Religion: Oldest Protestants

A Lyonnais named Peter Waldo anticipated by 300 years the Protestant Revolt: in 1180 he led a minuscule group of heretics out of the Church of Rome.* For nearly seven centuries the Waldenses, the "slaughtered saints" of Milton's sonnet, tenaciously weathered persecution in the valleys of the Cottian Alps. At long last, under Cavour's 1848 Edict of Emancipation, they gained religious freedom. Last week came news that this "oldest Protestant Church" had joined the World Council of Churches.

The influx of Protestant soldiers of many nations had helped end the Italian Waldenses' isolation. Wrote Waldensian Moderator Virgilio Sommani in a letter to...

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