Ulrich Zwingli


Zwingli was the third of eight boys and two girls born to the successful district official, Ulrich Zwingli, of the town of Wildhaus. Zwingli’s uncle, Bartholomew, was pastor of Wildhaus and became pastor and dean of Wesen on the Walensee. It was there that the younger Ulrich received his early education under his uncle’s guidance. He was sent, at the age of ten to the school of St. TheodoreYears later, Zwingli was educated at the University of Vienna, Berne and the University of Basel. He studied under some of the greatest Humanists of Switzerland. He majored in the classical studies of poetry, philosophy, music, astronomy, physics and the ancient classics. It was likely that Zwingli met men who would plant seeds of reformation in his mind.In 1506 he was ordained into the priesthood in Glarus, where he began studying Erasmus. Erasmus’ writings were part of what most likely brought Zwingli’s attention on reform. In 1515, he moved to Einsiedeln, where he saw the evil in some practices from Rome such as the buying of indulgences. Zwingli’s reformed teachings became quite popular and on January 1, 1519, he was appointed priest at Grossmunster in Zurich where he began to preach ideas on reforming the Catholic Church. In his first public argument, he attacked the custom of fasting during Lent and the use of images in places of worship. Zwingli also clashed with the Anabaptists, which resulted in their persecution.Although the seeds of reformation had already been planted and Zwingli was already preaching the beginnings of a reformed church, he had not yet given himself completely to the Lord. For up to this time, he had some habits in his life that he had not fully turned away from. But when the 1520 plague struck Zurich and destroyed nearly a third of the people, including Zwingli himself who had been faithfully ministering to the needs of his people, it appears as though he emerged from his near death experience a changed man. After he fully…