27 May-John Calvin

John Calvin was a theologian who was a native of France. He is widely regarded as one of the most important figures of the Protestant reformation. During his lifetime he became an important religious and political leader. His religious teaching led to the establishment of the Presbyterian Church.

John Calvin was born Jehan Cauvin in Noyon, Picardy, France on July 10th 1509. Having studied law at the University of Orléans he moved to Geneva to join the Reformation in 1536. Anti-Protestant sentiment forced to move to Germany. However he returned to Geneva in 1541 where he established a religious government.

During his time in Geneva Calvin instituted several positive initiatives. However 56 people were executed for dissent and many more were exiled. Geneva became a centre for the spread of Protestantism in Europe. John Knox from Scotland studied with Calvin in Geneva and brought the teachings of Calvin back to Scotland. Presbyterianism was brought to Ireland in the early 1600’s and the Presbytery of Ulster was created in 1642.

Today the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is an All-Ireland organisation with a membership of around 300,000 people. The Scots’ Church, which is the Presbyterian Church in Carlow town, Ireland is located on the Athy Road in Carlow. The church, which was built in 1818 had its own minister until 1936. On December 31st of that year Rev. James Black retired and this was followed by the union of the Carlow congregation with that of Athy, Co Kildare.

John Calvin, a theologian who is widely regarded as one of the most important figures of the Protestant reformation died in Geneva in the year 1564 On This Day.

John Calvin



15 February-Galileo

Galileo Galilei was a native of Italy. He was a mathematician, physicist and astronomer who is considered the father of modern science. His support for the heliocentric model of the universe, which had been developed by Copernicus led to him being placed under house arrest in 1633.

Galileo Galilei was born in 1564 in Pisa, Italy. He moved with his family to Florence when he was eight years old. At the age of 18 he entered the University of Pisa to study medicine but turned his attention to the study of physics and mathematics. He later taught mathematics at the University of Pisa before moving to the University of Padua in 1592.

At Padua Galileo taught mathematics and astronomy for eighteen years. During this time he made several discoveries and invented an improved telescope. His studies led him to support the model developed by Copernicus, which placed the sun rather than the earth at the centre of the solar system. This brought him into conflict with the Catholic Church. A church inquisition pronounced the theory heretical.

Galileo however continued with his studies and in 1632 he published ‘Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems’. He was summoned to Rome to appear before an inquisition once more. This time he was convicted of heresy. He spent the remainder of his life under house arrest. Galileo died in Florence on January 8th 1642. In 1992 Pope John Paul II expressed regret at how Galileo had been treated.

Galileo Galilei, mathematician, physicist and astronomer who is considered the father of modern science, was born Pisa, Italy in the year 1564 On This Day.