Reformation figure; b. Orbe, Pays de Vaud, 1511; d. Orthez, France, May 1, 1571. From Marc Romain at Orbe he acquired an eagerness for New Testament study before attending the Collège de Montaigu, Paris (1528–31). There he embraced the Reformation, possibly under the influence of Guillaume farel, who in May 1531 inducted him into a preaching ministry at Orbe. A gifted preacher, he was called to serve rising Reformed congregations at Payerne, Neuchátel, and Lausanne; in 1534 he joined Farel in Geneva, where violence and a poisoning attempt damaged his health. Having returned to Neuchátel, he was recalled to Lausanne in March 1536; he was instrumental in establishing the Reformation there, and also founded a flourishing academy. His work there was ended through the opposition of Bern to his discipline (1559). Calvin's trusted friend and correspondent, Viret was associated with him at the Lausanne Disputation of 1536 and in Geneva (1541–42, 1559–61). Seeking medical treatment at Montpellier, Viret transferred his activities to southern France. At Lyons he presided at a Reformed national synod in 1563. His many books are brilliant, but unoriginal. Best known is his Instruction chrestienne en la doctrine de la loi et l'Evangile (3 v. Geneva 1564).
Bibliography: j. barnaud, Pierre Viret: Sa vie et son oeuvre, 1511–1571 (Saint Amans, France 1911). h. vuilleumier, Histoire de l'Église Réformée du Pays de Vaud 4 v. (Lausanne 1927–33) v.1–2.
[j. t. mc neil]