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Pomponio Algerio (1531, Nola – 22 August 1556, Rome) was a civil law student at the University of Padua whose radical theological beliefs attracted the attention of the Roman Inquisition. At his trial, he wore his academic hat and gown to remind the tribunal that, as a student, he has the right to freely express his ideas. From the transcript of Pomponio Algerio at his trial:
- "I say that the Church deviates from the truth in so far as it says that a man could not do anything in any way good on his own, since nothing praiseworthy can proceed from our corrupt infected nature except to the extent that the lord God gives us his grace... the Roman Catholic Church is a particular Church and no Christian should restrict himself to any particular Church. This Church deviates in many things from truth."
After refusing to conform to Church doctrine, he was sentenced to prison and asked to reconsider his beliefs. After a year behind bars, he still refused to reconsider. Because Venetian authorities would not consent to an execution, Pope Paul IV sent officials to extradite Pomponio to Rome. In Rome, on August 21, 1555, a monk from the brotherhood of St John the Beheaded visited Pomponio in his cell urging him to repent. If he repented, he would be strangled before burning. The 24 year old student refused.
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