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The Martyrdom of a People or The Vaudois of Piedmont and their History by Henry Fliedner (2010 Illustrated Paperback Book)


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The Martyrdom of a People: or The Vaudois of Piedmont and their History

by Henry Fliedner (Author)

Translated from the German by Constance Cheyne Brady.

Preface from the 1914 Edition by J. Forbes Moncrieff.

About the Author:

Henry Fliedner is also known as Henri Fliedner and Heinrich Fliedner.

Book Description: (back cover info)

"The Light Shines in Darkness."

A Christian History and Martyrology

Henry Fliedner's work offers a concise history of those known as the Vaudois or Waldensians—Christians of the pre-Reformation era. Fliedner traces their Bible only (Sola Scriptura) faith, and the horrific persecutions they endured, from ancient times to the early 1900's.

"They often travelled on horseback in different countries as hawkers, and, thanks to their bales of goods, obtained access to the rich and poor. ... While the merchant was doing business, he would observe the character of his customers, and when, at the end, they asked if he had anything else to sell, he would reply, 'Certainly, I have treasures much more precious than those which you have seen. ... a jewel which shines with such brightness, that it enables one to see, and to come to the knowledge of God.' ... The merchant then drew out of his pocket, or from a secret drawer of his travelling chest, a Gospel, and commenced to read." ... In this way the Vaudois found a means of spreading the Word of God more and more. ... What wonderful results might this seed-time have produced, if the storm of persecution had not broken out, reducing almost to naught the people of God."

Henry Fliedner

The Martyrdom of a People or The Vaudois of Piedmont and their History by Henry Fliedner (2010 Illustrated Paperback Book) Paperback Edition Details:

2010 Illustrated Edition from the 1914 Edition

Publisher:  Hail & Fire

Page Count:  144 pages

Illustrated:  34 illustrations and photographs

Book Binding:  Paperback (US Trade Paperback)

Product Size:  5" x 8" x .3" inches

Interior Color:  Black and White

Language(s):  English

ISBN-10:  098280430X

ISBN-13/EAN13:  9780982804308 (978-0-9828043-0-8)

Book Category:  Religion / Christian Theology / History

Table of Contents:

1914 Preface - page xv.

Introduction - page xvii.

I. Origin of the Vaudois - page 1.

II. Peter Valdus and the “Poor Men of Lyons” - page 13.

III. The First Persecutions - page 23.

IV. The Vaudois on the Borders of the Rhine - page 37.

V. Reformation Times - page 49.

VI. The Year 1655 - page 65.

VII. Henri Arnaud and the Glorious Return - page 79.

VIII. The Vaudois of Our Times - page 101.

Table of Illustrations:

Monte Viso and the Lake of Florenzo.

Typical Vaudois Apparel.

Commencement of “La Noble Leçon”.

A Page from the Cambridge Manuscript.

Petrus Valdus.

The Vaudois Merchant, reading Scripture aloud.

Peasants of the Val Pragelas.

The “New Church,” Strasburg.

Title Page of “German Theology”.

The Valley of Angrogna.

John Calvin.

William Farel.


Vaudois taking Refuge in a Cave.

General View of Torre Pellice.

The Pillage of Torre Pellice.

Vaudois thrown over a Precipice.

Jean Léger.

Title Page of Jean Leger’s Book.

Josue Janavel.

Henri Arnaud.

Embarkation of the Vaudois at Prangins.

The Battle on the Bridge of Salabertrand.

The Monument of Sibaaud.

Valley of the Germanasca.

The Balsiglia.


Interior of the Ancient Vaudois Temple of Schöneberg, with Arnaud’s Tomb.

Count Waldburg-Truchsess.

General Beckwith.

Perosa and Pomaretto.

Seal of the Vaudois Church.

Vaudois Church at Rome.

Vaudois Church at Turin.

The Temple and Maison des Vaudois at Torre Pellice.

The Temple at Bobbio.

Quotations and Excerpts: (from this book)

quotation mark'If we desire to love Christ and learn His doctrine We must watch and search the Scriptures. If we read them, we shall find That Christ was persecuted because He did good. There are still many in our times, Who wish to teach the way of Christ, But they are persecuted and can do but little. False Christians are so blinded by error, And particularly the teachers themselves, That they ill-use and kill those who are better than themselves. On the contrary they let the evil live in peace. By this we may know that they are not good shepherds, They love the sheep only for their wool. If anyone loves God, and fears Jesus Christ, And does not bear false witness, nor swear nor lie, And does not commit adultery, nor kill, nor does violence, Nor revenge himself on his enemies, They say, ‘He is a Vaudois; he merits death!’quotation mark

~ Chapter III

Quote from the Waldenses or Vaudois' La Noble Leçon—translated from surviving manuscripts at the Cambridge University library; placed there during the time of Oliver Cromwell.


