The Seventeenth Century
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1601 In England, 70 Catholic priests were executed between this year and 1680.
1602 An Anglican named John Smyth renounced the episcopacy while speaking at Lincoln Cathedral in England. He became pastor of a group of Separatists. The congregation moved to Holland in 1606. Smyth defined the church as a collection of baptized believers. He is thus the father of the modern baptist movement.
1603 Henry IV allowed the Jesuits to re-enter France (see 1595).
1604 The Hampton Court Conference (England) led to a revision of the Book of Common Prayer and, in time, to the publication of the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611). The conference, a meeting between the king (James I) and church leaders, was in response to the Puritans’ Millenary Petition, a demand for church reform. James refused the principal Puritan desire, the abolishment of the episcopacy.
1604 A change to English canon law in this year prevented ministers from conducting exorcisms without permission from their bishops. The Puritans in particular were upset by this change.
1605 On November 4, Guy Fawkes was arrested in a cellar beneath the House of Lords’ meeting chamber. Fawkes and his fellow Catholic conspirators had placed thiry casks of gunpowder in the cellar, and planned to blow Parliament up the next day. The conspirators were motivated in part by King James’ 1604 renewal of the Elizabethan anti-Catholic laws, which forbade Catholic teaching and missionary activity and made attendance at Anglican services mandatory, with severe penalties for disobedience.
1605-6 The Poles occupied Moscow, supporting a false heir to the throne of Muscovy (the False Dmitry).
1606 As a result of the conspiracy to destroy Parliament, harsh anti-Catholic measures were passed in England. Catholics could not travel more than five miles from their homes. No Catholic was allowed to act as a doctor, lawyer, executor of an estate, or a guardian of minor children. Catholics were also required to take a loyalty oath which denied that the pope had the power to depose secular rulers. In this year, six Catholic priests were executed in England for refusing to take the oath and for saying Mass.
1606 Pope Paul V (1605-21) placed Venice under an interdict in a dispute over papal jurisdiction and church property. In response, the Venetians chose Paoli Sarpi, who was openly critical of Trent and the growth of centralized ecclesiastical power in Rome) as a theological consultant. Venice gave its clergy an ultimatum: Continue to adminster the sacraments, or leave the city forever. The Jesuits left and did not return for 50 years. Pope Paul lifted the interdict in 1607 when it had proven itself futile. During a meeting with the Venetian ambassador, Paul is reported to have remarked, “Do you not know that so much reading of Scripture ruins the Catholic religion?”
1607 Norway became Lutheran.
1607 Founding of the Virginia colony.
1608 Formation of the Protestant Union (Union of Evangelical States) among Protestant principalities within the Holy Roman Empire.
1608-11 The Poles, with a second False Dmitry, occupied Moscow. They were driven out in May, 1611.
1609 Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria led the Catholic states within the Holy Roman Empire in forming the Catholic Union.
1609 The Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II signed a royal charter which guaranteed freedom for Protestant worship within Bohemia. In 1618, fear that this freedom would soon be lost led to the Thirty Years War.
1609 Death of Jacobus Arminius. For the last six years of his life, Arminius was a professor at the University of Leiden (Holland). He had debated a colleague, Franciscus Gomarus, over certain Calvinist doctrines. Arminius denied total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. The year after Arminius’ death, 45 Dutch ministers signed the Remonstrance, a document in keeping with Arminius’ soteriology.
1609 A 12-year truce began in the Eighty Years War between Holland and Spain. (See 1568.)
1609 The Douay-Rheims Bible published. The New Testament had appeared in 1582.
In this year, the first Baptist church on record was formed, by John Smyth in Amsterdam. Baptist baptism was initially by pouring.
