Published Online: 25 NOV 2011
Copyright © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization
How to Cite
Lee, J. K. 2011. Waldenses. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization.
- Published Online: 25 NOV 2011
The Waldenses (also Vaudois or Waldensians) take their name from the region of northern Italy and southern France in the Piedmont of the Alps. The Waldenses were also called “Poor Men of Lyons” because they practiced voluntary poverty. Preceding the Franciscans by several decades, the Waldenses had similar practices of preaching and begging. However, where the Franciscans became an official order in the Roman Catholic Church, the Waldenses' relationship with the church went from uneasiness to opposition. By the early 13th century, the Waldenses were the targets of persecution and inquisition. The Waldenses survived in the Piedmont region with varying numbers in southern France, northern Italy, and western Germany. Their population waxed (through furtive evangelistic efforts) and waned (through intense persecution) for three centuries, until many of the Waldenses amalgamated into the Swiss Reformed movement in the mid 16th century.
- waldenses, also called “poor men of lyons”;
- dissenting sect in matters of theology