Ever heard of the man who died and was buried? Yes, that is normal. But here is what is not normal about John Wycliffe. 44 years AFTER he was dead, his bones were dug out of the ground and burned!

John Wycliffe was born sometime in the 1320s. Receiving a good education, he taught for sometime. He grew increasingly frustrated with the church selling indulgences and simony. Simony was when high church offices were purchased.

Wycliffe came to believe that the scriptures were the only reliable guide to the truth about God.  He preached and wrote that Christians should rely on the Bible rather than on the teachings of popes and clerics. This of course made the Pope and church angry. Believing that Scripture should be able to read by the common individual, he began to translate the Scriptures into English.

He died in 1384 of a stroke. But his teachings continued to spread. So much that the church believed something needed to be done about it. So in 1415, the Council of Constance declared Wycliffe a heretic, and banned his writings, effectively both excommunicating him retroactively and making him an early forerunner of Protestantism.

The Council furthered wrote that Wycliffe’s works should be burned and his remains removed from consecrated ground. This order, confirmed by Pope Martin V, was carried out in 1428, 13 years after the Council, and 44 years after his death. Wycliffe’s corpse was exhumed and burned and the ashes cast into the river.

Morning Star of the Reformation

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