[Originally] Produced by the Unitarian Information Department of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches

My own picture of Faustus Socinus is lower down this webpage, and has been shown on my weblog Pluralist Speaks.

A Brief Bibiliography:

Beard, C., Intro: Barker, E. (1883, revised 1927), The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century and its Relation to Modern Thought and Knowledge, Hibbert Lecture, London: Constable

Chadwick, O. (1972), The Reformation, London: Penguin Books

Spears, R. (1876), A Record of Unitarian Worthies, London: Whitfield

Wilbur, E. M. (1978 reprint), History of Unitarianism, 2 vol., Beacon Press & Meadville-Lombard

Wilbur, E. M. (1925), Our Unitarian Heritage, Boston: Beacon Press

'Socinus' in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition

'Unitarianisrn in its Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Settings': Proceedings of the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society, Vol XX pt ii, 1985-1986. ISBN 0082-7819

Published by the Unitarian Information Department of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches 1-6 Essex Street, Strand, LONDON WC2R 3HY
November 1989

Faustus Socinus (1539—1604) by Dr Adrian Worsfold

Personal History

Faustus Socinus (Fausto Sozzini) came from a family which was known for its independent religious thought. His uncle, Laelius, left Italy because of persecution, met and corresponded with Calvin, and travelled to Holland, England, Austria and Poland, and was known as an inquirer and sceptic although not as an antitrinitarian. Three other uncles had been suspected of or charged with the heresy of Lutheranism.
A story exists that after Laelius's death (aged 37) in 1562, Faustus went to Zurich to collect his uncle's papers and was so impressed with the religious opinions expressed that he decided to promote them. But uncle and nephew rarely met and there were few such papers.
Faustus Socinus was in the service of the daughter of the Duke Cozmo Medici, or Cosmo the Great, as a diplomat for 11 years, which was important because it meant that he did not have the usual scholastic training which affected the formation of religious opinion. After 1575, he left Italy for Switzerland. Faustus knew what he believed in a clear manner. Ih Basel he wrote De Jesu Christo Servatore (1578) , a radical book of the times.
He stayed briefly in Transylvania at the time of the controversy and trial of Francis David (1579) but settled in Poland (1580). There he discovered a small Antitrinitarian Church, part of a group of synods slowly developing into an Eccesia Minor but with many internal schism. Although he attempted to join the church in 1580 he did not because it demanded rebaptism, but this did not stop him working with its synods, in effect becoming a leader, and attempting to smooth over many of its internal schisms.


Socinus believed in revelation in Scripture rather than natural religion. Furthermore, there was no difference between Law and Gospel but rather Christianity was a better Law to which eternal life was a reward. As did most Biblical scholars and theologians of the period, he believed that the books of the New Testament were written by the stated authors who of course knew the events they recorded, and there was no reason to suppose their corruption. Rather, they were honest, and the Scriptures were written under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit. Where there were discrepancies between the Gospels these were of a minor and non-essential nature; of all the essentials the Gospels were in agreement.
The important point to Socinus was that all this was obvious to ordinary comprehension. There was no need for Rome to make the Church the interpreter of the Gospels or for Calvin's claim that scripture must be interpreted by the elders of the church. The position of ordinary comprehension had some important effects. The first was that there was no need to go back to before the Nicene Creed [biblical times] to gain authority for interpretation; rather the Scriptures could be read and understood that day. Another effect was that, unlike with justification by faith, Socinus's position was never spiritual. It was intellectual and without charismatic passion. God did not mould souls in his image but rather declared his will and had a reward of eternity for obedience.
Because God had made himself known through humans, one could discriminate. In the first place the Old Testament was subordinate to the New Testament. Secondly the Trinity was abandoned in favour of the Unity of God and the humanity of Christ, although he encouraged the worshipping of Christ as divine. As stated in his book, De Jesu Christo Servatore, Christ's bloody death on the cross did not atone for our sins. He claimed that the resurrection showed the true nature of life and immortality. Ecclesiastical Christianity was seen as a corruption of the primitive truth and Socinus saw his views as being in the real apostolic tradition.

The Socinian Church and Movement

Socinus helped to move the Church from a sect awaiting the millenium (1000 years of divine rule) to a positive and participatory community. But he defended the pacifism of the movement and its detestation of capital punishment.
In 1605, a year after Socinus's death, the Rakowian Catechism was first published in Polish, denying the Trinity and other doctrines like original sin and justification by faith alone.
But already repression was gathering. The Jesuit reaction to Protestants which intensified in the seventeenth century involved Socinus being smeared with filth, his books and papers burned and his life threatened. The Church itself ran into in~re.'ising peril as the Catholic Polish Kinqs grew stronger, and infighting between Protestant groups did not help. After Socinus's time Jesuits and other Catholics gained the upper hand the Christian dissent was crushed (although Jews and Muslims were tolerated) so that by 10th July 1660 Unitarians had either to become Roman Catholics or leave Poland. One group went to Transylvania and existed separately from the Transylvanian Unitarian Church. They simply wanted to be known as Christian, a title which orthodox Christians there denied them. Other groups went to Prussia, and Holland where they faded inside the Remonstrant movement, and altogether the Antitrinitarians (they did not call themselves Socinians) lost ecclesiastical cohesion. But because Socinianism became a term of abuse and of conviction, ideas similar to those that Socinus had proclaimed filtered into different churches aiding the creation of a liberal church culture in the Netherlands and radical ideas within the Church of England and later the ejected English Presbyterians. The Racovian Catechism was an important part of this influence.

