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(Also, Huldreich ) Founder of the Reformation in Switzerland, born at Wildhaus in Switzerland, 1 January, 1484; died 11 October, 1531.
Zwingli came from a prominent family of the middle classes, and was the third of eight sons.
Diebold von Geroldseck, the administrator and sole conventual in the Benedictine monastery at Einsiedeln, entrusted him with the position of a secular priest there, and at the end of 1516 Zwingli left Glarus.
As secular priest at Einsiedeln, the celebrated place of pilgrimage for Switzerland and South Germany, Zwingli's chief office was that of preacher.
In disputing Luther's priority, Zwingli later claimed (and most historians have supported his claim) that while at Einsiedeln he already preached against the old Faith.
His claim is, however, negatived by the facts that he continued to draw his pension, that at the end of 1518, at his own petition, he was appointed by the pope acolyte chaplain of the Roman See (cf.
Two years later he returned to Basle, where, among others, Thomas Wyttenbach encouraged him to devote himself to the serious study of theology.
In 1506 he completed his studies and received the degree of Master of Theology.
In his intercourse with others he was an agreeable companion, of pleasant address and gay temperament, a good singer and musician, and a skilled orator.
His studies at Berne, Vienna, and Basle, where Humanism was eagerly cultivated, made Zwingli one of its zealous supporters.
As pastor of Glarus from 1506 to 1516, the continuation of his humanistic studies was one of Zwingli's chief occupations.
Under the influence of Erasmus, he saw clearly the defects of ecclesiastical life, but could not himself claim to be spotless, and his talents led him to engage rather in disputes concerning secular affairs than to devote himself to clerical reforms.
So far he had no intention of introducing doctrinal innovations; such an idea occurred to him first in Zurich after 1519.
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Shortly before his graduation the parish of Glarus had selected him as its pastor, although he had not yet been ordained priest.