Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Calvin, John, reformer, was born in 1509 at Noyon in Picardy. Dedicated early to the Church by his father, who held certain ecclesiastical offices, he at the age of twelve was appointed to a chaplaincy in the cathedral church of Noyon. The income from this benefice enabled him to take up his residence in Paris, where he became the pupil of Mathurin Cordier. Thereafter for a while he studied law at the University of Orleans, where he was led, through Pierre Robert Olivetan, a relative of his own and the first translator of the Bible into French, to study the Scriptures. He soon became dissatisfied with his former religious views, and by 1529, having previously resigned his cure, he came back to Paris a decided adherent to Protestant doctrines, and had soon to fly for refuge from the persecutions that were then raging. In 1536 we find him at Basel, where he brought out the first edition of his Christianae Religionis Institutio. In the autumn of the same year he joined Farel at Geneva, where the Reformation was established, but the strict morals he enforced led to a reaction, and in 1538 both he and Farel were expelled. Retiring to Strasburg, Calvin resumed his theological studies, and in 1539 married Idelette de Burie, the widow of a converted anabaptist. Recalled to Geneva in 1541, he succeeded in getting his plan of church government accepted, and became the central authority in the city. His rigid rule and intolerant disposition is exemplified by his brutal treatment of Servetus, who, though an old friend of his own, was yet burnt alive by him on account of opinions regarding the mystery of the Trinity. In 1561 Calvin's health began to break down, and in 1564, his influence undiminished, he died. In addition to the Christianae Religionis Institutio, already mentioned, his chief writings were: - De Necessitate Reformandae Ecclesiae, In Novum Testamentum Commentarii, and In Librum Geneseos Commentarii.