Last modified on 24 March 2012, at 09:00

William Farel

William Farel (1489, Gap, Hautes-Alpes – 13 September 1565), né Guilhem Farel, 1489 in Gap, Dauphiné, in south-eastern France, was a French evangelist, and a founder of the Reformed Church in the cantons of Neuchâtel, Berne, Geneva, and Vaud in Switzerland. He is most often remembered for having persuaded John Calvin to remain in Geneva in 1536, and for persuading him to return there in 1541, after their expulsion in 1538. They influenced the government of Geneva to the point that it became a theocratic state, the "Protestant Rome", where Protestants took refuge and non-Protestants were persecuted. Together with Calvin, Farel worked to train missionary preachers who spread the Protestant cause to other countries, and especially to France.

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  • [Servetus] is a wise man who doubtless thought he was teaching the truth, but he fell into the hands of the Devil. . . . Be careful the same thing does not happen to you!
    • On October 27, 1553, Michael Servetus was burned at the stake in Geneva, Switzerland. Guillaume Farel —the executioner and vicar of John Calvin— warned the onlookers with these words. Awake! magazine, May 2006; Michael Servetus—A Solitary Quest for the Truth.