1609 The Arian (anti-Trinitarian) Academy of Rakow in Poland published a catechism in Latin.
1610 Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic bishop of Geneva, founded the Visitation of Holy Mary (the Visitation Nuns). De Sales was an active missionary in Chablais, winning the majority of people there from Calvinism back to Catholicism. In 1877, he was named a doctor of the Roman Catholic church, the first French writer to be so honored. He is reported to have said the following to Marie Angelique, abbess of the Cistercian convent at Port Royal: “It is the duty of ecumenical councils to reform the head and members: they are above the pope. ... I know this, but prudence forbids my speaking of it, for I can hope for no results if I did speak. We must weep and pray in secret that God will put His hand to what man cannot, and we should humble ourselves to the ecclesiastical powers under whom He has placed us, and beseech Him that He would convert and humble them by the might of His Holy Spirit.”
1610 King James restored the episcopacy to the Scotland.
1611 The “King James” Version. The Authorized Version contained the books of the Apocrypha between the testaments.
In this year, a portion of the Amsterdam baptist congregation returned to England, led by Thomas Helwys, forming the first baptist congregation in England. This group and others like it became known as General Baptists because they believed the offer of salvation was open to all.
1612 The Russian Patriarch Hermogenes asked the priests of Kazan to send the Kazan Mother of God icon to Moscow. After a ceremony involving the icon, Prince Dmitry Pozharski’s warriors defeated the Poles who were assaulting the city. Subsequently, much of Russia was recovered from Polish control.
1613 In Russia, Michael Romanov became the first tsar of the Romanov dynasty.
1615 Archbishop George Abbot (Church of England) forbade the issuance of Bibles without the Apocrypha.
1616 The Roman Catholic Church declared the Copernican theory, supported by Galileo, as “false and erroneous.” This was done in agreement with a recommendation by Robert Bellarmine, who had met with Galileo and counselled him to regard the heliocentric model of the solar system as a hypothesis only. Bellarmine (1542-1621), a Jesuit, was a driving force behind the doctrine of papal infallibility. He taught that the pope was infallible when teaching the whole Church on faith, morals, and things necessary to salvation.
1618 The Thirty Years War began in Bohemia over the right of the diet to elect a new king. King Matthias insisted that his nephew, the Ferdinand of Styria, become king, but the diet preferred a Protestant. Ferdinand, educated by Jesuits, had promised to suppress Protestantism within his domains. When Matthias died in 1619, Ferdinand became emperor, but Bohemia had elected Frederick of the Palatinate king of Bohemia.
1618/19 The Synod of Dort condemned the Remonstrants (Arminians – see 1609). This is not surprising, since all the delegates were Gomarists (followers of Franciscus Gomarus).
1619Philaret, Patriarch of Moscow (1619-33). During this period, the Russian church was reformed – service books were revised, moral standards were raised, preaching was encouraged.
1620 The founding of the Plymouth colony (Massachusetts) by English Separatists who had lived in exile in Leiden, Holland.
1621 Protestantism was eradicated in Bohemia.
1622 In the Thirty Years War, Catholic forces under Johan Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, sacked Heidelburg. The contents of the university were packed into wagons and sent to Pope Gregory XV (1621-23) as a gift. Heidelburg had been a center of the Reformed wing of Protestantism since 1563 at the latest.
1623 Ukraine. Josaphat Kuntsevich killed by Orthodox worshippers. Kuntsevich led a group to knock down the tents where the Orthodox were worshipping. One of his followers struck a deacon, and the Orthodox, attacking Kuntsevich with sticks and stones, beat him to death. He had ordered the disposal of dead Orthodox by having their corpses exhumed and thrown to dogs, and had closed and burned Orthodox churches. Kuntsevich was the Uniate bishop of Polotsky and the founder of the Uniate Basilian order. He has been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.
1623 King James I of England forbade discussions on predestination. He did so because the more Reformed-minded clergy were attacking those who, like Lancelot Andrewes (see 1626), disliked the Calvinist view of predestination and preferred to emphasize the sacraments. The Reformed party began to call the sacramentalists “Arminians” (see 1609). Though James had long favored the Reformed party, and had sent English clergy to the Synod of Dort (1618-19), but he had decided to marry his son Charles to a Spanish princess and found the “Arminians” less refractory. Because the gag rule on discussions of predestination was so unpopular, James soon withdrew it.
