Pierre Viret Timeline 1511-1571
- Pierre Viret born in Orbe, Switzerland, in the canton of Vaud.
- Guillaume Farel commences his studies at Paris.1
- Viret enters Paris and commences studies for the priesthood at Montaigu College.
- Viret is converted to the Protestant Faith.2
- Bern officially adopts the Reformation.3
- Guillaume Farel commences preaching in Orbe, but is violently driven out of the city by the Catholic opposition.4
- Having renounced Roman Catholicism, Viret flees Paris and returns to Orbe.
- Guillaume Farel persuades Viret to begin preaching.
- May 6, Viret, twenty years old, becomes pastor and preaches his first sermon at hometown Orbe.5
- Viret administers his first Christian baptism in Orbe.
- October, Death of Zwingli.
- Viret officiates at his first Christian wedding in Orbe.
- Viret journeys to Grandson to carry the Reformation to that village.
- June 4, Viret travels to Payerne to preach. He is forbidden access to the churches, and preaches instead in the taverns.
- Passover, March 31, Viret offers communion to seventy-seven believers, including both Viret’s parents.6
- While returning home one evening Viret is stabbed by a Catholic priest in Payerne. 7
- January, Viret accepts a pastoral call to Neuchatel.
- January 4, Viret, by order of the Council of Bern, joins Farel in Geneva. 8
- January 29, Dispute of Geneva in which Guy Furbity opposed Farel and Viret.9
- February 22, Viret preaches and performs a Christian baptism in the house of Monsieur de Baudichon. His sermons were so well attended that there was not room enough in the hall to receive the people.10
- March 1, Bernese authorities give Farel and Viret the Church at Rive in which to preach the Reformation. 11
- March, Viret returns to his pastorate in Neuchatel, but is soon recalled to Geneva to aid Farel. 12
- October 17-18, The Affair in Paris.13
- March 6, Viret poisoned by Antonia Vax at Geneva while working with Farel and Antoine Froment. Viret would be unable to resume an active role in the ministry until August.
- May 30, Commencement of the Geneva Disputation.14
- June 4, Publication of the first French Bible of the Reformation, translated by Pierre Robert, called Olivetan. 15
- July 14, Execution of Antonia Vax. 16
- August 10, Mass abolished in Geneva. 17
- September 10, Viret journeys to Bern, and from thence to Basel on November 15, where he met John Calvin. 18
- December 29, Bern renounces its alliance with the Duke of Savoy.19
- January 16, Bern declares war on the Duke of Savoy.20
- February, Viret returns to his pastoral ministry at Neuchatel.
- Viret preaches in Yverdon.21
- Bernese army takes control of the canton of Vaud.
- Late February, Viret becomes minister in Lausanne. 22
- March 6, City Council of Lausanne grants full liberty of conscience to those desiring to attend Viret’s preaching. 23
- April 6, The Church of the Madeleine is provided to the Reformers for preaching in Lausanne.24
- May 21, General Council of Geneva accepts the Reformation. 25
- June 7-8, Viret resides over the synod of Reformed pastors in Yverdon.
- June 13, Viret travels to Geneva to assist as peacemaker. The beginning of July he requests permission to return to Lausanne, but the Genevan Council refuse, stating that Viret is needed "much more here than there." 26
- July, Viret witnesses Farel’s threatening call to Calvin to remain in Geneva. 27
- October 1-10, Viret and Farel defend the Reformed Faith in the Lausanne Disputation; Calvin also attended, though taking only a minor role. 28
- Mid-October, At the close of the Lausanne Disputation two Catholic delegates persuade Viret to return to Cully with them to bring the good tidings of the Reformation to that village. 29
- October 19, The Protestant Faith is recognized as the official religion of Lausanne. 30
- November 5, Pierre Caroli and Pierre Viret are named pastors of the Reformed Church of Lausanne.31
- December 6, Bernese authorities command all subjects within their territory to attend Protestant preaching. 32
- Early January, Viret founds the Reformed Academy in Lausanne at the Cathedral.
- January 16, Calvin and Farel present Articles Concerning the Organization of the Church and of Worship at Geneva to Genevan Council.
- May 13, In a synod called for the occasion, Viret, Farel, and Calvin defend themselves against the charge of Arianism raised by Pierre Caroli, a double-dealing Roman Catholic.
