Reformation Wall

For more photos see: Reformation Wall

Reformation Wall, Monument International de la Réformation – Mur de la Réformation

Built into one of the old walls of Geneva, overlooking Le Parc des Bastions on the site of the university of Geneva founded by John Calvin, the Reformation Wall standing 5m high and 100m long, depicts main individuals, scenes and documents of the Protestant Reformation, in statues and bas-reliefs.

The centre of the monument features four 5m statues of:

  • Theodore Beza, the successor to John Calvin (1519-1605)
  • John Calvin, the leader of the Reformation movement and spiritual father to Geneva (1509-1564)
  • William Farel, the first to preach the Reformation in Geneva (1489-1565)
  • John Knox, friend of John Calvin and founder of the Scottish Presbyterians (1513-1572)

To the left of these central statues are three 3m statues of:

  • Gaspard de Coligny, leader of the French Huguenots (1519-1572)
  • William the Silent, more well known as William I of Orange, father of the Netherlands and saviour of Calvinism in the low countries (1533-1584)
  • Frederick William Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia creator of the Brandenburg Tolerance Edict.

The three 3m statues to the right of the centre are:

  • Roger Williams, English Puritan and Pilgrim Father (1603-1684)
  • Oliver Cromwell, English military and political leader favouring religious tolerance to all Protestants and anti-Royalist (1599-1658)
  • Stephen Bocskay, Hungarian Calvinist nobleman (1557-1606)

Engraven along the wall is the motto of the Reformation and Geneva, Post Tenebras Lux, After Darkness Light. The Christogram forming the abbreviation of Jesus Christ ΙΗΣ, is on the pedestal of the centre statues.

Along the wall are also reliefs depicting:

  • An inscription commemorating Geneva’s official acceptance of the Reformation, 21 May 1536.
  • Frederick William Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia creator of the Brandenburg Tolerance Edict giving equal rights to Lutherans and Calvinists and the Potsdam Edict giving safety of passage to Brandenburg-Prussia to Huguenots after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1620-1688).
  • William 1 of Orange, or the silent became the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that commenced the Eighty Years War (1568–1648). The formal declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king was signed on 26 July 1581.
  • King Henry IV (of Navarre) signing the Edict of Nantes (1598), which ended the Wars of Religion in France.
  • Preaching of the Reformation to the people of Geneva in the presence of envoys from Bern. Above is an inscription of the Lord’s Prayer in French.
  • John Knox preaching against Queen Mary Stuart from his pulpit in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. Above is an inscription of the Lord’s Prayer in English.
  • Roger Williams and the Pilgrim Fathers praying on the Mayflower as it sails to America. Above is an inscription of the Mayflower Compact (1620).
  • The British Parliament presenting the Bill of Rights, an act declaring the rights and liberties of the subjects, also the settling the succession of the crown, to William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange in 1689.
  • Bocskay bringing the signed treaty of Vienna to the Diet of Kassa. Sadly Bocskay died (probably of poisoning) just a few days after this event.

Martin Luther (German reformer) and Ulrich Zwingli (Swiss reformer) have significantly less prominent memorials at the sides of the wall, (Calvin had disagreed with them on some points).

All these great men featured in the Reformation Wall were separated in the providence of God to execute a work as the two witnesses of Revelation 11, irrespective to their moral relation to the gospel. They have been a hostile opponent to the beast power – the Catholic system. They have witnessed in the many religious wars – wars for liberty against the rule of Popes, emperors, kings, priests, bearing witness for civil and religious liberty, devouring their enemies with fire and the sword and have been a light before God to enlighten nations. Yet there is a third party that is distinct from them, distinct from both the earth and the woman classes of the two witnesses – it is the remnant of her seed – the one body of Christ holding the one faith, the one hope, the one Lord, the one spirit, the one baptism and the one God and Father.

What of mainstream Protestantism today? Are they still witnessing against the Catholic system? We think not. It is of utmost importance what you believe and the manner in which that belief influences you life; we only have one life opportunity to work out our destiny. Where does your destiny lie? May you find the answer in the God’s word the Bible.