1624 Cardinal Richelieu of France formed pacts with the Dutch, English, Swedes, Danes, and with Savoy and Venice to contest Hapsburg power in the Low Countries and Germany.
1624 Because of the words, “Textum ... ab omnibus receptum” appearing in the preface, Elzevir’s Greek New Testament, published in this year, is called the Textus Receptus, or the Received Text.
1625 Charles I succeeded James I as king of England.
1626 Death of Lancelot Andrewes, bishop of Winchester, England, and dean of the chapels royal. Andrewes was a patristic scholar whose work emphasized the sacraments and had a strong dislike of the Reformed view of predestination. He was strongly critical of distinctive Roman Catholic doctrines. His role as dean of the chapels royal may have been instrumental in persuading King Charles to support the “Arminian” cause (see 1623).
1626 King Charles I of England repeated his father’s 1623 proclamation forbidding discussions of predestination.
1627 The Patriarch of Constantinople presented an uncial manuscript, known as Codex Alexandrinus (A) to King Charles I of England. Alexandrinus is considered to reflect the Byzantine text type in the gospels, but the Alexandrian text in the rest of the New Testament. It also contains the Septuagint.
1628 French Catholic forces led by Richelieu took La Rochelle, the last Huguenot fortified city.
1629Cyril Lukaris, Patriarch of Constantinople, had endorsed a thoroughly Calvinistic theology. His Confession was published in Geneva in this year. Cyril had been present at the synod of Brest in 1596 and, perhaps as a consequence, had a thorough hostility to Rome. Cyril’s Confession was condemned by six councils between 1638 and 1691.
1629 The Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II issued the Edict of Restitution, which required “all archbishoprics, bishoprics, prelacies, monasteries, and other ecclesiastical property confiscated since” 1552 be restored to the Catholic Church. The edict was promulgated at a point in the Thirty Years War when Catholic forces under Wallenstein dominated Germany.
1630 Harsnet, the “Arminian” archbishop bishop of York, banned the sale of the works of the puritan William Perkins (see 1586) and the reformed theologian Zacharias Ursinus (see 1563) within his archdiocese.
1630 Founding of the Massachusetts Bay colony.
1630s During this decade, Jesuit criticism of the Judaizing tendencies of Ethiopian Christianity (circumcision, Sabbath observance, dietary restrictions) came to a head. The Jesuits who escaped execution were expelled.
1631 Catholic forces razed Magdeburg, which was resisting the Edict of Restitution (1629). 17,000 of the city’s 36,000 inhabitants were killed.
1631 Brandenburg and Saxony allied themselves with Sweden. (Swedish forces under King Gustavus Adolphus had arrived in Pomerania in 1630.) The combined Protestant armies defeated Tilly near Leipzig in the first major Protestant victory of the Thirty Years War.
1632 Compromise of 1632. Many formerly Uniate churches and monasteries in Ukraine returned to Orthodoxy.
1632 The Roman Catholic colony was begun in Maryland.
1633 William Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury and began to persecute Puritans. The pope offered to make Laud a cardinal on two occasions, but Laud refused. Laud had debated Roman Catholics, and had played a key role in keeping the Duke of Buckingham from converting to Catholicism.
1633 Galileo Galilei tried in Rome on suspicion of heresy for supporting the Copernican (sun-centered) view of the solar system.
1634 Pope Urban VIII’s (1623-44) bull ended the ancient practice by which local bishops and synods introduced commemorations into the calendar. The authority to do so, and to canonize saints, was restricted to the papal curia.
1634 Michael, tsar of Russia, set the penalty for tobacco use at death.
1636 Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, known as M. de St. Cryan, abbot of St. Cyran in the diocese of Poitiers, became director of the nunnery at Port Royal. A friend of Cornelius Jansen (see 640), St. Cyran intended the nunnery to be a center for opposition to the Jesuit’s teachings on doctrine, devotion and morals.
1636 Harvard University founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the purpose of training clergymen.
1637 Rioting broke out in Scotland when a new liturgy was read in Edinburg. The new Scottish prayer book had been prepared by the Scottish bishops.
