Savonarola, Girolamo

Savonarola, Girolamo
(1452–98)
   Preacher and Reformer.
   Savonarola was born in Ferrara, Italy. He joined the Dominican Order in 1475 and in 1490 he settled in Florence. He was a famous and inspiring preacher, calling for the reform of corruption and justice for the poor.
   After the invasion of King Charles VIII of France, who left without sacking the city, he encouraged the Florentine citizens to found a republic. This was to be a reformed community, intensely moral and upright. In consequence, Savonarola made many enemies and, after he had denounced the worldliness of the papal court, he was excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI and forbidden to preach. In response, Savonarola demanded a General Council to depose the Pope. He was challenged to an ordeal by fire by the Franciscans, but a rainstorm put out the fire before it could take place. Finally the people of Florence turned against him: they imprisoned and tortured him and finally had him publicly hanged. After his death a few continued to venerate him, but he was generally regarded as a tiresome, self-important fanatic.
   D. Weinstein, Savonarola and Florence (1970).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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