Bernardino Ochino

1487-1564. Italian Reformer. From Siena, he entered the Franciscan Observants (c.1504) and later, desiring a yet stricter rule, the Capuchins* (1534), of whom he was elected vicar-general (1538-42). A popular penitential preacher, in 1536 he met Juan de Valdés* and his circle. He became convinced that ecclesiastical mediation could not gain salvation for man. Thus there arose a conflict between his convictions and his vocation which climaxed when he criticized the Inquisition* in a sermon at Venice (1542). Summoned to Rome, he escaped to Geneva where he was cordially received by Calvin. Licensed to preach, he ministered to the Italians of Geneva, 1542- 45, and published several works including his Apologhi.

In 1545 Ochino settled at Augsburg, where he became minister of the Italian church. When the city fell to the imperial forces, he escaped to Basle and Strasbourg before finding refuge in England (1547-53). Thomas Cranmer received him kindly and secured for him a prebend in the church of Canterbury and a royal pension. Ochino in addition to writing preached to the Italians in London. His main works of this period were The Usurped Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Labyrinth, an attack on the Calvinist teaching of predestination. When Queen Mary came to the throne, he returned to the Continent, becoming minister of the Italian congregation in Zurich. In 1563 he issued the Thirty Dialogues, which treated the doctrine of the Trinity and monogamy in a free way, thus causing his expulsion. Moving next to Poland, he preached at Cracow for a time, but was forced to leave and finally settled in Slavkov, Moravia, where he died of the plague.

See C. Benrath, Bernardino Ochino (ET 1876), and R. Bainton, Bernardino Ochino (1940).