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Michael Servetus
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Religious Figure
    (circa September 29, 1511-October 27, 1553)
    Born in Villanueva de Sijena, Spain
    Birth name was Miguel Serveto Conesa
    Spanish theologian and physician
    Wrote 'On the Errors of the Trinity' (1531), 'Dialogues on the Trinity' (1532) and 'Restoration of Christianity' (1553)
    Burnt at the stake as a heretic by the Protestant governing council of Geneva
    His rejection of the trinity united Catholics and Protestants in condemning him as a heretic.
    He engaged in increasingly heated correspondence with John Calvin on the subject of predestination, which Calvin supported and Servetus rejected.
    While fleeing from France to Italy, he decided it would be a good idea to stop in Geneva and attend one of Calvin's sermons.
    He was recognized and arrested immediately after the service.
    He discovered how blood circulates a century before William Harvey.
    He was condemned by the Inquisition, but escaped from a French jail (April 7, 1553), so his effigy (along with his books) was burned in his stead.
    Since he was not a citizen of Geneva, according to the laws of the city the worst that could be done to him was banishment, but he was burnt anyway.
    Later-day Calvinists put up a plaque at the site of the execution apologizing (1903).
    Scholar Marian Hillar wrote, 'Historically speaking, Servetus died so that freedom of conscience could become a civil right in modern society.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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