ULRICH ZWINGLI Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Name: Huldrych Zwingli                                                             
Born: 1 January 1484                                                               
Died: 11 October 1531                                                               
Huldrych (or Ulrich) Zwingli (1 January 1484 - 11 October 1531) was a               
leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. He attended the University of Vienna     
and the University of Basel. He continued his studies while he served as a         
pastor in Glarus and later in Einsiedeln where he was influenced by the writings   
of Erasmus, a humanist scholar and theologian.                                     
In 1519, Zwingli became the pastor of the Grossmunster in Zurich where he began     
to preach ideas on reforming the church. In his first public controversy in 1522,   
he attacked the custom of fasting during Lent. In his publications, he noted       
problems in the corruption of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, promoted clerical       
marriage, and attacked the use of images. In 1525, Zwingli introduced a new         
communion liturgy to replace the mass. Zwingli also clashed with the radical       
wing of the Reformation, the Anabaptists, which resulted in their persecution.     
The Reformation spread to other parts of the Swiss Confederation, but several       
cantons resisted preferring to remain Catholic. Zwingli formed an alliance of       
Reformed cantons which divided the Confederation along religious lines. In 1529,   
a war between the two sides was averted at the last moment. Meanwhile, Zwingli's   
ideas came to the attention of Martin Luther and other reformers. They met at       
the Marburg Colloquy and although they agreed on many points of doctrine, they     
could not reach an accord on the doctrine of the presence of Christ in the         
In 1531 religious tensions arose when Zwingli's alliance tried to apply a food     
blockade on the Catholic cantons. They responded with an attack at a moment when   
Zurich was badly prepared. Zwingli was killed in battle at the age of 47. His       
legacy lives on in the confessions, liturgy, and church orders of the Reformed     
churches of today.