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Tag Archives: Martin Bucer

Basel and the Reformation.

The next highlight of the Reformation week conference was the visit to Basel. ( see Haus Barnabas report here; Constance report here and Zurich report here). The town of Basel was called Basilea or Basilia in Latin and this name is documented from 374 AD. Basel like most Swiss cities is calm and sedate. Beautifully located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel is Switzerland’s second-largest urban area. the River Rhine runs through Basel and provides such a romantic backdrop to maul up this city’s turbulent and engaging history.

My trip to Basel to trace places of historical importance to the Reformation period started by a cordial visit to a local Swiss Reformed church in Riehen (a municipal of Basel).

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The Reformed branch of Protestantism in Switzerland was started in Zürich by Huldrych Zwingli and spread within a few years to Basel (Johannes Oecolampadius), Bern (Berchtold Haller and Niklaus Manuel), St. Gall (Joachim Vadian), to cities in southern Germany and via Alsace (Martin Bucer) to France.

In the Swiss Reformed church in Riehen one can still see the long standing traditional architectural structure of the church set up. The pews and wall designs tell of the tensions as you look at the different designs of art of a time gone past. …Read More!

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Who Was Martin Bucer?

He may have been apparently forgotten as a theological light weight but to the keen eye Martin Bucer’s role in the reformation was and is invaluable. Bucer was an ecclesial diplomat pastor with deep coherent theological conviction.

Martin Bucer played a part in the Reformation and his impact was in the city of Strasburg. Martin Bucer is not as well known as Martin Luther and John Calvin but he did make an impact on Strasburg until he was forced to flee the city.

Bucer was born on November 11th 1491. He was influenced by the Humanistic teachings of Erasmus and he read and accepted the arguments of Martin Luther. He had been a Dominican monk but he left in 1521 and became the chaplain to Franz von Sickingen, a protestant knight, and in 1522 became pastor of Landstuhl in the Palatinate. Here he married Elizabeth Silbereisen – a former nun. In 1523, Bucer became a minister in Strasburg where he preached in the cathedral.

Strasburg had long suffered from poor priests in terms of quality and absentee bishops. The city was also a major centre of the book trade so it was very susceptible to the influence of the printed word. The writings of Martin Luther and Melancthon were widely circulated and as early as 1521, preachers had arrived in Strasburg to “preach the pure Gospel”. Read More