Peter Viret was born in Orbe, Switzerland in 1511. At twelve years of age he went to the University of Paris to study as a Catholic. There he met William Farel, who he would later work with in Geneva. When he returned to Orbe, the city was in conflict between Roman Catholicism and the Gospel. There he was saved and preached the gospel. In 1534 he went to Geneva, and was one of the leaders of the Reformation there along with William Farel, Antonio Froment and John Calvin. He suffered persecution there from the Catholics. At one point he was badly wounded during a riot by the Catholics, and then became very ill after they convinced a woman to poison his soup. He recovered after almost dieing, but felt the effects of the poison his entire life. He became the pastor of Lausanne in 1541, and continued there for 22 years. At different times he was also a pastor at Berne, Geneva, Orbe, and other towns. One man said, “He handled the Scripture well, and he was gifted with eloquence which charmed the people.”1 He died in Switzerland in 1571.
1 J. H. Merle D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 2000) volume 7, book xi, p. 12