Timeline of Presbyterianism



Chronology of Presbyterian history


1509 Birth of John Calvin
1514 Birth of John Knox
August 1523 Jean Vallière, first French Protestant martyr, is burned at the stake
October 1534 "Affair of the Placards" – anti-Catholic posters appear throughout Paris
1534 John Calvin flees to Basel, Switzerland
1536 John Calvin begins work in Geneva, Switzerland
1546 First Huguenot community is founded at Meaux, France.
March 1546 George Wishart burned at the stake in Scotland by Cardinal David Beaton, archbishop of St. Andrews.
June 1546 Protestants murder Cardinal Beaton and fortify themselves in St. Andrews castle.
June 1547 St. Andrews castle falls to Catholics; John Knox and others are sentenced to slavery in the French galleys.
January 1548 John Knox released from galleys by English intervention. Works as a preacher in England, especially at Berwick-upon-Tweed.



1556-58 John Knox pastors English exiles in Geneva.
1555 Huguenot church in Paris founded
May 1559 Synod of the French Protestant church in Paris chooses Reformed theology over Lutheran and draws up a confession of faith.
March 1560 Conspiracy of Amboise – Huguenots plot to kidnap the boy-king Francis II.
Spring 1560 English troops assist Scottish Reformers in overthrowing the Catholic government. Scots Confession is adopted and papal jurisdiction abolished.
Apr. 12, 1562 Huguenot leaders sign a manifesto that they had been driven to take up arms for liberty of conscience. Wars of Religion begin.
Aug. 24, 1572 St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Nearly all Huguenots leaders in Paris are killed. Similar massacres occur throughout France.
1573 Huguenot political party is formed near Nîmes, led by Philippe de Mornay.
1576 Hungarian Reformed Church is formed.
April 1598 King Henry IV's Edict of Nantes grants Huguenots religious and political freedom.
1606 Prince of Transylvania secured rights of Hungarian Reformed churches in territories under Habsburg and Turkish rule. (The Transylvanian town of Debrecen became known as "Calvinist Rome.")
1609 The Hohenzollern elector of Brandenburg converts to Calvinism. Hohenzollern rulers permit the establishment of Reformed churches in Prussia.
1620s More civil wars between Catholics and Protestants in France.
1629 Peace of Ales ends civil war in France, which the Huguenots lost. Huguenots are granted freedom of conscience but lose military advantages.
1642 First presbytery formed in Ireland by a Scottish army chaplain.
1648 Peace of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years' War in Germany.
Oct. 18, 1685 King Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes. Many French Protestants emigrate to England, Prussia, the Netherlands and America.
1688-89 "Glorious Revolution" deposes Catholic King James II of England. English Presbyterians are given limited toleration outside the (Anglican) state church.
1715 Louis XIV announces that the Protestant religion has been eliminated in France.
1715 Protestant leaders meet at Nîmes to discuss how to revive Protestantism in France.
1745-54 Persecution of Huguenots resumes.
1781 Limited toleration of Protestants granted in Eastern Europe.
1789 After the French Revolution, Napoleon grants equality under the law to Protestants. Reformed congregations are placed under state control.
1789 First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. held in Philadelphia. It is convened by Rev. John Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
1817 Frederick William III of Prussia proposes a union of Reformed and Lutheran churches.
1843 Free Church of Scotland formed under Thomas Chalmers.
1848 Free Evangelical Synod is established in France apart from the state-supported Reformed church.
1884 Reformed Alliance is organized in Germany to preserve the Reformed heritage.
1900 Free churches in Scotland join to form United Free Church of Scotland.
1905 State support of the French Reformed church is withdrawn, and the two French synods unite.
1929 United Free Church of Scotland reunites with Church of Scotland.
1934 Barmen Synod is held in Germany. Christians of Lutheran, Union, and Reformed background join in the Barmen Confession of Faith in opposition to Hitler and Nazism.
1957 United Church of Christ (UCC) founded
1972 Congregational Union of England and Wales and Presbyterian Church of England combine to form United Reformed Church.
1983 Reunion between the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS), the "southern branch," and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA), the "northern branch," results in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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