Among my ancestors I have two heretics: Lelio and Fausto Socini and I would like to remember them for the anniversary of the death of Giordano Bruno burnt alive in Rome on February 17th 1600
read and written for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
My ancestors were luckier because they were able to escape but the family lost all of its possessions. The excommunication and the confiscation reduced the last living in Siena to poverty, that the be forced to load some stones from Percenna, near Buonconvento where the family originates from, and with these stones they built a cabin along a narrow road that still today is called Via dei Percennesi. They lost the Palazzo in town, villa di Spannocchia and Fattoria del Colle , which by chance and with some luck was bought back by my great-grandfather after three hundred years.
When I was councillor for Tourism in Siena I was quite in awe of my ancestors portrayed on the ceiling in the mayor office. Every time there was a meeting in that room I would get lost in thought admiring those personalities dressed in black carrying out important tasks for the city. One of them was extremely attractive with long curly hair and regular traits.
But, who were my two heretic ancestors? Lelio Francesco Maria Socini (Siena, 29 January 1525 – Zurigo, 4 May 1562) was an Italian theologist and reformer.
When he was very young he began his pilgrimages among the major European
capitals of the protestant reform, Zurigo, Wittenberg, Vienna, Cracovia, Praga and then in Holland, in England with only one stay in Siena where at least 4 members of his family were considered Lutherans and were hunted by the Inquisition. Lelio also had to sign a confession where he had to retract his heretic theories. In truth he was a great thinker, so much so that he created a theological dispute with Calvino who held him in great esteem but did not share his ideas.
Lelio‘s nephew, Fausto ( Siena, 5 December 1539 – Luslawice, Poland March 3rd 1604), was always considered a secondary protagonists although he left traces which were much more solid than his uncle’s. It is he who in fact gave strength to the ecclesia minor or rather to the Polish anti-Trinitarians who in his honour called themselves sociniani. Many of his ideas are still fundamental in the Calvinist and Lutheran doctrines.
What men of steel! To challenge the church, risking their lives for their own religious ideas! I do not share their ideas, but I do admire their courage and their generosity. Ours is a catholic family but in their honour my grandmother was called Lelia and my father Fausto.
Trackback from your site.