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Huldreich (or Ulrich) Zwingli was the leader of the Swiss Reformation, and founder of the Swiss Reformed Churches. Independent from Martin Luther, Zwingli arrived at similar conclusions in his own personal study of the Scriptures. Zwingli is perhaps best known today for his teaching that the Lord’s Supper is purely symbolic, as opposed to the Transubstantiation view of Roman Catholicism or the Consubstantiation view adopted by Luther — there was great animosity between Martin Luther and he on this issue. Zwingli was born in Wildhaus, St. Gall, Switzerland to a prominent family of the middle classes. He was the third of eight sons. His father Ulrich was the chief magistrate in town, and his uncle Bartolomeus the vicar.
Zwingli’s beliefs were simple and straightforward: the Bible is truth; anything not in the Bible is not truth. It was the simplicity of this message that garnered him great public support from his people in Switzerland; and eventually outrage, and even war, from Roman officials.
Zwingli’s Reformation was supported by the magistrate and population of Zürich, and led to significant changes in civil life, and state matters in Zürich. In particular, this movement was known for mercilessly persecuting Anabaptists and other followers of Christ who maintained a nonresistant stance. The reformation was spread from Zürich to five other cantons of Switzerland, while the remaining five sternly held on to the Roman Catholic faith.
Zwingli was killed in 1531 at Kappel am Albis, while serving as a military chaplain in a battle against the Catholic cantons.