Vaudois Sentence Examples
The Waldenses, under their more modern name of the Vaudois, have survived to the present day in the valleys of Piedmont, and have been regarded as at once the most ancient and the most evangelical of the medieval sects.
War broke out between the Protestant states of Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Brandenburg, with whom religion was entirely subordinated to individual aims and interests, and who were far from rising to Cromwell's great conceptions; while the Vaudois were soon subjected to fresh persecutions.
There, in the recesses of Piedmont, where the streams of the Pelice, the Angrogne, the Clusone and others cleave the sides of the Alps into valleys which converge at Susa, a settlement of the Waldensians was made who gave their name to these valleys of the Vaudois.
At times attempts were made to suppress the sect of the Vaudois, but the nature of the country which they inhabited, their obscurity and their isolation made the difficulties of their suppression greater than the advantages to be gained from it.
Attacked in Dauphine and Piedmont at the same time, the Vaudois were hard pressed; but luckily their enemies were encircled by a fog when marching upon their chief refuge in the valley of the Angrogne, and were repulsed with great loss.Advertisement
After this Charles II., duke of Piedmont, interfered to save his territories from further confusion, and promised the Vaudois peace.
The last step in the development of the Waldensian body was taken in 1530, when two deputies of the Vaudois in Dauphine and Provence, Georges Morel and Pierre Masson, were sent to confer with the German and Swiss Reformers.
The result of this intercourse was an alliance between the Vaudois and the Swiss and German Reformers.
A synod was held in 1532 at Chanforans in the valley of the Angrogne, where a new confession of faith was adopted, which recognized the doctrine of election, assimilated the practices of the Vaudois to those of the Swiss congregations, renounced for the future all recognition of the Roman communion, and established their own worship no longer as secret meetings of a faithful few but as public assemblies for the glory of God.
Thus the Vaudois ceased to be relics of the past, and became absorbed in the general movement of Protestantism.Advertisement
In France and Italy alike they were marked out as special objects of persecution, and the Vaudois church has many records of martyrdom.
The most severe trial to which the Vaudois of Piedmont were subjected occurred in 1655.
The Congregation de Propaganda Fide established, in 1650, a local council in Turin, which exercised a powerful influence on Duke Charles Emmanuel II., who ordered that the Vaudois should be reduced within the limits of their ancient territory.
Sir Samuel Morland was sent on a special mission to Turin, and to him were confided by the Vaudois leaders copies of their religious books, which he brought back to England, and ultimately gave to the university library at Cambridge.
Large sums of money were contributed in England and elsewhere, and were sent to the suffering Vaudois.Advertisement
This was found so difficult that the remnant of the Vaudois, to the number of 2600, were at last allowed to withdraw to Geneva.
They were recognized once more as citizens of Savoy, and in the war against France which broke out in 1696 the Vaudois regiment did good service for its duke.
The peace of Utrecht saw the greater part of the French territory occupied by the Vaudois annexed to Savoy, and., though there were frequent threatenings of persecution, the idea of toleration slowly prevailed in the policy of the house of Savoy.
The Vaudois, who had undergone all these vicissitudes, were naturally reduced to poverty, and their ministers were partially maintained by a subsidy from England, which was granted by Queen Anne.
The 18th century, however, was a time of religious decadence even among the Alpine valleys, and the outbreak of the French Revolution saw the Vaudois made subjects of France.Advertisement
On the restoration of the house of Savoy in 1816 English influence was used on behalf of the Vaudois, who received a limited toleration.
From that time onwards the Vaudois became the objects of much interest in Protestant countries.
Especially from England did they receive sympathy and help. An English clergyman, Dr Gilly, visited the valleys in 1823, and by his writings on the Vaudois church attracted considerable attention, so that he was enabled to build a college at La Torre.
During this period he established no fewer than 120 schools; moreover he brought back the Italian language which had been displaced by the French in the services of the Vaudois church, and in 1849 built a church for them in Turin.
Of modern books may be mentioned Schmidt, Histoire des Cathares; Hahn, Geschichte der neumanichaischen Ketzer; Dieckhoff, Die Waldenser im Mittelalter; Preger, Beitrage zur Geschichte der Waldensier; Cantu, Gli Eretici in Italia; Comba, Storia della Riforma in Italia, and Histoire des Vaudois d'Italie; Tocco, L'Eresia nel medio evo; Montet, Histoire litteraire des Vaudois; Lea, History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages.Advertisement
Hence came the revocation in 1540 of the edict of tolerance of Coucy (1535), and the massacre of the Vaudois (1545).
The incident of the massacre of the Protestant Vaudois at this time decided Cromwell's policy in favour of France.
By this demonstration of opinion peace was made for a time between the Vaudois and their persecutors; but it was a treacherous peace, and left the Vaudois with a hostile garrison established among them.