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This week in Christian history: Iconoclastic fury, Australia’s first saint

'Iconoclastic fury' begins in the Netherlands – Aug. 10, 1566

Iconoclastic Fury
A depiction of the "beeldenstorm" (image storm), also known as the iconoclastic fury, in which Protestants in the Netherlands stormed several churches and destroyed various religious images under the belief that they were sinful. |

This week marks the anniversary of when the iconoclastic fury, a time when Protestants in the Netherlands destroyed several religious images in churches believing they were sinful, began.

Also called thebeeldenstorm, or “image storm,” the fury was triggered by a sermon from Reformed preacher Sébastien Matte at a village church, Steenvoorde in Flanders.

Members of the congregation soon stormed several churches to destroy statues and icons, as well as other items, with their fury quickly spreading throughout much of the Low Countries.

“The beeldenstorm caused alarm not only because of the scale of religious violence, but also the speed with which it spread across the Low Countries,” wrote Andrew Spicer of Oxford Brookes University in 2017.

“Ten days later, the churches and religious establishments in Antwerp were sacked and, by the end of the month, the image breaking had moved northward to the Holland towns of Amsterdam, Delft, Leiden, and The Hague, as well as to Le Cateau, Tournai, and Valenciennes in the south.”

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