- May 31-June 5, Caroli is called before the Lords of Berne and peremptorily banished. 33
- April 23, Calvin, Farel, and Corault are banished from Geneva. 34
- May, Viret and Ritter travel to Geneva as mediators between the banished pastors and the Council, but are barred access to the city. 35
- Sunday, October 6, Viret and Elisabeth Turtaz, a lady of Orbe, are married by Guillaume Farel. 36
- April 6 (Passover), Viret enters Geneva and preaches, making great strides toward reconciliation between the Genevese and the exiled pastors. 37
- July 17, Pierre Viret and André Zébédée journey to Bern to plead the cause of the persecuted Vaudois of Provence. 38
- October 30, The Lords of Berne open a scholarship house to augment the number of students able to attend Viret’s Lausanne Academy. 39
- December 31, Viret called from Lausanne to preach in Geneva. 40
- January 10, Viret arrives in Geneva.41
- February 28, Viret urges Council to write to call exiled Calvin back to Geneva. 42
- May 1, General Council of Geneva recalls Calvin. 43
- September 13, Viret assists Calvin on his return to Geneva.
- September 29, Viret is chosen to travel to Neuchatel to act as mediator between Farel and the Council in their conflict. 44
- October 15, Viret returns to Geneva. 45
- December, Calvin begs the Lords of Bern to allow Viret to stay another six months in Geneva before returning to Lausanne. The Bernese accede to Calvin’s request. 46
- July 8, An ambassador from Lausanne arrives in Geneva to reclaim Viret, who had been on loan to the Genevese for eighteen months. 47
- July 15, Viret resumes his pastorate at Lausanne.48
- Fall, Plague breaks out in Lausanne.49
- Spring, Farel is accused of heresy by the Roman Catholic Pierre Caroli. Calvin and Viret jointly publish a work in Farel’s defense.50
- June 16, Viret journeys to Geneva to ask the Genevan Council to allow Calvin to travel to Strasbourg to aid Farel in his defense against Caroli. Geneva accedes to the request, and Viret accompanies Calvin as far as Bern.51
- October 30, Viret attends the Synod of Neuchatel.52
- March 24, Viret’s book Christian Disputations in the Form of Dialogues comes to print, with an introduction by Calvin.53
- Viret and family receive new lodgings in Lausanne. They are moved from the Convent of St. Francis to a house.54
- April 29, Calvin sends to Bern asking for permission to borrow Viret for six months to aid him in Geneva. Bern grants the request, but Lausanne refuses to loan Viret out because of the "perils and dangers Viret’s absence would cause" in their Church.55
- August, Viret is moved from the Covent of St. Francis to the house of one of the old Cathedral canons.56
- September, The plague breaks out in Geneva.
- February 3, Viret writes to Calvin of his overwhelming workload in Lausanne, "I’m preaching every day."57 He was also lecturing at the Academy.
- Spring, Calvin travels to German Switzerland to raise support for the persecuted Vaudois. Viret fills Calvin’s place in Geneva during the Reformer’s absence.58
- Summer, Viret and Farel travel to Bern, Basel, and Strasbourg to again plead the cause of the persecuted Vaudois of Piemont.59
- July 28, Concerned at his wife’s failing health, Viret writes to Calvin that he longs to run over to Geneva to consult their mutual friend, Doctor Benoit Textor.60
- November 26, Viret, writing to a friend, expresses his fear that Elisabeth’s illness will be fatal.61
- January 29, Viret is hastily summoned to Neuchatel, where his presence was direly needed to smooth over certain ministerial problems.62
- March, Viret is requested to travel to Thonon on a mission for the citizens of Neuchatel, but his wife Elisabeth’s health kept him in Lausanne.63 Shortly thereafter his wife died (March 8).64
- March 20, After much strong pleading from Calvin, Viret journeys to Geneva to spend a few days with his dear friend after Elisabeth’s death.65
- Viret is called to Geneva to mediate in two separate conflicts involving Calvin and certain dissenters.66
- November, After matchmaker Calvin arranges the match, Viret marries Sebastienne de la Harpe. Calvin assists at the wedding.67
