The Israel Of The Alps – Part I. Learn how the waldenses of Italy suffered at the hands of the Roman Catholic church.
EARLY in the eleventh century the Catholic church, the leading religious body of that time, endeavoured to force all Christians to accept her doctrines. Thousands bowed to Rome, but a large body of “protesters” stood out for the Bible. Numbers of the Protestants crossed the Alps, descended the Rhine, and raised the standard of truth in Cologne, where they were branded as heretics and rewarded with the stake. Some found refuge in the Alps, and were later known as the Waldenses.
The Alps rise abruptly from the plains of Piedmont and form a line of towering magnificence. Pastures and chestnut forests clothe their base, while eternal snows crown their summits. The storms of a thousand winters have torn their sides, leaving caves, valleys, and narrow passes. Through these the fugitive might enter.
Beyond one rocky portal dark ravines open into seven fertile valleys.
The first is Luserna, the Valley of Light; then Rora, Valley of Dews ; the third, Angrogna, the Valley of Groans, leads into Pra, the most interesting to us of any of these valleys. It was the holy of holies in the Alpine Sanctuary.
The faith of the Waldenses, or Vaudois Christians, was founded on the pure teachings of the Bible. To it they strictly adhered. They believed the end of the world was near, and that upon them rested the burden of carrying the gospel to the world.