Girolamo Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola

During the Renaissance, a friar of the Dominican order named Girolamo Savonarola made an impact on the city of Florence. Savonarola lived from 1452 AD to 1498 AD and preached against corruption of the state, the lax of morals in the church and clergy, and the spirit of the Renaissance. With his stunning preaching power he held many sophisticated listeners spellbound. So much so that he led the people of Florence in The Bonfire of the Vanities. It was here that countless citizens burned items they considered to be vanity. Painted portraits, elegant garments, basically anything that was luxurious was burned.

After a period of time Savonarola zeal started to wear off. Plus, some of his prophecies were not coming true. Straightaway members of the Franciscan order remembered that Savonarola once said that if he passed through flames that fire would not touch him. Thus, they told Savonarola that if he was truly a man of God pass through fire and then we will certainly know if your teachings are correct. Savonarola refused this trial by fire. With the passing of every day his popularity waned.

Now the Pope was fed up with Savonarola’s shenanigans. He threatened to put Florence under interdict if they would not hand over Savonarola to the papal authorities. At this point it made little to no sense at all to rebel against the church. However, instead of delivering Savonarola to the Pope, the city of Florence executed him under their authority.

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2 Responses to Girolamo Savonarola

  1. Nick says:

    The man was a self righteous fanatic. He encouraged people to spy on one another and report “misconduct” to the authorities. He enacted harsh “moral” laws and made sure they were enforced by creating a personal army of teenage thugs, who roamed Florence, trashing pubs, intimidating people, etc. That a statue of the man should have been erected at all is inexplicable. Whatever his initial promptings, he became a Hitler, a terrorist, an extremist, a power hungry individual who believed he had a “direct telephone line to God” and that he and he alone knew what was “best”. Thank God the people rose up against him. Were it not for laws that we have in place today in the west, other “Savonarolas” would try to do the same, impose a hardsh, strict standard of morality on one and all, even as they do in parts of the Muslim world.

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