Friday, July 10, 2009

Reformed Graves

With Calvin turning 500, I thought it would be interesting to share with you what I've recently discovered about the resting place for Luther, Cranmer, Knox and Calvin.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther died in 1546 aged 62 from ill health. He was buried underneath the pulpit in the Wittenburg Castle Church - fitting since this church "was the making of Luther" and he tied himself to tightly to the preaching of the word.

Thomas Cranmer

The great English reformer who left us with what became the 39 articles and the Book of Common Prayer. He was executed for his leading role in England's reformation in 1556. A small memorial marks the spot where Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were executed.

John Knox

The fiery Scottish reformer had a pretty normal burial. Knox was laid to rest in the grounds of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. Pretty normal - until the Church of Scotland decided to pave paradise and put in a parking lot. You can park you car on top of Knox in spot number 23.

John Calvin

This great reformer died in 1564 after bursting a blood vessel in his lungs (the result of straining his voice during a sermon). According to wikipedia: "At first his body was laid in state, but since so many people came to see it, the reformers were afraid that they would be accused of fostering a new saint's cult. On the following day, he was buried in an unmarked grave in the Cimetière de Plainpalais. While the exact location of the grave is unknown, a stone was added in the 19th century to mark a grave traditionally thought to be Calvin's."


Mike Bull said...

Pave paradise. How hilarious! How Protestant.

micaiahsellsout said...

everytime someone mentions something about the church of Scotland my minister raises the fact that they paved over Knox's grave, shakes his head in disbelief and then sighs...

byron smith said...

Re Knox: As I understand it (from the ever so reliable source of various tour guides, who I think are getting their info from Wikipedia, or vice versa), Knox's grave used to be in the middle of Edinburgh's largest and most important cemetery next to St Giles' Cathedral/High Kirk. It was getting too crowded and bodies were piled three deep so that the top layer of coffins was visible after heavy rain. So they moved hundreds of remains down the street to Greyfriars Kirkyard, where they are also buried in multiple layers, but they left Knox because part of his wishes was to never be further than 50 feet from St Giles'. Why he is only remembered with an unmarked yellow square, I don't know. Sounds like a tour guide story to me but I've heard it far and wide.

As for Cranmer: you've shown us where he died, but I thought you were showing us where these men were buried?

Matthew Moffitt said...

Hi Byron, I've heard the same story...usually from micaiahsellsout.

As for Cranmer, is he buried anywhere? I assumed that as he was burnt at the stake, there wasn't anything left to bury. Do you know different?

byron smith said...

According to the source of all knowledge, his ashes were scattered after his execution, which is itself fascinating. He has no grave. At the time, this was considered part of the punishment, but today it is considered poetic. I think it shows how far our society (and much of the church!) has lost touch with the Christian hope of resurrection.