1638 A group of baptists holding a Calvinist theology which strictly limited salvation to the elect is known to have existed in London by this year. They became known as Particular Baptists.
11638 On 28 Feb the Scottish National Covenant was signed. King Charles I and Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud had ordered the exclusive use of a “Papistical” liturgy upon the Church of Scotland, known as Laud’s Liturgy (see 1637). The National Covenant repeated the Negative Confession of 1580/81 and listed many acts of parliament that the new liturgy was perceived to contradict. The Covenant’s subscribers swore to forbear “the practice of all novations … till they be tried and allowed in free Assemblies and Parliaments” while still supporting the king’s authority “in the defense and preservation of the foresaid true religion.”
1638 Janos Toroczkai, a Unitarian, said, “If Jesus would come to earth, I would send him to work in a vineyard.” The Transylvanian Reformed Church had him stoned to death.
1639/40 Charles I attempted to put down the Scottish rebellion, and conflict between England and Scotland in these years are known as the Bishops’ Wars. The Scottish success, their seizure of Northumberland and Durham, forced Charles to call the Long Parliament in 1640, which lead to the English Civil War.
1639 Roger Williams founded the first baptist congregation in America, in Rhode Island.
1639 Jean Morin (see 1645, Samaritan Penteteuch) was consulted by Urban VIII on relations with the Orthodox Church. Based on his patristic studies, Morin supported Roman Catholic recognition of the Orthodox priesthood.
1639 The Battle of the Downs. In an attempt to regain control over Dutch ports, a Spanish armada of 77 ships sailed into the English Channel. A Dutch force of 75 ships engaged them and disabled, captured or destroyed all but seven of the Spanish vessels.
1640 Cornelius Jansen’s Augustinus published posthumously. Jansen, the bishop of Ypres, had died of the plague in 1638. It is claimed that he had read Augustine through twenty times. The Augustinus was to become a source of conflict between the Jansenists and the Jesuits in seventeenth century France.
1641 Catholic rioters in Ulster killed an estimated 12,000 Protestants. At the time, the accepted figure was 154,000. These riots, along with the Scottish Bishops’ Wars, led to the English civil war.
1642 English civil war began. The first battle was fought at Edgefield.
1642 Pope Urban VIII launched the War of Castro against Duke Odoardo I Farnese of Parma. His goal was to dominate northern Italy, but the pope was defeated in March 1644.
1642Council of Jassy (Iasi) in Romania. This council of the Eastern Orthodox church confirmed as “genuine parts of scripture” 1 Esdras (3 Esdras in the Vulgate), Tobit, Judith, three books of the Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira), Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah. The canonicity of these books had been previously taken for granted.
The council also revised and approved the Orthodox Confession of Peter of Moghila, Patriarch of Kiev from 1633-47. The original version had been based on Roman Catholic manuals and, consequently, contained doctrinal error. The revision was the work of Meletius Syrigos, a Greek, who corrected Moghila’s teachings, making it clear that the Church does not favor the doctrine of purgatory and or hold that the eucharistic bread and wine are changed at the ‘words of institution.’
1643 Antoine Arnauld published his De la frequente communion his Theologie morale des Jesuites, against the Jesuits’ practice of frequent communion and their perceived moral laxity. Arnauld had come across a letter from a Jesuit that read, in part, “The more one is destitute of grace, the more one ought boldly to approach Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”
1643 Pope Urban VIII issued his bull In eminente, which condemned Jansenism.
1643 In the battle with the king, the English parliament enlisted the aid of the Scots. The resulting treaty, known as “The Solemn League and Covenant,” emphasized the preservation of the Reformed faith in England and Ireland and the elimination of Popery and Prelacy.
1644The English Puritan parliament forbade the observance of all holy days and the keeping of Christmas day as a solemn fast. The law required everyone to go to work on that day, and a shopkeeper whose shop was closed on that day was liable to prosecution. The Puritans reasoned that Christmas was of pagan origin, and thus unworthy of celebration.
