John Leclerc

The Cathedral in Metz. Source.

In the 16th century, one of the cities which the French Reformation began in was Meaux. John Lecelrc, a wool-carder, became the pastor there. He had learned theology through the lectures of the doctors, reading the Bible and some other books. Eventually he made some placards denouncing the pope as an Antichrist, and posted them on the cathedral. The townspeople were very angry and he was thrown into prison. He was condemned and was led through the streets to be beaten by the people. After this punishment he was released, and then he moved to Metz.

While he was in Metz he again did a brave, perhaps rash, act against the Catholics. On the night before one of the large festivals where the citizens would worship their idols, John Lecelrc when to the chapel and smashed all of the images. The next day when the worshipers arrived at the church, they found their idols broken in pieces. They ran out and found Lecelrc in the town. He admitted to breaking the idols, and told them they must worship God alone. They decided to burn him to death. They brought him to the scaffold and took heated pincers and lacerated him and pulled his nose off. As they were doing it he recited the passage that says, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not…”1 After torturing him he was burnt with a slow fire. He was one of the first martyrs of France.

1. Psalm 115