The martyrs of Italy
1562 – Giulio Guirlanda was the first person who was put to death for Christ in the City of Venice, Italy, though several had suffered martyrdom in the territories of that Republic. He sank into the deep waters, calling upon the Lord Jesus in the fortieth year of his age. The next to follow him in the steps of His Savior was Antonio Ricetto, who was a most honorable man of God. Great efforts were made by the senate to induce him to recant, they even used his little son to beg him to, but it was all in vain. He prayed for those who put him to death, and commended his soul to his Savior as he was drowned on Feb. 15, 1566. The next martyr was Francesco Spinula; he was drowned ten days after Ricetto. But the most distinguished of all the martyrs of Venice was Fra Baldo Lupetino. He was of a noble and ancient family, became a monk, and rose to a high rank in his Order. After proclaiming the gospel in and out of Italy, he was thrown into prison by the inquisitor of the pope’s legate where he wallowed for nearly twenty years. The Protestant German princes interceded with the senate for his life; but the pope and his inquisitor demanded death-which he met with firmness, and great peace. In their report in 1928, the Baptists of Italy spoke of their “glorious roll of martyrs.” We rejoice that Baptist missionaries are once again carrying the good news to Italy. Please pray for them. [J.M. Cramp, Baptist History (London: Elliot Stock, 1870), p. 121. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 572-73]. Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
He had forsaken the priesthood
Jan. 17, 1525, was the first time that George Blaurock is heard of, and that is in connection with a discussion of the Anabaptists concerning infant baptism. The very basis of soul liberty is at the very heart of this issue. This was clearly seen by the Anabaptists before and after the Reformation. Pilgram Marpeck said, “By infant baptism men coerce people to enter the Kingdom of God; and yet there should be no coercion there…” The repudiation of infant baptism in Jan. 1525, led to the banishment of Ludwig Hetzer, William Reublin, and others, and to the imprisonment of Conrad Grebel, Blaurock and Felix Manz. Blaurock had been a monk, but had renounced the religion of ritual for one of reality. Following the deaths of Grebel and Manz he had become a leader among the Swiss Anabaptists, until he was burned at the stake. He was martyred because “…he had forsaken the priesthood, he disregarded infant baptism, he rejected the mass; he rejected the confession of the priests, and the mother of Christ is not to be invoked or worshipped.” At the place of execution he earnestly spoke to the people, and pointed them to the scriptures. In his death he exemplified one of the hymns he had written: “Blessed are those in all tribulation who cling to Christ to the end.” He was known as the second Paul and the “Hercules of the Anabaptists.” Another Blaurock hymn: “As he himself our suffering bore; When hanging on the accursed tree; So there is suffering still in store; O pious heart, for you and me.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 35-36.