Persecutions Of The Albigenses

The Albigenses were a people of the reformed religion, who inhabited the

country of Albi. They were condemned on the score of religion, in the

council of Lateran, by order of Pope Alexander III. Nevertheless, they

increased so prodigiously, that many cities were inhabited by persons

only of their persuasion, and several eminent noblemen embraced their

doctrines. Among the latter were Raymond earl of Thoulouse, Raymond earl

of Foix, the earl of Beziers, &c.

A friar, named Peter, having been murdered in the dominions of the earl

of Thoulouse, the pope made the murder a pretence to persecute that

nobleman and his subjects. To effect this, he sent persons throughout

all Europe, in order to raise forces to act coercively against the

Albigenses, and promised paradise to all that would come to this war,

which he termed a Holy War, and bear arms for forty days. The same

indulgences were likewise held out to all who entered themselves for the

purpose as to such as engaged in crusades to the Holy Land. The brave

earl defended Thoulouse and other places with the most heroic bravery

and various success against the pope's legates and Simon earl of

Montfort, a bigoted catholic nobleman. Unable to subdue the earl of

Thoulouse openly, the king of France, and queen mother, and three

archbishops, raised another formidable army, and had the art to persuade

the earl of Thoulouse to come to a conference, when he was treacherously

seized upon, made a prisoner, forced to appear bare-footed and

bare-headed before his enemies, and compelled to subscribe an abject

recantation. This was followed by a severe persecution against the

Albigenses; and express orders that the laity should not be permitted to

read the sacred scriptures. In the year 1620 also the persecution

against the Albigenses was very severe. In 1648 a heavy persecution

raged throughout Lithuania and Poland. The cruelty of the Cossacks was

so excessive, that the Tartars themselves were ashamed of their

barbarities. Among others who suffered, was the Rev. Adrian Chalinski,

who was roasted alive by a slow fire, and whose sufferings and mode of

death may depict the horrors which the professors of christianity have

endured from the enemies of the Redeemer.

The reformation of papistical error very early was projected in France;

for in the third century a learned man, named Almericus, and six of his

disciples, were ordered to be burnt at Paris, for asserting that God was

no otherwise present in the sacramental bread than in any other bread;

that it was idolatry to build altars or shrines to saints and that it

was ridiculous to offer incense to them.

The martyrdom of Almericus and his pupils did not, however, prevent many

from acknowledging the justness of his notions, and seeing the purity of

the reformed religion, so that the truth of Christ continually

increased, and in time not only spread itself over many parts of France,

but diffused the light of the gospel over various other countries.

In the year 1524, at a town in France, called Melden, one John Clark set

up a bill on the church door, wherein he called the pope Anti-christ.

For this offence he was repeatedly whipped, and then branded on the

forehead. Going afterward to Mentz, in Lorraine, he demolished some

images, for which he had his right hand and nose cut off, and his arms

and breasts torn with pincers. He sustained these cruelties with amazing

fortitude, and was even sufficiently cool to sing the 115th psalm, which

expressly forbids idolatry; after which he was thrown into the fire, and

burnt to ashes.

Many persons of the reformed persuasion were, about this time, beaten,

racked, scourged, and burnt to death, in several parts of France but

more particularly at Paris, Malda, and Limosin.

A native of Malda was burnt by a slow fire, for saying that mass was a

plain denial of the death and passion of Christ. At Limosin, John de

Cadurco, a clergyman of the reformed religion, was apprehended,

degraded, and ordered to be burnt.

Francis Bribard, secretary to cardinal de Pellay, for speaking in favour

of the reformed, had his tongue cut out, and was then burnt, A. D. 1545.

James Cobard, a schoolmaster in the city of St. Michael, was burnt, A.

D. 1545, for saying "That mass was useless and absurd;" and about the

same time, fourteen men were burnt at Malda, their wives being compelled

to stand by and behold the execution.

A. D. 1546, Peter Chapot brought a number of bibles in the French tongue

to France, and publicly sold them there; for which he was brought to

trial, sentenced, and executed a few days afterward. Soon after, a

cripple of Meaux, a schoolmaster of Fera, named Stephen Polliot, and a

man named John English, were burnt for the faith.

Monsieur Blondel, a rich jeweller, was, A. D. 1548, apprehended at

Lyons, and sent to Paris; where he was burnt for the faith, by order of

the court, A. D. 1549. Herbert, a youth of nineteen years of age, was

committed to the flames at Dijon; as was Florent Venote, in the same


In the year 1554, two men of the reformed religion, with the son and

daughter of one of them, were apprehended and committed to the castle of

Niverne. On examination, they confessed their faith, and were ordered

for execution; being smeared with grease, brimstone, and gunpowder, they

cried, "Salt on, salt on this sinful and rotten flesh!" Their tongues

were then cut out, and they were afterward committed to the flames,

which soon consumed them, by means of the combustible matter with which

they were besmeared.

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