Blogging the Reformers: Philibert Berthelier

J. H. Merle D'Aubigne

This year I am reading History of the Reformation in the Time of Calvin by J. H. Merle D'Aubigne because this year is the 500th aniversary of the birth of John Calvin. We are also planning on attending the Reformation 500 Celebration by Vision Forum Ministries. For a book report on this book, I am writing a paragraph on the important reformation figures that D'Aubigne writes about in his book. My first one is on Philibert Berthelier.

Philibert Berthelier

Philibert Berthelier was a Swiss Patriot in the town of Geneva in the 16th century. He defended the liberties of the city of Geneva against the Duke of Savoy, who wished to unlawfully rule the city. When he was about the be arrested, he fled Geneva and went to Friburg, a Swiss city, to ask if they would protect Geneva. In this he was successful, and the city of Geneva made a treaty with Friburg. He later returned to Geneva, and was arrested by the bishop, who hoped that by killing him he would destroy the desire for independence in Geneva. Berthelier said,

I am accused of being a marplot because I ask for justice; - a good-for-nothing, because I defend liberty against the enterprises of usurpers; - a conspirator against the bishop's life, because they conspire against mine.1

When he was about to be killed, he trusted in the Lord, even though he was a Catholic2. He was beheaded by the bishop of Geneva on August 23, 1519, and his head was hung on a tree as a warning to the other Genevans. D'Aubigne says this, “[Bethelier's] death has not been useless to the universal cause of civilization.”3

1 As quoted in J. H. Merle D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 2000) v. 1 p. 143

2 Ibid, p. 191-192

3 Ibid, p. 198


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