Girolamo Savonarola

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Whoever excommunicates me, excommunicates God.

Girolamo Savonarola (September 21, 1452May 23, 1498) was an Italian Dominican priest and leader of Florence from 1494 until his execution in 1498.

Quotes[edit]

The world has come to such a state that one can on longer find anyone who does good…
Do you wish to be free? Then above all things, love God, love your neighbor, love one another, love the common weal; then you will have true liberty.
  • The reason why I entered into a religious order is this: first, the great misery of the world, the wickedness of men, the rapes, the adulteries, the thefts, the pride, the idolatry, the vile curses, for the world has come to such a state that one can no longer find anyone who does good; so much so that many times every day I would sing this verse with tears in my eyes: Alas, flee from cruel lands, flee from the shores of the greedy. I did this because I could not stand the great wickedness of the blind people of Italy, especially when I saw that virtue had been completely cast down and vice raised up.
  • Ecce gladius Domini super terram, cito et velociter.
    • Behold the sword of the Lord will descend suddenly and quickly upon the earth.
      • Motto he beheld in a vision (December 1492), as quoted in History of the Christian Church, Vol. V (1910) by Philip Schaff, and David Schley Schaff p. 688
    • Behold the sword of the Lord, swift and sure, over the earth.
      • As quoted in Books: The Sword of God" in TIME (17 August 1959)
  • The Pope may err, and that in two ways, either because he is erroneously informed, or from malice. As to the latter cause we leave that to the judgment of God, and believe rather that he has been misinformed. In our own case I can prove that he has been falsely persuaded. Therefore any one who obstinately upholds the excommunication and affirms that I ought not to preach these doctrines is fighting against the kingdom of Christ, and supporting the kingdom of Satan, and is himself a heretic, and deserves to be excluded from the Christian community.
  • God is the best helper, but He loves to be helped. Be earnest in prayer, but do not neglect human means. You must help yourself in all manner of ways, and then the Lord will be with you.
    • Reported in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 124
  • Do you wish to be free? Then above all things, love God, love your neighbor, love one another, love the common weal; then you will have true liberty.
    • Reported in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 378
  • Elegance of language must give way before simplicity in preaching sound doctrine.
    • Reported in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edited by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, p. 481
  • Io vi conforto di convertirvi a Dio, vivere come è obbligato ogni buon cristiano, dolervi del passato e ridurvi alla pietà. Altrimenti, io vi annunzio che è sopra di voi imminente un gran flagello, e sarete flagellato nella roba, nella persona e nella casa vostra.
    Vi annunzio ancora, che della vostra vita ce n' è per poco; che, se non farete quel che vi dico, anderete nell'inferno; e questa lettera vi sarà presentata innanzi al tribunale di Dio, nè vi potrete scusare.
  • E fu in quel tempo che io montai quassù, e dissi che io non era mandato a predicarti da uomo del mondo, né da signore alcuno, ma da colui che è signore dei signori e dalla santa Trinità.
    • I was not commissioned to preach by any man in this world, nor by any lord, but by Him who is the Lord of lords and by the Holy Trinity.
    • Sermon of 18 February 1498, as quoted in Material for a History of Pope Alexander VI, His Relatives and His Time, 5 vols., (1924) by Monsignor Peter de Roo, Bruges, Desclée, De Brouwer, volume 3, p. 265. [1] Basic searches to find frequency and page number of specific words and phrases for all five volumes at HathiTrust.
    • Scelta di Prediche e Scritti di Fra Girolamo Savonarola, con Nuovi Documenti Intorno alla Sua Vita (Selection of Sermons and Writings of Fra Girolamo Savonarola, with New Documents concerning his Life), 1898, Pasquale Villari, E. Casanova, Firenze (Florence), G. E. Sansoni, edition, p. 288. [2]
    • Jérôme Savonarole: d'après les Documents Originaux (Girolamo Savonarola: According to the Original Documents), 1856, François Tommy Perrens, Paris, appendice, p. 352.[3]
  • Ee quello che volesse fare Parlamento sarà de' Signori, gli sia tagliato il capo; se è altri, sia ribelle e confiscatigli tutti i beni … che quando i Signori vogliono fare Parlamento … e ognuno li possa tagliare a pezzi senza pena.
    • If he that would summon a Parliament be of the Signoria, let his head be cut off; if he be not of it, let him be proclaimed a rebel and all his goods confiscated; … should the Signoria seek to call a Parliament … all may cut them to pieces without sin."
    • Sermon of July 28, 1495, which historian Ludwig Pastor calls Savonarola's "sermon against the tumultuous assemblies, misnamed parliaments, which the Medici encouraged to serve their own ends", as quoted in History of the Popes (1898) by Ludwig Pastor, vol. 5, p. 209. [4]

Quotes about Savonarola[edit]

The best, and the worst, that can be said of the tempestuous friar is that he loved God so passionately that he had very little love left for man.
Dizzy flights of fancy abounded in Savonarola's discourses and took the place of calm and logical exposition.
  • The best, and the worst, that can be said of the tempestuous friar is that he loved God so passionately that he had very little love left for man.
  • Dizzy flights of fancy abounded in Savonarola's discourses and took the place of calm and logical exposition. On the evening before he preached his last sermon in Advent, 1492, Savonarola beheld in the middle of the sky a hand holding a sword with the inscription, Behold the sword of the Lord will descend suddenly and quickly upon the earthEcce gladius Domini super terram cito et velociter. Suddenly the sword was turned toward the earth, the sky was darkened, swords, arrows and flames rained down. The heavens quaked with thunder and the world became a prey to famine and death. The vision was ended by a command to the preacher to make these things known. Again and again, in after years did he refer to this prophetic vision. Its memory was also preserved by a medal, representing on one side Savonarola and on the other a sword in the heavens held by a hand and pointing to a city beneath.
    The inscription on the heavenly sword well represents the style of Savonarola's preaching. It was impulsive, pictorial, eruptive, startling, not judicial and instructive. And yet it made a profound impression on men of different classes.
    • Philip Schaff, and David Schley Schaff, in History of the Christian Church, Vol. V (1910), p. 688
  • The preacher himself was burning with religious passion. He felt deeply and he was a man of deep devotion. He had the eye of the mystic and saw beneath the external and ritual to the inner movements of spiritual power.
    The biblical element was also a conspicuous feature of his preaching. Defective as Savonarola's exegesis was, the biblical element was everywhere in control of his thought and descriptions. … He insisted upon the authority of Scripture. "I preach the regeneration of the Church," he said, "taking the Scriptures as my sole guide."
    • Philip Schaff, and David Schley Schaff, in History of the Christian Church, Vol. V (1910), p. 689
  • Savonarola was not merely the expounder of righteousness. He claimed to be a prophet revealing things which, to use his own words, "are beyond the scope of the knowledge which is natural to any creature." This element would have been a sign of weakness, if it had not been associated with a great personality, bent on noble ends. The severity of his warnings was often so fearful that the preacher himself shrank back from delivering them. On one occasion, he spent the entire night in vigils and prayer that he might be released from the duty of making known a message, but in vain. The sermon, he then went forth to preach, he called a terrific sermon.
    • Philip Schaff, and David Schley Schaff, in History of the Christian Church, Vol. V (1910), p. 689

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