Your job is to comment and keep me motivated! Let me know you’re out there and following along. Can she make it? Will she? Of course she will! With you as my cheering section, I won’t be stumped by J or Q or even X.
So without further ado, here is today’s post.
X is for John Knox. Yes, I know – it’s not the first letter of his name, but give me a little wiggle room here. After all, he started the Protestant Reformation in Scotland.
Knox was ordained a Catholic priest at St. Andrews in 1536, but after a mentor, George Wishart, was arrested and burned for heresy in March 1546 by Cardinal Beaton, Knox joined the Reformers, some of whom murdered Cardinal Beaton the following May.
He spent years in exile in England, Europe, even as a slave on a French galley. Even after he returned to Scotland, the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, declared him outlaw after he published a misogynistic pamphlet against the rule of women – herself, her daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Mary of England.
With Scotland embroiled in a religious civil war, mobs were sacking cathedrals and priories. Mary of Guise was finally deposed as regent and a protestant was put in her place, making Scotland safe for Knox. In 1559, John Knox was ordained as a minister at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. His fiery sermons there inspired many to violence and were instrumental in driving Catholicism out of Scotland. In 1560, the Scottish Parliament passed three acts removing Scotland from the Pope’s jurisdiction, condemning any doctrine and practice not included the reformed faith, and forbidding Catholic Mass. Knox and others were given the job of organizing the new Kirk.
All was going well until Mary, Queen of Scots, returned from exile to take her throne and continued celebrating Mass. He survived interviews with Mary where he was called upon to explain his statements in several of his sermons. He continued to risk being accused of treason by speaking out against Mary and by promoting the Kirk until Mary abdicated and was later captured and killed by Elizabeth of England.
He lived out his final years in St. Andrews and Edinburgh, speaking and writing until the end.
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