- January, Viret, whose pastoral duties required more and more of his time, was unable to retain his position at the Lausanne Academy. Bern named Andre Zébédée as Viret’s successor, though Viret continued to teach at the Academy until 1558.68
- March 31, Death of Francis I, king of France. His son Henri II is crowned king. Under Henri’s reign Huguenot persecution dramatically increased.69
- May 4, Viret, Farel, Valier, and Ribit present themselves before the Counsel of Bern to defend their interpretation of the Lord’s Supper.70
- Calvin’s wife, Idelette, visits Viret’s wife at Lausanne to assist in the birth of Viret’s child.71
- July, Viret publishes his tome, De la vertu et usage du ministere de la parolle de Dieu et des Sacremens dependans d’icelle, a volume of over 750 pages, in which Viret delineates the state of the Church, touching, among other things, upon moral corruption, profanation of the Lord’s Supper, and lack of discipline.72
- November, Viret is delegated by the Classe de Lausanne to carry a letter to Bern asking for a general synod to discuss the reformation of worship and morals.73
- March 31, Viret writes to Calvin expressing his sorrow at Calvin’s bereavement.74
- May 20-25, The pastors of the Pays de Vaud hold their general synod at Bern, in which Viret defends his interpretation of the Lord’s Supper against the troublemaker Andre Zébédée.75
- September 2, Bern forbids the Reformed pastors of the Pays de Vaud to hold any further colloquies.76
- October 31, Headed by Viret, the pastors of Lausanne send a delegation to Bern to voice their protests of the September ban of colloquies.77
- November 6, Theodore de Beze appointed by Viret second professor of theology at Lausanne Academy.78
- November 9, After Viret appeared before the Bernese magistrates a second time concerning the issue of colloquies, the magistrates reiterate their conclusion of September and warn Viret not to press the matter further.79
- Viret attends the Geneva Colloquy with Calvin and Farel.80
- Martha Viret is born. Calvin is named godfather of the child.81
- June, Theodore de Beze and Raymond Merlin travel to Bern to discuss the weekly colloquies and church discipline. They receive a cold reception from the Lords of Bern and are granted nothing.82
- November 8, Viret and Jacques Valier present the Council of Sixty (of Lausanne) with the necessity of addressing the decadent state of the Church. The Council agrees, and Viret and Valier compose a report detailing the current morals of the Church.
- December 4, Viret and Valier present their report to the Council of Lausanne, asking for reform, but receive nothing.83
- April, The plague breaks out in Lausanne.
- May 24, Viret and Valier appear before the Council of Two Hundred (of Lausanne) to ask for reform and aid, but receive no satisfaction.84
- Late May, Having exhausted every means of reform in Lausanne, Viret journeys to Bern to ask for aid in reforming the morals of the Church. The Bernese magistrates promise to send a deputation to Lausanne to look into the matter.85
- September, Bern orders the Vaudois churches to replace Calvin’s catechism with that of Nicolas Zurkinden.86
- October, The Bern deputation promised in May finally arrives in Lausanne.87
- October 21, Prompted by the Bern deputation, the Council of Two Hundred appoint François Vitalis as deacon to aid Viret in ministering to the plague victims.88
- February 23, The Bernese magistrates inform the Lausanne pastors of their impatience at the pastors’ tardiness in replacing their catechism with Zurkinden’s. They again order obedience, under pain of dismissal and banishment.89
- September, Viret travels to Geneva to defend Calvin against the false charge making God the author of evil.90
- November, Viret journeys to Bern to plead the ministers’ case against the change of catechism. Bern listens politely but refuses to alter its decision.91
- March, The Reformation is established in Oulens. Viret asks Bern to allow a send a pastor to the town; Bern acquiesces, and grants Viret the honor of naming the man.92
- March 26, Raymon Merlin is appointed as Reformed preacher at Oulens.
