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


Socinus, the Latinised form of the name of Soccini or Sozini, the descendants of a Tuscan banker named Sozzo, and the founders of the theological sect still known as Socinians.

(1) LAELIO FRANCESCO MARIA SOZINO was born in 1525, and educated for the law at Bologna. He was drawn into the Evangelist movement, and after a stay at Venice, then the headquarters of religious reform in Italy, travelled through Switzerland, France, England, and Holland, making the acquaintance of Melancthon, Munster, Forster, and other kindred spirits, and ultimately settling at Zurich, where Calvin became a close friend. However, his speculative intellect raised questions as to the resurrection of the body, predestination, the sacraments, and the nature of the Trinity, which the latter declined to solve. He, nevertheless, came to no open breach, warned, perhaps, by the fate of Servetus, and died, in 1562, in some pecuniary straits, owing to the sequestration of his Italian property.

(2) FAUSTO PAOLO SOZINO, nephew of the foregoing, was born in 1539, and, inheriting fortune, led a rather desultory youth as a member of the famous Accademia degli Intronati. In 1562, after a short residence at Lyons, he joined the reformers at Geneva, and published the Explicatio of the proem to St. John's Gospel, in which be hardly recognises the divinity of Christ. He returned to theology in 1570 with a treatise, De Auctoritate S. Scripturae, and, settling at Basle, wrote De Jesu Christo Serratore. He now went into Transylvania, and thence into Poland, casting in his lot with the Antitrinitarians, though he never fully accepted their doctrines. His De Jesu Christi Natura was published in 1584. Hitherto he had written anonymously, but when the Holy Office at Siena deprived him, in 1590, of his estat,es, he threw off the mask. A mob at Cracow attacked him as a heretic, and he had to take refuge at Luslawice, where he died in 1604.