Guillaume Farel

Farel, Guillaume (gēyōmˈ färĕlˈ) [key], 1489–1565, French religious reformer, associate of John Calvin. In 1520, Farel joined Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples at Meaux to aid in church reform and to establish an evangelical school for students and preachers. Soon his iconoclastic ideas made him suspect, and he left for Switzerland, where he did most of his work. His fearless and eloquent evangelism aroused both support and opposition. He received permission to spread the reform doctrine throughout the canton of Bern. The opposition of the bishop forced him to leave Geneva in 1532, but he returned in 1533 to lead a public disputation in favor of the Reformation. The people declared in favor of Farel and his colleagues, and in 1535 the town council formally proclaimed the adoption of the Reformation. Farel entreated Calvin to assist in the organization of the new Protestant republic. The two men drew up a statement of doctrine and immediately instituted widespread reform of church practices. These measures were too sudden and too strict to be generally accepted, and Calvin and Farel were forced to leave Geneva in 1538. Farel went to Basel and then to Neuchâtel, where he worked unceasingly for the return of Calvin to Geneva, which he achieved in 1541. Throughout his life he remained a confidant and consultant of Calvin.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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