1645 On 10 January, Archbishop Laud was beheaded on a charge of treason.
1645 The Samaritan Pentateuch, recently recovered by a traveler to the East, was published in the “Paris Polyglot.” It had been lost to history since the eighth century. A Samarian version of the Law, the Samaritan Pentateuch frequently supports Septuagint readings against the Masoretic text. This indicates that the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint may have had a common origin prior to the fixing of the Masoretic text in the first or second centuries. Jean Morin, a Catholic priest, convert from Calvinism, and editor of the Samaritan Penteteuch which appeared in the Paris Polyglot, advocated the theory that the Septuagint was superior to the Hebrew Masoretic text.
1645 The Long Parliament proscribed use of the 1552 English Book of Common Prayer, replacing it with the Directory for the Public Worship of God in the Three Kingdoms.
1646 The Union of Uzhorod. On April 24, the self-governing Orthodox church of Mukachevo-Uzhorod, led by Bishop Parfenii Petrovych, broke communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church and submitted to Rome. In time, it came to be known as the Greek Catholic church.
1646 The three estates of Portugal bound themselves to defend, if need be with their lives, the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
Rhode Island allowed freedom of conscience in matters of religion.
Publication of David Blondel’s “Familiar Enlightenment of the Question:
Whether a Woman Had Been Seated on the Papal Throne in Rome.” Blondel,
a Calvinist, proved that the story of Pope Joan (see 1250), widely believed by Catholics
and used as ammunition against the papacy by Protestant polemicists, was fiction.
The story of Pope Joan first appeared in the mid-1200s. In its mature form,
it claimed that Joan had been pope from 855 until 858, when she died in childbirth.
1648 The Westminster Confession approved by the English Parliament. It had been accepted by the Church of Scotland the previous year. The confession was Reformed in doctrine and Presbyterian in polity. In chapter 2, section 3, it affirms with the Roman Catholic Church the filioque (that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son). The confession also specifies that the Old Testament in Hebrew was “immediately inspired by God” and is “therefore authentical”; yet it does not explain why the New Testament authors (whose work is also termed “inspired” and “authentical”) chose in general to quote from a Greek translation that differs from the Hebrew.
1648 Publication of John Owen’s Eschol: or Rules of Direction for the Walking of the Saints in Fellowship. A Puritan and proponent of Congregationalism, Owen was for a time an aide to Oliver Cromwell, but later (1653) avoided involvement in Cromwell’s rise to the post of Lord Protector. Some consider Owen the greatest Puritan theologian.
1648The Thirty Years War ended with the peace of Westphalia.
1649 In January, King Charles I of England beheaded. The Puritan army had removed the Presbyterian parliamentary leadership (1648, known as Pride’s Purge) in anticipation of the king’s execution. A book entitled Eikon Basilike was printed soon after Charles’s death. It purported to be a record of the late king’s prayers and meditations while in prison, and it turned public opinion in his favor.
1649 In response to the execution of Charles I of England, Tsar Alexis excluded Englishmen from the interior of Russia. The move gave an advantage in trade to German and Dutch merchants.
1649 A rioting crowd in Russia burned six carriages loaded with musical instruments. (Music in Orthodox churches is almost always a cappella.)
1649 The Maryland colony set the punishment at whipping and a fine for anyone who used the following terms of derision: “heretic, schismatic, idolator, Puritan, Independent, Presbyterian, Popish priest, Jesuit, Jesuited Papist, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anabaptist, Brownist, Antinomian, Barrowist, Roundhead, Separatist.” All religions professing a belief in Jesus Christ were to be tolerated.
1650 The Quaker movement began about this year in England’s Lake District. George Fox was one early leader.
1651 Publication of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. The work is a defense of monarchy, written when Presbyterians, Independents, and papists had challenged the sovereign’s rights.
1652 The Tsar Alexis forbade foreigners from dwelling within Moscow or holding church services there. But he did allow a new settlement to be built nearby, Nemetskaya Sloboda, or the German Suburb.
1652/3 Nikon (1605-81) became Patriarch of Russia. He attempted to bring Russian practice into line with the worship of the four ancient patriarchates. He wished to modify the service books and introduce the practice of making the sign of the cross with three fingers, instead of in the older manner with just two fingers. His reforms were widely opposed. Those who rejected his reforms were called Raskolniki (which means sectarians), or Old Believers. This division has continued until the present.
