Born in a town of Picardy, France, John Calvin was eldest among his siblings. His real name was Jehan Cauvin. He learned Latin at College de la Marche in Paris from a great linguistic teacher of his time, Mathurin Cordier. After completion of the language course, he took admission in College de Montaigu and was enrolled as a Philosophy student. Calvin grew up as a reformer and a pastor. He loved to study philosophy since he grew up.
Some of our readers might not know various things about this theologian. So, we’ve compiled a list of 9 facts about him. You will significantly be impressed by this writer.
John Calvin: 9 fascinating and exciting facts about this reformer
1. Calvin wasted time to study law
Since his early school days, he developed a love for Philosophy and Latin and always excelled in these subjects. He was ready to study theology in Paris, but his father, Gerard Cauvin, wanted him to study law. He was sent to the University of Orleans to study law, and Calvin spent half a decade to study a subject which he never liked, an interesting fact about John Calvin.
2. Ignatius of Loyola and John Calvin were classmates
Ignatius of Loyola established the Society of Jesus, which later became famous as the Jesuits. According to historians, the Society of Jesus was the primary supporter of Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. Calvin and Ignatius of Loyola were class fellows at the University of Paris.
3. Calvin wasn’t interested at all to become a Pastor
On his way to Geneva, Calvin met a local pastor, William Farel, and stayed with him for a night. Calvin was about to depart for Strasbourg when Farel said that you should stay with me and became a pastor. Upon hearing this, Calvin said that he didn’t want to become a pastor because he has no interest at all. Farel replied that God would curse upon your plans because it is God’s will that you should stay with me.
4. He married a widow with 2 children
An interesting fact about Calvin is that he became a stepfather of 2 children when he married a widow. Historians have claimed that he had a son, Jacques, who was born prematurely and survived for a short time.
Once during his life, Calvin suffered from insomnia, headache, cough, fever, and developed kidney stones. Historian Alexandre Ganoczy claimed that he fell ill so much that his internal organs, including stomach, started to bleed, and he felt muscle cramps and high fever. He felt the pain of suffering and mentioned about the intense pain in his writings.
5. He completed Magnum Opus at the age of 27
When he was 27 years old, Calvin completed his Magnum Opus, which became famous as the Institutes of Religions. During his lifetime, he kept on updating his work and published new editions. He wrote 5 Latin and 4 French editions. The last Latin edition he wrote was in the year 1559, and it was comparatively five times longer than the original version.
Magnum Opus was a preliminary manual comprising information about evangelical faith. This work from Calvin became very popular equally among the students of theology and scholars. The popularity of this book can be gauged from the fact that after Calvin’s death, it was republished and translated to dozens of languages, an interesting fact about John Calvin.
6. Calvin idealized Augustine
Some Historians, including B. B. Warfield and Spurgeon, have claimed that John Calvin had great admiration for Augustine. In his the Institutes of the Christian Religion, from 1536, Calvin mentioned him 24 times, and in the 1559 edition, Augustine was mentioned over 400 times.
7. He used to deliver Sermons in Geneva
At the time when he was working at a ministry in Geneva, Calvin used to preach and deliver sermons on Sunday and sometimes on weekdays. He had given around 200 lectures during his stay.
8. John Calvin developed relations with Michael Servetus
Michael Servetus was the author of various anti-Trinitarian books. Servetus developed relations with Calvin in the year 1553 by sharing his work with him. Calvin sent a copy of his Institutes to Servetus with his reply. Servetus promptly responded with his critical comments about Calvin’s Institutes. Calvin also exchanged letters with some other reformers, including Heinrich Bullinger and Philip Melanchthon.
During the 1500s, France and Spain declared Trinity as blasphemy, and French authorities awarded life sentence to Servetus. He fled from France and went to Spain. He stopped in Geneva and attended a sermon by Calvin. Police in Geneva arrested him while the French authorities tried to extradite him for execution. The officials in Geneva refused to hand him over to French authorities and was burned to death in Geneva.
9. Nobody knows where Calvin was laid to rest
He continued to work and preach till he died. According to historians, when he was frail and weak and couldn’t walk too much, he was carried in a chair to teach in the Church. At a time when the doctor completely forbade him not to go out during harsh winter, he called his audience at his home and used to give lectures. The audience asked him to rest, but he replied, that why do you want me to be idle when God comes to me?
The time he died, no one knows where he was laid to rest, an interesting fact about John Calvin. He didn’t want the pilgrims to visit his grave in Geneva. Even today, no one can find his grave or any monument that could be linked to him. Calvin is alive in Geneva and elsewhere only due to the remains of his writings and sermons. According to Hugh Y. Reyburn, the spot where Calvin was laid to rest, is uncertain, and no one can find his grave.
So, readers, these were some interesting and informative points about John Calvin, which many of you might not know about him. As far as religion is concerned, Calvin belonged to the Roman Catholic Church while at the time he grew up, he separated from this Church for some time in 1530. Historians have termed him a controversial writer despite the fact that his writings were apologetic and polemic.
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