quotation markThe Bishop of Strasburg did not dare to use violent measures towards them, but first tried by religious discussion to bring them back; however, the Vaudois, knowing their Bible thoroughly, were always able to confound their opponents. Then the prelate had an edict published, that in future all heresy would be suppressed by extreme severity, and those who refused to obey would be sentenced to the stake.quotation mark

~ Chapter IV

Quote on the Persecution of the Waldenses/Vaudois—Protestant Christians—by the Catholic Church.


quotation markThe prisoners endured inhuman cruelties. At Angrogna they bound a man of sixty years old to a table, cut open his abdomen, and fixed in the wound a receptacle full of insects, which penetrated into his body, and tortured him to death with fearful sufferings. To escape the brutal violence of the soldiers the young girls threw themselves over precipices, and all who could fly went to almost inaccessible mountains and caves.quotation mark

~ Chapter V

Quote on the Persecution of the Waldenses/Vaudois—Protestant Christians—by the Catholic Church.

quotation mark'The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit.' These words of Jesus came into my mind as I was searching ancient books for the origin of the Vaudois. For no one will ever know exactly where they came from.

The generally accepted tradition that Peter Valdus, the pious merchant of Lyons, was the founder of the Vaudois Church is doubted by many scholars. Their name seems to be derived from the Latin, Vallis or Valley, so that Vaudois would signify people, or inhabitants of the valley. There are other indications which allow of the supposition that, long before the time of Peter Valdus, there were in this part of the Alps, and in many districts in the north of Italy, associations which opposed the superstitions and the abuses of the dominant church, and remained true to the pure faith founded on the Bible.quotation mark

~ Chapter I

Quote on the Origin of the Vaudois.


quotation markJust at the commencement of the middle ages, when the Christian Church was rapidly being transformed into a Papal Church, there was at Turin a man who opposed the invading corruption with all his power. This was Claudius, Archbishop of Turin. ... 'If,' he insisted, 'those who have abandoned the worship of idols venerate the images of saints, they have not forsaken idolatry, but they have only changed the label. Whoever does not show the faith and virtue by which the Saints became pleasing to God, he cannot be saved.' By such-like incisive and truly evangelical words, he combated the worship of saints and the adoration of images. 'If one adores all wood in the form of a cross, because Christ was crucified, one should adore all mangers because Jesus was placed in one; one should also adore asses, because Jesus rode on one; and the same with boats, since often He spoke to the people from a boat. We have not received a command to worship the cross, but to carry it and to deny ourselves.' He opposed the arrogance of the Pope, who caused himself to be addressed ‘Apostolic Lord,’ and the pilgrimages to Rome, which had no other reason than a misconception of the words of Christ, 'Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build My church.'

One can easily understand that this reforming zeal brought much enmity and annoyance to the devoted Archbishop. He lamented it, and said, 'Whosoever catches sight of me, mocks me and points the finger at me. When I was forced to take the responsibility of a pastor on my arrival in Italy, I found, contrary to the true doctrine, the churches filled with the refuse of ex-votos.

As I, quite alone, set myself to destroy that which all venerated, I was slandered by all; if the Lord had not come to my aid, they would have swallowed me up alive. The Father of mercies and consolation strengthened me in my misery; by Him I was sustained in all my trials, armed with the armor of Divine justice, and protected by the helmet of salvation.'quotation mark

~ Chapter I

Quote on the Origin of the Vaudois.


quotation markAbout the commencement of the 13th century the “Poor Men of Lyons,” or the Vaudois, and the other evangelical sects, had spread so much in the south of France that the Roman Church was in fear of losing all authority over the people. This was during the rule of Pope Innocent III, one of the most energetic and powerful pontiffs the Church had ever produced. He had so much power and influence over the whole of Europe that he could establish or depose kings and princes at his own good pleasure. He had the wisdom to perceive that his predecessors committed a great mistake in breaking with the Vaudois, instead of gaining them, and turning to the service of the Church their strength, enthusiasm, and their devotion. He tried to repair this error, and enlist them by the mediation of devout legates, and to make them a regular community in the Church: a sort of begging and preaching order which would continue to work under the direction of the Pope.

The proposal was seductive. At a stroke the “Poor Men of Lyons” or the Vaudois would be exempted from all persecution. Above all, they would have enjoyed the favor of an all-powerful Pope, and of the bishops. Some of them allowed themselves to be tempted by these fallacious offers, but the greater number recognized the danger there was in losing the full truth of the Gospel and their liberty for a few material advantages. The persecutions they had already endured had doubtless, in accord with God’s design, opened their eyes to the profoundly rooted corruption in the Roman institution. So they, like their Lord and Master, replied to the tempter, 'Get thee behind me, for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'

When the Pope perceived that his cunning and cleverness had fallen through, he was furiously angry, and determined to exterminate these cursed heretics by fire and sword.quotation mark

~ Chapter III

Quote on the First Persecutions.