God delights in those who honor him
Known in advance
God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.
The Reforming Monk
Girolamo Savonarola was born in 1452 in Ferrara, Italy. He was a sensitive and serious boy who was enamored with the study of religion. He started training as a physician, but his idealism caused him to drop out and join a Dominican order to fight the evils of the world.
Savonarola was deeply distressed by the corruption within the Catholic Church and what he saw as a lack of piety among its leaders. He spent his time praying, fasting, and teaching the novice monks. He became famous as a preacher. He preached about God’s pending judgment, the need for repentance, against the worldliness of the clergy, the evils of the ruling class, and the general corruption of secular living.
Savonarola used his power and popularity to bring about reform of church and state. He is considered an early reformer within the Catholic Church. Under his leadership Florence underwent a startling transformation: businessmen restored ill-gotten gains, there was much Bible ready, and the churches were crowded. At the same time, Savonarola made many enemies.
With the passage of time, community support for Savonarola’s strict views started to wane. On May 13, 1497, Alexander VI excommunicated Savonarola from the church on the grounds that he had disobeyed the pope’s commands. He was arrested in April 1498, tried for sedition and heresy and was brutally tortured. On May 23, 1498, he was publicly hanged and his body burned.
In the succeeding years the majority of citizens of Florence went back to their old ways, yet many permanently changed. One of those was a sculptor named Michelangelo.
Adapted from The One Year® Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (Tyndale, 2003), entry for May 13.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House