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CALVIN JOHN 1509-64 When John Calvin was a boy in France Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation in Germany Two decades later Calvin became the second of the great 16th-century reformers His work and teachings had a profound impact on the development of Christianity John Calvin was born in a upper middle class family in Noyon France on July 10 1509 His father Gerard was procurator-fiscal of the Noyon district and secretary of the diocese In his youth Calvin studied in Paris for the priesthood As Luthers ideas spread in France Calvin grew unsettled in his religious convictions and turned to law When he was about 22 he experienced a conversion he felt divinely called to forsake the Roman Catholic church for a simpler form of Christianity His Institutes of the Christian Religion 1536 became a rallying point for Protestants all over Europe Calvin was soon forced to flee France In 1536 he took up residence in Geneva Switzerland Under the iron will of Calvin Geneva became a city of God In the social life of the community Calvin enforced the ideals of purity simplicity and devout religious faith He was consulted in all civic as well as religious matters Calvin made Geneva one of the most influential cities in Europe Calvins later treatises included Instruction in Faith 1537 Commentary on Romans 1539 Psychopannychia 1542 and Short Treatise on the Lords Supper 1545 He died in Geneva on May 27 1564 One of Calvins master work was the Institute of the Christian which he revised at least five times Calvins teachings are the basis of the Presbyterian and Reformed churches They spread among the Huguenots of France the Protestants of the Netherlands and Scotland and the Puritans of England The English Calvinists unable to practice their religion at home came to the New World in the 17th century They laid the foundation for Calvinism in the United States
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