Sunday, June 7, 2020

We remember the year 1529 and the birth of Etienne Pasquier. The reading is from Luther's Small Catechism, the explanation of the First Article of the Creed.

It is the 7th of June 2020. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at, I’m Dan van Voorhis.

The year was 1529.

The Reformation movement was underway and beginning to consolidate in some regions. The Orebro synod in Sweden recognized Lutheranism as the state religion following the actions of King Gustav Vasa, abolishing Catholic church property.

In England, the first Reformation parliament met. Henry was still married to Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, and England was still technically Catholic. But these parliaments, under the influence of Thomas Cromwell, began to disestablish the church by removing clerical authority in the government.

The Flensburg Disputation took place in 1529. It was a convening of both Lutherans and Anabaptists in Denmark to discuss the Reformation settlement. The nobility sided with Johannes Bugenhagen arguing on behalf of the Lutherans. And the Danish church would avoid radical elements of the Anabaptist movement.

And 1529 saw the Diet of Speyer convene. Many imperial diets were held at this location, even one three years prior. But it was the diet of 1529 that officially banned Lutheranism in the Empire, leading to the protestation at Speyer. This was the resistance of reform-minded pastors. Their protesting led to them being given the name “protestants.” Like many pejoratives, the name stuck.

In 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent was on the move. By mid-year, he would begin his siege on Vienna, having already been successful at the Battle of Mohacs. The massive army terrified the Europeans who heard about it. But when the Ottomans were turned back at Vienna later in the year, it marked the end of the threat of annihilation by the Turks. In 1529 Martin Luther wrote his “On War Against the Turk.” in this work, Luther changed course having previously urged against resisting the invaders. In this work, he blessed non-religious wars, stating that he was not by any means siding with the Pope on this issue, despite having similar goals.

Martin Luther also had his Small Catechism published in 1529. it was presented as a simple tool for household learning. it was perhaps the first official theological confession of the Lutheran Reformation. Most reformation works had been polemical, but this led to confusion as to what the doctrinal differences between the church bodies were. The Small Catechism would remain one of the most basic and straightforward expositions of Reformation doctrine.

Also published this year was Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s “Declamation on the Preeminence and Nobility of the Female Sex.” He argues in this work that women have been traditionally superior in many of the spheres of which they had been kept out. Interestingly, this publication coincided with the so-called “Ladies Peace.” The treaty of Cambrai yielded peace between France and the Empire. When the heads of state couldn’t find common ground, Louise of Savoy and Margaret of Austria negotiated and signed the armistice on behalf of the more belligerent gentleman who couldn’t get it done.

In 1529 George Blaurock, the head of the Swiss Anabaptists, died, as did Baldesarre Castiglione who wrote “The Courtier.” This massively famous book was to daily life what Machiavelli’s “The Prince” was to the halls of power.

Michael Neander was born in 1529, and he would become a preeminent German academic and astronomer. Christopher Barker was born in this year. He would become the official printer for Queen Elizabeth I.

And also born on this, the 7th of June in the year 1529, Étienne Pasquier, the lawyer, historian, and perennial pebble in the proverbial Jesuit shoe. Pasquier was born in Paris. He studied among the great humanist scholars at the University of Paris and was admitted to the bar in 1549. He worked as a lawyer until 1557 when he married a wealthy young widow that he had previously defended in court. The following year Étienne became deathly ill when he inadvertently ate poisonous mushrooms. He convalesced for two years, and it was in this period that he began to write his magnum opus, a ten-volume history of France. In it, he sought to compare his country’s past to the glory of ancient Rome. It was a landmark in historiography and relative precision if not severely tilted towards his kin.

The most important aspect of this work and his life was possibly his criticism of the Jesuits. The Jesuits were militant missionaries carrying on the tradition of their leader, Ignatius of Loyola. Étienne himself was ambivalent about the reformation movement but saw the incursion of this roman element at his alma mater as potentially dangerous. He gave a famous speech at the university that was credited with having the Jesuits ousted from Paris. He wrote a satirical work, “the Catechism of the Jesuits,” which ridiculed the religious order and became a standard anti-Jesuit text used across Europe during the so-called persecution of the Jesuits that marked much of the 17th century. Étienne Pasquier retired from public life in 1604 and lived more than ten years afterward, writing occasional letters until he died in 1615. Born on this day in 1529, Étienne Pasquier was 86 years old.

The reading for today comes from the Small Catechism of Martin Luther published this year. in Luther’s Explanation of the Creed, he states the first clause and explicates it for all to understand.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

Answer: I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason, and all my senses, and still takes care of them, he also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals and all that I have; He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and defends me from all evil; and all this he does out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all this it is my duty to thank, praise, serve and obey him.

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 7th of June 2020 brought to you by 1517 at

The show is produced by Anne Gillespie’s husband. The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis. You can catch us here every day. And remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true. Everything is going to be ok.



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