Along the Trails of History

From Lyon to Europe

The beginning of the last millennium was characterised by a search for spirituality, for a desire to find a deep, living faith in God.

While the schism of the Orthodox Church and the conquest of Jerusalem took place, many renewal religious movements with ideals of perfection and purity were born in Europe:

The Poor from Lyon or Waldensian settled throughtout Europe. We find their traces in Bohemia, in Germany, in southern and central Italy, and in the Comunes in Pianura Padana. With sober habits, they strictly followed Jesus' teaching about The Sermon on the Mount, and also refused to swear oaths.

The testimony of their lives is expressed in the didactic poem La Nobla Leiçon, written in the old Occitan language.

Excommunicated and condemned for heresy, they were hunted down and put to death. Their faith was the same as the Cathars'. The Inquisition became the main instrument for their control and repression, and the tortures to obtain confessions and the burning at the stake were frequent.

For decades Europe has lived in terror. Finally the Waldensians were uprooted from almost all countries using every possible means. Only small groups remained in the valleys of Piedmont, in the Dauphiné and in Calabria.

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