Miguel Servet monument

This monument of Miguel Servet can be seen in Geneva (crossroads of Avenue de la Roseraie and Avenue de Beau-Séjour), near the place where he was burnt at the stake for heresy by order of the Calvinist governing council in 1553.


In 1903, 350 years after the dissident Michael Servetus was executed in Geneva at the instigation of John Calvin, a committee was formed to erect a monument in Servetus' honour - led by a French Senator, Auguste Dide, an author of a book on heretics and revolutionaries. The committee commissioned a local Geneva sculptor, Clotilde Roch, to do a statue showing a suffering Servetus. The work was three years in the making and was finished in 1907. However, supporters of Calvin were still strong in Geneva, and the statue was rejected.


The committee then offered the statue to the neighboring French commune of Annemasse, which in 1908 placed it in front of the city hall, with the following inscriptions:

“The arrest of Servetus in Geneva, where he did neither publish nor dogmatize, hence he was not subject to its laws, has to be considered as a barbaric act and an insult to the Right of Nations” (Voltaire).

"I beg you, shorten please these deliberations. It is clear that Calvin for his pleasure wishes to make me rot in this prison. The lice eat me alive. My clothes are torn and I have nothing for a change, nor shirt, only a worn out vest” (Servetus, 1553).

In 1942, the pro-Nazi Vichy Government took down the statue, as it was a celebration of freedom of conscience, and melted it. In 1960, having found the original molds, Annemasse had it recast and returned the statue to its previous place1.

In 1903, Geneva autorities decided to erect only a stone as an expiatory monument, which can still be seen besides the bronze statue.


In 2011, on the fifth centenary of the birth of Servet, another copy of the original monument was finally placed also in Geneva2.

  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (August 2020), except number 5 from Wikimedia Commons

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