Peter Martyr: The Inquisitor as Saint

Peter Martyr: The Inquisitor as Saint

Caldwell, Christine

Comitatus Vol.31 (2000)


When Stefano Vermigli, a Florentine shoemaker, was distraught over the deaths of several of his children, he adopted a not uncommon strategy to safeguard any future offspring from danger: he vowed to a saint that were a child to live, he would dedicate it to him. The happy result of this vow was a healthy boy, born in 1500, who was duly named after the accommodating saint. However, we have reason to believe that the
boy’s future activities would not have pleased his saintly patron, who may well have wished that he had never hearkened to Stefano’s pious request. For Peter Martyr Vermigli would later embrace Protestantism,
which the saint, the Dominican Peter of Verona or Peter Martyr, would undoubtedly have viewed as a heresy no different from those that he had sought to exterminate throughout his career as preacher and inquisitor.

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