1484 – 1531
Ulrich Zwingli was educated at schools in Basel and Bern, Switzerland, and Vienna, Austria. He had a happy boyhood with no great sense of sin. He became a parish priest in the Roman Catholic Church with little moral earnestness. On becoming pastor of the “Great Minster Church” in Zurich, Zwingli saw himself in the role of an Old Testament prophet and began to preach against the unscriptural practices in the Catholic Church.
He made an open break with Rome in 1522 after studying the works of Martin Luther. The break was completed in 1525 when he replaced the Roman Mass with the first Reformed Communion service at his church. Later he removed images, relics and organs from the church and centered the service around the sermon.
Zwingli differed with Luther in his views on Communion, maintaining that the Lord’s Supper is only a memorial ordinance. The civil government supported Zwingli. The Reformation spread throughout Swiss centers because of his influence. Zwingli participated in armed warfare against the Catholic states around him and died in battle, sword in hand, defending the Bible over tradition.