Jan Łaski

Jan Łaski

Jan Łaski, "John Laski", "Johannes Alasco," "John a Lasco" (1499 - January 8 1560), was a Polish Protestant evangelical reformer.


He was born in Łask, the son of Jaroslaw Łaski, the Palatine of Sieradz Voivodship and Susanna Bak, the daughter of Zbigniew Bak de Bąkowa Góra. His uncle, also Jan Łaski, was by turns royal secretary, Archbishop of Gniezno, Primate of Poland and Grand Chancellor of the Crown. He was the uncle of Sigismund, King of Poland. His Coat of Arms was that of Clan Korab from which his de Lask ancestors descended.

After his family's fall from political power and prestige, Łaski, a learned priest, went in 1523 to Basel, where he was a close friend of Erasmus and Zwingli. He became pastor of a Protestant church at Emden in 1542 and shortly after went to England, where in 1550 he was superintendent of the Strangers' Church of London and had some influence on ecclesiastical affairs in the reign of Edward VI. Under Bloody Mary's persecution, Laski took a shipload of refugees from the Strangers' Church to Copenhagen, but they were refused a place of refuge because they would not accept the Augsburg Confession of Faith. They were re-settled in Brandenburg.

Łaski was a correspondent of John Hooper whom Łaski supported in the vestments controversy.

On the accession of the Roman Catholic Queen Mary he fled to the Continent. In 1556 he was recalled to Poland, where he was secretary to King Sigismund II and was a leader in the Calvinist Reformation.

His contributions to the Reformed churches were the establishment of church government in theory and practice, a denial of any distinction between ministers and elders except in terms of who could teach and administer the sacraments, and an understanding of the eucharist that was more Zwinglian than Calvinistic. Łaski tried to reorient the debate by focusing on the entire ceremony, participation in which "seals" Christians in communion with Christ.

He died in Pinczów, Poland.


* "Forma ac ratio" (1555) -- A "Form and Rationale" for the liturgy of the Stranger churches in London. Possibly influenced the 1552 Book of Common Prayer, John Knox's Scottish order, the Middleburg ordinal, the 1563 German Palatinate order, and the "forms and prayers" in Pieter Dathenus' psalter, which was influential in Dutch Calvinist churches.

* Johannes a Lasco, "Opera", ed. Abraham Kuyper (Amsterdam: F. Muller, 1866).


* Henning P. Juergens, "Johannes a Lasco in Ostfriesland: Der Werdegang eines europaeischen Reformators" (Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002), viii + 428 pp. (Spaetmittelalter und Reformation, Neue Reihe, 18).

* Judith Becker, "Gemeindeordnung und Kirchenzucht. Johannes a Lascos Kirchenordnung für London (1555) und die reformierte Konfessionsbildung" (Leiden: Brill, 2007), xvi, 592 pp. (Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, 122).

ee also

*Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski
*Wacław z Szamotuł

External links

* http://www.go-newfocus.co.uk/articles/jan_laski.htm
* [http://www.jalb.de John a Lasco Library, Emden]

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