It was served for a short time by Vergerio, who came from Tübingen for the purpose, and then by Bernardino Ochino, who had fled from England to Basel after the accession of Queen Mary. Ochino was a brilliant genius and an eloquent preacher, then already sixty-eight years old, but gave offence by his Arian and other heretical opinions, and was required to leave in 1563. He went to Basel, Strassburg, Nürnberg, Krakau; was expelled from Poland, Aug. 6, 1564; and died in poverty in Moravia, 1565, a victim of his subtle speculations and the intolerance of his times. He wrote an Italian catechism for the Locarno congregation in the form of a dialogue (1561).

The most important accession to the exiles was Pietro Martire Vermigli, who had likewise fled from England, first to Strassburg (1553), then to Zürich (1555). He was received as a member into the council of the Locarno congregation, presented with the citizenship of Zürich, and elected professor of Hebrew in place of Conrad Pellican (who died in 1556). He labored there till his death, in 1562, in intimate friendship and harmony with Bullinger, generally esteemed and beloved. He was one of the most distinguished and useful Italian converts, and, like Zanchi, an orthodox Calvinist.

The Italian congregation was enlarged by new fugitives from Locarno and continued to the end of the sixteenth century. The principal families of Duno, Muralto, Orelli, Pestalozzi, and others were received into citizenship, took a prominent position in the history of Zürich, and promoted its industry and prosperity, like the exiled Huguenots in Brandenburg, Holland, England, and North America.


41. Zwinglianism in Germany

The principles of the Helvetic Reformation spread also to some extent in Germany, but in a modified form, and prepared the way for the mediating (Melanchthonian) character of the German Reformed Church. Although Luther overshadowed every other personality in Germany, Zwingli had also his friends and admirers, especially the Landgrave, Philip of Hesse, who labored very zealously, though unsuccessfully, for a union of the Lutherans and the Reformed. Bucer and Capito at Strassburg, Cellarius at Augsburg, Blaurer at Constance, Hermann at Reutlingen, and Somius at Ulm, strongly sympathized with the genius and tendency of the Zürich Reformer. His influence was especially felt in those free cities of Southern Germany where the democratic element prevailed.

Four of these cities, Strassburg, Constance, Memmingen, and Lindau, handed to the Diet of Augsburg, 11th July, 1530, a special confession (Confessio Tetrapolitana) drawn up by Bucer, with the assistance of Hedio, and answered by the Roman divines, Faber, Eck, and Cochlaeus. It is the first symbolical book of the German Reformed Church (Zwingli’s writings having never acquired symbolical authority), but was superseded by the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and the Second Helvetic Confession (1566). It strikes a middle course between the Augsburg Confession of Melanchthon and the private Confession sent in by Zwingli during the same Diet, and anticipates Calvin’s view on the Lord’s Supper by teaching a real fruition of the true body and blood of Christ, not through the mouth, but through faith, for the nourishment of the soul into eternal life.

The Zwinglian Reformation was checked and almost destroyed in Germany by the combined opposition of Romanism and Lutheranism. The four cities could not maintain their isolated position, and signed the Augsburg Confession for political reasons, to join the Smalcaldian League. The Reformed Church took a new start in the Palatinate under the combined influence of Zwingli, Melanchthon, and Calvin (1563), gained strength by the accession of the reigning dynasty of Prussia (since 1614), and was ultimately admitted to equal rights with the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches in the German Empire by the Treaty of Westphalia.