Girolamo Savonarola (Italian: [savonaˈroːla]; 1452–1498) was an Italian Dominican friar and preacher active in Renaissance Florence.  He was said to be a prophet and prophecied of coming civic glory.  As with most prophetic ministries he also called for Christian renewal. He denounced clerical corruption, despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor. He prophesied the coming of a biblical flood and a new Cyrus from the north who would reform the Church. This seemed confirmed when Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and threatened Florence. At his urging, the people of Florence established a popular republic. Declaring that Florence would be the New Jerusalem, the world center of Christianity and "richer, more powerful, more glorious than ever", he instituted a puritanical campaign, enlisting the active help of Florentine youth.

In 1495 when Florence refused to join Pope Alexander VI's Holy League against the French, Savonarola was summoned to Rome. He disobeyed and further defied the pope by preaching under a ban, highlighting his campaign for reform with processions, bonfires of the vanities, and pious theatricals. In retaliation, the Pope excommunicated him and threatened to place the city under an interdict. A trial by fire proposed by a rival Florentine preacher to test Savonarola's divine mandate was a fiasco, and popular opinion turned against him. Savonarola and two lieutenants were imprisoned. Under torture, Savonarola confessed that he had invented his visions and prophecies. On May 23, 1498, the three friars were condemned, hanged, and burned in the main square of Florence. Savonarola's devotees, the Piagnoni, kept his cause of republican freedom and religious reform alive well into the next century, although the ruling Medici were restored to power with the help of the papacy and eventually broke the movement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola 6/25/14