ULRICH ZWINGLI REFORMATION IN SWITZERLAND
Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)
was a contemporary of Luther who carried out
religious reforms in the Swiss confederation of Zurich. Zwingli’s reformation
was based on humanist views. His short stay at Basle and his familiarity with the works of Erasmus gave Zwingli a different perception of Christianity. Zwingli was essentially a humanist and was greatly inspired by Erasmus. He had studied the Bible in depth, which made him question some of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. He presented new views in the course of his preaching. His actual reformation started in 1520 and was completed within 5 years. According to Jean Wirth, Zwingli was an acculturative reformer. He depended on the support of the dominant classes to impose a rigorous reform. Under his influence, the bourgeois authorities in Zurich imposed on the people, without having converted them to the cause. It appears that Zwingli preferred an ordinary evolution of reformation but was overwhelmed by the groups by comprising opponents of all forms of images of saints-iconocl
influence became evident only after September 1523, when the town council of Zurich gave him full backing.
Swiss reformation under Zwingli:
It stressed upon the corporate nature of the church.
It believed that clergy and laymen formed a ‘holy community’.
Zwingli also raised the subject of celibacy and set an example by getting married, much to the indignation of the priests and clergy.
The Council of Zurich decided against the practice of exacting fees for baptism, Eucharist and burial.
Under the reformed religion:
The clergy was to preach only from scriptures and the original Bible was to be read in the churches.
Preaching formed an integral part of the church.
The images and relics were removed from the church, processions disallowed and the use of candles and holy water abandoned.