1653 Avvakum, former chaplain to the tsar, exiled to Tobolsk in Siberia. Avvakum had become the leader of the Old Believers. He was burned at the stake in 1682. During his imprisonment, he wrote (1673) his autobiography, the first such work in the Russian language.
1653 Pope Innocent X (1644-55), in the bull Cum occasione, condemned the Five Propositions. He stated that these had been held by Jansen, and he implied they were found in Jansen’s Augustinus. The Five Propositions are (1) some commandments of God are impossible even for righteous persons to keep, (2) in the fallen state internal grace is never resisted, (3) in order to merit or demerit in a state of fallen nature, freedom from necessity [the necessity imposed by God’s irresistible grace] is not required, only freedom from constraint, (4) the heresy of the Pelagians consisted in their assertion that grace could be either resisted or obeyed, and (5) it is a Semi-Pelagian error to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men absolutely.
1653 In April, Cromwell used his troops to dissolve Parliament.
1653 In December, Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. During his tenure as Lord Protector, Cromwell allowed Jews to immigrate to England. They had been expelled in 1290. Cromwell believed that Jesus could not return until the Jews had been converted. He thought this was more likely to occur in England, with its Reformed church, than in many other lands.
1655 Nikon, patriarch of Russia, held a synod at which Macarius, patriarch of Antioch, was present. Macarius endorsed the changes Nikon had instituted in Russian church practice.
1656 During the papacy of Alexander VII (1655-67), the Assembly of the French clergy drew up the Formulary, to be signed by all clergy and religious. The Formulary read, “I, the undersigned, do submit sincerely to the constitution of Pope Innocent IX, of May 31, 1653, according to its true meaning, which has been determined by the constitution of our Holy Father Pole Alexander VII, of October 16, 1656. I acknowledge myself bound in conscience to obey these constitutions, and I condemn with heart and mouth the doctrine of the Five Propositions of Cornelius Jansen, contained in his book entitled Augustinus, which has been condemned by two popes and by the bishops: the said doctrine being not that of St. Augustine, but a misinterpretation of it by Jansen, contrary to the meaning of that great doctor.”
1656-57 Blaise Pascal published his Provincial Letters, a defense of the Jansenists and satirical attack on the Jesuits in France.
1658 Death of the Protestant theologian Louis Cappelle. His arguments in favor of the Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch against the Masoretic Text angered many. In reaction, the Swiss Reformed Church accepted the inspiration of not only the consonantal Hebrew text, but the vowel points as well! (See 1675.)
1658 When tension arose between the Russian patriarch and Tsar Alexis over the patriarch’s desire to exercise political power, Nikon retired to the New Jerusalem monastery.
1658 Death of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England during the Commonwealth.
1660 England recalled Charles II to England to become king: the Restoration.
1660 Savoy Conference. A conference was held at the Savoy Palace between Anglicans and Presbyterians to discuss ways in which the English Prayer Book, proscribed since 1645, could be made acceptable to the Presbyterians and other moderate Puritans.
1660 Tsar Alexis summoned a synod which determined that the patriarch Nikon had effectively abdicated by retiring to a monastery in 1658.
1661 King Louis XIV of France demanded that all French bishops subscribe to the Formulary of 1656. The nuns of Port Royal were required to sign also, but they refused and were excommunicated.
1662 In Britain ‘An Act for the Uniformity of Public Prayers’ which imposed a revised Prayer Book on the country.
1662 The Tsar Alexis brought Avvakum back from exile. However, when Avvakum argued that those who had accepted Nikon’s reforms should repent and be rebaptized, he was banished to Pustozersk, near the Arctic Ocean.
1662 The Tatar Khan sacked the Ukrainian town of Putivi and enslaved 20,000 of its inhabitants.
1663 John Eliot published a Bible in Algonquin, the first Bible to be printed in America.
1664 The Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to Benoit Rencurel, a seventeen-year-old shepherdess near Grenoble in the French Alps. Mary told her to go to Le Laus, where she would frequently appear in a ruined chapel. She also predicted that the chapel would one day be encompassed by a great church.
