Martin Bucer (1491-1551)

The reformer of Strasbourg

He was born in Alsace, was a humanist and tried all his life long to safeguard the unity of the Church.

A humanist and appeaser

  • Martin Bucer (1491-1551) © S.H.P.F.

His father was a barrel-maker and his mother a midwife. Martin Bucer became a Dominican and studied theology for ten years.

He met Luther in 1518 and adopted his ideas. After leaving the Dominicans he married a former nun, and was excommunicated.

Then he went to Strasbourg where he set up Bible reading classes and presented the Reformation in 1529. He received Calvin who had been expelled from Geneva in 1538.

Throughout his life he was a humanist and tried to safeguard the unity of the Church. He attempted but failed in trying to reconcile Luther and Zwingli who disagreed over the Eucharist (Holy Communion). He received in Strasbourg the persecuted anabaptists. He also tried to bring the Catholics and the Protestants to agree on some points, but failed.

Exiled in England

He was expelled from Strasbourg by Charles V, and took refuge in Cambridge. He taught there until his death, and played a major part in establishing the anglican Reformation.

Author: Jacqueline de Rouville

Progress in the tour

Associated notes

Associated tours