Huldrych Zwingli

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Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) (a.k.a. Ulrich Zwingli and Ulricht Zwingli), was a leading heresiarch in Switzerland concurrent to Martin Luther.

Much of Zwingli's life was spent preaching sermons against the Swiss mercenary trade, his hatred of which was stirred by the time that he had spent alongside the mercenaries as a Chaplain.

The greatest achievement of Zwingli was the creation of a vast personality cult in Zürich leading the early Reformation in what is now modern day Switzerland.


He was influenced by humanist learning of the time and after a stint in the Hapsburg-Valois wars, moved to Zurich where he preached at the Great Minster, coming into contact with Martin Luther's ideas. In 1523 he published his 67 Articles which provided a new theological formation: closing monasteries, allowing priests to marry, reforming the Eucharist, encouraging Bible study, preaching, and establishing theocratic rule. Under his influence, the city authorities clamped down on what he viewed as immoral behavior and started drowning Anabaptists. There was tension between Zurich and the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, and Zwingli preached holy war. He was killed while serving as a pastor at the Battle of Keppel in October 1531. He was one of 25 Protestant pastors killed there, alongside around 500 troops; maybe if the Protestants had more soldiers and fewer priests, they would have done better. The victors burnt his corpse for heresy.[1][2]


See the main article on this topic: Iconoclasm

Zwingli was responsible for the removal of the religious artwork in Zürich. This involved sacking churches, burning statues of Mary, whitewashing murals, and breaking stained glass. Doing so allowed the churches to be purified of idolatry.

Marburg Colloquium[edit]

During the early stages of the Reformation, Luther had already denounced the traditional Catholic doctrine of Eucharist, in that he rejected the idea of the priests turning the wafer and wine into Christ (transubstantiation), while maintaining that Christ was still actually there.

Zwingli thought that this was bullshit and openly called Luther a cannibal.[3] The resulting controversy compelled Luther's political supporters to force him and Zwingli to have a meeting at Marburg castle. This dispute was intended to mend the differences between the two, and the movements which they represented.

The meeting was an astounding failure. Both sides had already predetermined their positions before the meeting, and neither was willing to compromise on anything. After spending several days arguing the issue, both cried and claimed each other as heathens.

The view that Zwingli argued for later became known as memorialism,Wikipedia where the Eucharist is nothing more than a picture of Christ. It is strongly endorsed by various Baptist groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention.


  1. Ulrich Zwingli, History Learning Site
  2. See the Wikipedia article on Second War of Kappel.
  3. Martin Luther: A Life, Martin E. Marty