1664 The English seized the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, renaming it New York.
1664 By the Conventicle Act passed in England this year, any person over 16 years of age who attended a service not conducted according to the Book of Common Prayer was subject to punishment.
1665 The Great Plague. An estimated 15 to 20% of the population of Western Europe died.
1665 In England, the Five Mile Act forbade any preacher who had been ejected ministry from living within five miles of his former church. The act was directed against Puritan preachers.
1666 Eighty percent of London was destroyed by fire.
1666/7 A council was held in Moscow in December, presided over by the Patriarch Pasius of Alexandria and Patriarch Macarius of Antioch, at the behest of Tsar Alexis, “to review and confirm the case of the ex-patriarch Nikon, who had ill-administered the stewardship of the patriarchal power.” Thirteen metropolitans, nine archbishops, five bishops, and thirty-two archimandrites were present. (Nikon had attempted to control the state as well as the church.) The council deposed Nikon, but upheld his reforms. In his later years, Nikon gained a reputation as a healer, having been instrumental in 132 miraculous cures.
1669 The Peace of the Church ratified by Pope Clement IX (1667-70). The Jansenist bishops of France were allowed to provide explanations for their signatures to the Formulary of 1656, though these could not be published. Persecution ceased. The excommunication of the nuns of Port Royal was lifted.
1669 Death of the Vatican librarian Leo Allatius. His three-volume work, De ecclesia occidentalis atque orientalis perpetua consensione argued that the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches were not genuinely separated, nor were the Orthodox in heresy.
1672The Eastern Orthodox council of Jerusalem.
This council ratified Dositheus’ Confession, an answer to
Cyril Lukaris’ work of the same name. Like Peter Moghila’s work,
Dositheus’ Confession has a Western tone. He adopted the term
‘transubstantiation,’ and he came very near to endorsing purgatory.
The Confession explicitly lists Wisdom, Judith, Tobit, The History of the
Dragon, Susanna, Maccabees, and Sirach as “genuine parts of Scripture.”
Dositheus was Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1699-1707. The Confession’s
1675 While imprisoned during this year, John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. It was first published in 1678.
1675 The Helvetic Consensus Formula. This Swiss creed taught that “the Hebrew Original of the Old Testament … is, not only in its consonants, but in its vowels – either the vowel points themselves, or at least the power of the points – not only in its matter, but in its words, inspired of God … and to its standard, as to a Lydian stone, all extant versions, oriental and occidental, ought to be applied, and wherever they differ, be conformed.” (See 1658.) The New Testament authors generally quoted from the Septuagint, not bother ing to conform it to the Hebrew.
1682 William Penn received a royal charter for the Pennsylvania colony. Penn’s vision was to establish a colony with freedom of religion.
1682 Peter the Great (1682-1725), Tsar of Russia.
1682 The Assembly of the French clergy issued the Four Gallican Articles: (1) popes, whose power is entirely spiritual, cannot release subjects from oaths of loyalty to kings and rulers; (2) the plenitude of power enjoyed by popes is limited by the decrees of the 4th and 5th sessions of the Council of Constance; (3) the pope must exercise his authority in accordance with “the canons enacted by the Spirit of God and consecrated by the reverence of the whole world,” so that the pope cannot alter the “ancient rules, customs, and institutions” of the French church; and (4) though the pope has the principal place in deciding issues of faith, his decisions are not irreversible until confirmed by the consent of the Church.
1682 In April Avvakum, leader of the Old Believers, was burned at the stake in Pustozersk, where he had been exiled. Avvakum had urged his followers to martyrdom. It has been estimated that 20,000 Old Believers were martyred between 1684 and 1690.
1683The Turks besieged Vienna for the last time. They were chopped to bits by a relief force of Poles. The reputation of the Turks as a conquering nation was lost.
1685 The Puritan theologian Richard Baxter was imprisoned for an eighteen month period for pressing for toleration of moderate dissent within the Church of England.