- March 28, Viret visits the newly-established Reformed Church in Oulens.93
- May 16, Five Frenchman, educated at Viret’s Lausanne Academy, return home to preach the Gospel, are arrested at Lyons, and burned.94
- Viret publishes his work Du devoir et du besoin qu’ont les hommes à s’enquérir de la volonté de Dieu par sa Parolle et de l’attente et finale résolution du vrai concile.95
- August, Bern sends pastor Jean Haller, treasurer Hans Steiger, and Jérôme Manuel to the Pays de Vaud to insure the obedience of their orders regarding Zurkinden’s catechism.96
- November 27, Viret travels to his hometown Orbe to meet with and encourage the faithful. Though the town is Catholic, the majority had been won to the Reformation, and Viret seeks to persuade the Council to put the religious issue to a vote.97
- April 9, After months of delays, deputies from Bern and Fribourg meet to discuss the religious issue of Orbe. It is decided to put the matter to a public vote.98
- July 29, Delegates from Fribourg and Bern arrive in Orbe to oversee the public vote. Viret is unable to attend due to a high fever.99
- July 30, Mass abolished in Orbe, Viret’s hometown.100
- Bern forbids throughout its territories the printing of any books dealing with predestination.101
- March 13, Bern commands Lausanne to cease all disputes and discussions concerning predestination.102
- May, Viret and Theodore de Beze journey to Bern to plead before the Senate Calvin’s cause in the dispute on predestination.103
- December 30, Bern writes to Viret, asking him to travel and preach throughout their towns newly won to the Reformation.104
- Pierre, Viret’s only son by his second marriage, dies at age 2.105
- Viret preaches at Chateau-d’Œx.106
- Viret travels to Bern to discuss with the magistrates the necessity of Church discipline before administering communion.107
- August 15, The Bernese magistrates, annoyed at the conduct of the Pays de Vaud ministers and professors, order a dozen of the men to appear before them in Bern.108
- Theodore de Beze accepts a call to Geneva.109
- Messieurs de Berne demand submission or exile of Viret and other pastors of Lausanne.110
- January 25, Viret expelled from Lausanne by Bernese authorities. Viret and Academy relocate to Geneva, where the Lausanne Academy becomes Calvin’s seminary.111
- March 2, Viret appointed preacher at Saint-Germain in Geneva. 112
- Viret publishes his book, Familiére et ample instruction en la doctrine chrestienne et principalement touchant la divine Providence et prédestination, faicte en forme de dialogue. 113
- June 5, Calvin’s Academy formally inaugurated. 114
- December 25, Viret and Calvin become bourgeois of Geneva.
- April, Viret falls ill, and draws up his last will and testament, preparatory to his death.
- September 11, Concerned at Viret’s failing health, Dr. Benoit Textor advises Viret to seek a warmer climate in southern France in which to pass the winter. After receiving a leave of absence from the Genevan Council, Viret journeys first to Lyons, then to Nimes on October 6.115
- January 4, Viret administers communion to over eight thousand believers of Nimes. 116
- February 2-12, Viret presides over a provincial synod in Nimes.11
- February 15, Viret departs from Nimes to visit Montpellier.
- February 18, Viret preaches in the Lodge Church at Montpellier.118
- Viret remains in Montpellier for his health, then accepts a call to Lyons on May 25. 119
- March 1, Massacre of Huguenots at Vassy by Duc de Guise.
- Marie, Viret’s youngest child, dies at age 2. 120
- First French civil war.
- March 15, Viret returns to Geneva to take his final leave of the city.122
- March 19, A Royal edict forbids all foreign-born Reformers from ministering in France. Viret is excepted by request of the Catholics themselves. 123
- June 19, The Mass is celebrated in Lyons by Catholic troops.124
- July, Royal authority re-established in Lyons, legalizing Roman Catholicism. 125
- August 10, Viret presides as moderator over the 4th national Synod of the Huguenots at Lyons. 126
- May 27, Death of Calvin.
- The plague breaks out in Lyon.
- Viret completes his greatest work, his three-volume Christian Instruction in the Doctrine of the Law and the Gospel.
- August 27, Viret ordered by Royal decree to leave France. Flees from Lyon to the protection of William of Nassau in Orange.127
- September 13, Guillaume Farel dies at Neuchatel.
- October 4, The Class of Neuchatel begs Viret to accept Farel’s vacant position, but Viret declines.128
- Viret is forced to flee Orange. He journeys to Bearn, where Jeanne d’Albret appoints him superintendent of the Church.
- Second French civil war.
- Third civil war. In 1569 Viret and 11 other ministers are captured by Catholic forces during the war.129 Viret’s life is spared. 130
- Viret dies near Orthez, and is buried at Nerac.131
Back to top of page