This Sunday in Baptist History
Algerius was born in Naples, Italy, into a Catholic family of wealth and privilege, so the young man was given a good education. Those were the days of the Protestant Reformation, so while in seminary, preparing for the priesthood, he and other students often talked about doctrine and political events.
During this training, Algerius met a student who spoke boldly of his personal faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour. The two boys began studying the Bible together and over time Algerius, too, was born again. His life was transformed, and he grew quickly in the things of God. It wasn’t too long before he was requesting believer’s baptism. After that he began forcefully teaching and preaching God’s Word. These things drew the attention of the Inquisition.
Algerius was arrested. To encourage him to recant, he was forced to witness the torture of criminals and Anabaptists. He was constantly interrogated. There was a great desire to have him restored to Rome, so at one point even Pope Paul IV came to visit him. Various sects and orders including had Capuchin monks (not monkeys) were sent to convince him of the error of his ways. Finally, his own torture was begun. Boiling oil was poured over his body. In the process of time he was tortured to death.
Not long before his home-going, on this day in 1557, he wrote a letter. “Written in the most delightful pleasure garden of the prison called Leonia… Here on earth I have ‘no continuing city’ or place of rest. My home and country are in heaven. I seek the new city of Jerusalem, which I see before me, which comes to meet me. In fact, I am already on the way to it; there is my sweet home, my riches, my parents, and my friends, and my pleasure and my honor.”