1685Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (see 1598) and the subsequent emigration of an estimated 400,000 Huguenots. Pope Innocent XI (1676-89) is said to have disapproved of the revocation privately. In public, he ordered a Te Deum and public celebrations.
1686 Christian forces wrested the city of Buda from the Turks. Hungary was free of Turkish rule for the first time since 1526.
1686 The metropolitan of Kiev passed from the control of Constantinople to that of Moscow.
1687 Publication of Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which introduced the three laws of motion and explained the elliptical orbits of planets in terms of an force acting instantaneously at a distance, decreasing in magnitude with the separating distance squared. Newton’s description of the universe in mechanistic terms was widely accepted by Deists. But Newton himself believed the Bible to be the word of God. He discussed the white horse of Revelation 6.2 and 19.11 with the philosopher John Locke, provided moral support to John Craig who sought to provide a mathematical demonstration of the date of Christ’s second coming, and wrote a commentary on the book of Revelation in which he supported the view that the Antichrist is the Roman pontiff. Newton has been described as an Arian, since he did not believe in the Son’s co-eternity with the Father. His theological works contain more words than his scientific ones.
1688 The Tatar Khan raided Ukraine and enslaved 60,000 inhabitants.
1689Glorious Revolution. In the face of James II’s production of a Roman Catholic heir, William of Orange and Mary II were proclaimed king and queen of England and Scotland. Four hundred English and Scottish bishops refused to swear allegiance to William and Mary and continued to remain faithful to James II. These dissenting bishops came to be known as Nonjurors.
1689 In England, the Toleration Act of this year permitted dissenters to worship.
1689 The Episcopal Church disestablished in Scotland.
1689 The Patriarch Joachim convinced Tsar Peter to expel the few Jesuits who had entered Russia.
1689 Tsar Peter promulgated an edict of toleration for Protestantism. In reaction to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he invited Huguenots to immigrate to Russia.
1690 Prebyterianism reestablished in Scotland.
1692 The Tatar Khan sacked Neimerov in Ukraine and enslaved 2000 inhabitants. Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem wrote to Tsar Peter, “The Crimean Tatars are but a handful, and yet they boast that they receive tribute from you. The Tatars are Turkish subjects, so it follows that you are Turkish subjects. Many times you have boasted that you will do such and such, but all finished with words only and nothing in fact is done.”
1692 Nineteen executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.
1695 The English philospher John Locke, author of Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), published The Reasonableness of Christianity as Delivered in the Scriptures. Locke’s view was that essential Christian doctrine consisted of belief in God and in Jesus as Messiah. He favored religious toleration for Presbyterians, Independents, Arminians, Quakers, and Anabaptists; but he opposed the toleration of atheists or of religious groups which owed allegiance to foreign powers.
1698 Tsar Peter of Russia occasionally attended Quaker worship services when visiting England.
1699 Upon returning from his embassy to western Europe, Tsar Peter changed the Russian New Years day from 1 September (the date used in the Roman (Byzantine) empire) to 1 January, the conventional date in the West. He also altered the method of counting years, adopting the Anno Domini system. Thus, 1 January 7208 (dated according to the “year of the world” – see 5509 B.C.) became 1 January 1700. The tsar did not, however, adopt the Gregorian calendar. He simply conformed Russia’s Julian calendar to the form of the Julian calendar then used in England.
1700 Patriarch Adrian died, and Tsar Peter did not allow a replacement. Instead, he appointed Stephen Yavorsky, the metropolitan of Ryazan, as temporary guardian of the church.
When Patriarch Joachim died in 1690, Peter had supported Metropolitan Marcellus of Pskov for patriarch. Marcellus was a scholar who spoke Latin, Italian and French. Peter later quipped that the Russians had turned Marcellus down for three reasons: “first, because he spoke barbaric language; second, because his beard was not big enough for a patriarch; and third, because his coachman sat upon the coach seat and not upon the horses as was usual.”
1700 By this year, J. J. Scalinger had refuted the notion
that all other languages derive from Hebrew.