Death of Michael Servetus

On this date, 27 October 1553, Michael Servetus, physician and theologian, was burned at the stake in Geneva, Switzerland, for the crime of rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity. He was the first European to describe pulmonary circulation. The description, unnoticed by any of the heretic hunters who examined Servetus’ books, was hidden in the book that Calvin ordered to be burned along with Servetus himself.

A full description of Servetus’ trial and execution can be found in Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone, Out of the Flames: The Remarkable Story of a Fearless Scholar, a Fatal Heresy, and One of the Rarest Books in the World, or Roland H. Bainton, Hunted Heretic: The Life and Death of Michael Servetus, 1511-1553.

Read more here.

Birth of The Unitarian Church in Transylvania

“Dávid Ferenc” (@unitariandavidferenc) posted this earlier today (6 January 2021) on Facebook:

On this day, January 6, in 1568 king John Sigismund assembled a Diet to be held in the town Torda (today Turda in Romania). At this Diet our Bishop Francis David inspired the delegates to later approve the first toleration edict of freedom of faith among the Christian religions.

This was a new and revolutionary idea of freedom of religion at that time, and therefore January 6 1568 also is considered by tradition to be the birth of The Unitarian Church.

Here’s the famous painting by Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch showing Bishop Francis David at the Diet of Torda. A painting well known by Unitarians.

Francis David at the Diet of Torda, 6 January 1568

You Can Sit Here Any Time

While wandering through Devon on a trip to England a couple of years ago, we came upon the Sidmouth Unitarian Church, the “Dissenter of Sidmouth”, founded in 1710,

Dissenter of Sidmouth

Dissenter of Sidmouth

and we were inspired by the Dissenter Wall.

The Dissenter Wall

The Dissenter Wall — You Can Sit Here Any Time

“You can sit here any time, all ages and beliefs are welcome.”

We shall aspire to this motto.