On this day: In 1633 Galileo Galilei was convicted of heresy

He was put on trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church.

Galileo was an Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance.


This was the second time that he was in the hot seat for refusing to accept Church orthodoxy that the Earth was the immovable centre of the universe: In 1616, he had been forbidden from holding or defending his beliefs.

The Sun moves around the Earth

In the 1633 interrogation, Galileo denied that he “held” the belief in the Copernican view of a sun-centred solar system, but continued to write about the issue and evidence as a means of “discussion” rather than belief. The Church had decided the idea that the Sun moved around the Earth was an absolute fact of scripture that could not be disputed. The Earth is the centre of the universe and it does not move.

Galileo allegedly muttered, “Eppur si muove!” (“Yet it moves!”).

It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was right and to clear his name of heresy. In the 20th century Popes Pius XII and John Paul II made official statements of regret for how the Church had treated Galileo.

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