Zwingli Monument in Geneva

Zwingli monument in Geneva.

Ulrich Zwingli

Movement Magisterial Reformation
Born Toggenbürg, 1484
Died Kappel, 1531
Significance Ulrich Zwingli was the leader of the Swiss Reformation in Zurich. He is often known as the "third magisterial reformer" because he implemented his reforms through the city council of Zurich.
See also Home | Index of People | Magisterial Reformation | Ulrich Zwingli Chronology | Ulrich Zwingli Links | Ulrich Zwingli Theologies | Ulrich Zwingli Album

Zwingli came from a prominent family in Wildhaus where his father served as a district official. His education at Berne, Vienna, and Basle was steeped in humanism and his study of Erasmus’ writings would influence his theology greatly. In 1506 he was ordained and assigned to the town of Glarus as a parish priest and also served as a chaplain. His experience as a chaplain led him to denounce the mercenary system, but ironically he died in battle at Kappel in 1531.

On January 1, 1519, he was appointed priest at the Grossmünster in Zurich where he would serve until his death. In Zurich, he continued his humanist studies and also read the writings of Martin Luther. Soon after arriving in Zurich he began to enact reforms and in 1520 convinced the city council to forbid all church practices that were not founded on Scripture. Zwingli established the practice of disputations in order to determine whether or not certain practices were “Scriptural.” The town would outlaw such practices as indulgences, adoration of saints, and image-worship.

Zwingli’s theology held much in common with Martin Luther, but in October of 1529 they met at Marburg to settle their theological disputes. They agreed on fourteen articles but Zwingli’s view of the Lord’s Supper as symbolic was unacceptable to Luther. Zwingli also clashed with Anabaptists in Zurich over the baptism of infants.

After Zwingli’s death, Heinrich Bullinger, his successor as pastor of the Grossmünster, continued the reformation movement.

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