"Girolamo Savonarola"



    The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 53, #3, 1986 - Erwin Weber


In memory of Luther's appearance at the Diet of Worms, April 17, 1521, when he refused to recant his writings on grounds of the Bible, an extensive monument was erected in that historic city located on the banks of the Rhine River. The monument consists of twelve statues of persons prominent in the Reformation and Humanistic movement of the 15th and 16th centuries. Rising like a tower, Luther stands in the center, holding the Bible and wearing a preacher's garb. Foreunners of the Reformation movement are seated at his feet. They include John Wycliff from England, John Hus from the now Czech Republic, Petrus Waldus from France and Girolamo Savonarola from Italy.

This article deals with stations in the life of Savonarola from his place of birth in Ferrara to his entry into the Dominican Order in Bologna, to his activities at San Marco convent and fiery death in Florence. In front of the 14th century Palazzo Vecchio (city hall), near the center of the cobble stone square is a plaque commemorating the site where Savonarola and his followers Maruffi and Buonvicini were hanged and burned on May 23, 1498 when Luther was a 15-year-old boy.

My photograph on the cover of Giralamo Savonarola was taken in Ferrara, Italy, the birthplace of the great Reformer. The statue is located in front of the Estes Castle. Savonarola is dressed in the habit of a Dominican monk. The Latin inscription reads, "Jerome Savonarola, a prosecutor of vices and tyrants in corrupt and servile times".