Socinus and Today

The biblical views which Socinus stated would be seen today, even by 'orthodox' biblical scholars, as over optimistic in terms of the claimed consistency of the Bible and naive in terms of its content. Like others of his day he simply did not have the critical tools available in order to analyse and understand the Bible. But he was one of those in the Reformation who established the bazis for biblical criticism rather than submission to higher authority, whether that of Rome or Geneva.
He established the principle of common sense and ordinary comprehension. Perhaps today there is a parallel in that Unitarianism uses simple language to express its liberal convictions whereas mainstream biblical theologians employ almost a private language of their own, inaccessible to ordinary believers in the pews who become unnecessarily mystified by liberal views.
But, like the early non-subscribing Presbyterians in England, Socinus did not see any conflict betwen human reason and revelation, and would not have anticipated any de-coupling of the religion of reason and the religion of the Bible. In that sense Socinus was still part of a culture that believed in revelation rather than one which replaced the supernatural with the scientifically secular and rational, and later the subjective and holistic.
Yet it is he who took the Reformation challenge to the supernatural religious culture further than any other person; whereas Calvin challenged Roman Church authority with the certainty of biblical authority within his kind of church structure, Socinus was an influence that moved religion towards the individualism which came to govern the basic assumptions of the new religious culture of the Western world. Conscience, reason and tolerance are all products of the ordinary comprehension which Socinus promoted.

From The Introduction To "Unitarian Worthies" (1876)


"Their altars they forego, their homes they quit,
Fields which they love, and paths they daily trod,
And cast the future upon Providence:
As men, the dictate of whose inward sense
Outweighs the world; whom self-deceiving wit
Lures not from what they deem the cause of God."

WE have intimated that while Nicolas Copernicus, the distinguished astronomer, was brooding over the transparent absurdities which marked the astronomical science of his age, there were other minds on the Continent pondering on the follies, errors, and vices which tainted the Christian Church. Indeed, two great reformations were in progress at the same moment. Rome set her face against them both; she chased over her borders the religious reformers, many of whom took refuge in Switzerland, and some in Poland. It was in Poland that for one hundred years the Unitarian religion appeared to gain a legal and a permanent footing, and to flourish. It has been said that the chief instruments in the early promotion of what is called Socinianism in Poland, about the year 1550, were the fugitive Italians who took refuge in that land of liberty. It was one of those havens where freemen could find shelter, until that safety and the national honour were utterly destroyed by the Roman Catholic Church, which the Jesuits served so successfully in Poland. No one who reads the abominations which have been committed in that country against justice and freedom, at the bidding of the Pope, need wonder that Poland's nationality has been stamped out. In 1543, an utterly immoral priest of Cracow was instrumental in having Catherine Vogel, an aged lady of that city, led out to the market-place and burnt alive, because she affirmed her belief in the existence of only one God, and none other. This was the fate of the first Unitarian in Poland. Count Krasinski would have the world to believe that the only dark spot of religious persecution in his country, is that which was legally ordered against the Socinians. Well, that is a very dark spot; let us try to trace the history of the movement which evoked this persecution in that unhappy land.
In 1546, three years after the death of the wife of Alderman Vogel, we find a small society of eminent scholars, united amongst themselves by the ties of personal friendship, studying the Bible, and also resolved upon promoting what they discerned to be God's truth. They were more fortunate in their country than our brethren in Italy, who, at the same time, were engaged in a like pursuit. They were not commanded to flee for their lives. They formed the nucleus of a grand movement, which developed itself in the course of twenty years, and affected more or less all the Protestant Churches of Poland for a time. We may remark that this investigation occurred before the names of the Socini were known in Poland. About the year 1550, several Italians joined the Polish Churches, and largely helped their brethren of Poland to defend and diffuse a true knowledge of the Scriptures. In 1552 the Bible was translated, chiefly by Unitarian scholars, into the Polish language; and this translation was adopted by all the Protestant Churches. It was well known, soon after this time, to the Protestants throughout Europe, that Unitarianisrn was spreading rapidly among the Polish Churches, and this was greatly helped by emigrants who had fled there for refuge. Furious letters were written by Calvin and Beza, and also by the Pope. Calvin, Beza, and the Pope all agreed that the Trinitarians ought to be up and doing, and employ even coercive measures to stem this heresy. A Pole writes at that time, about the year 1555, "The abominable locusts of Arians, &c., increase and spread over all Poland, through the supineness of our magistrates." But it was not an easy matter to prosecute the men at the head of this movement; many of them were men of first rank, Polish noblemen, gentlemen, and scholars. Now and then Unitarians were cast into prison, but soon released again. Synods were held year after year. In 1560 it was too late for repressive measures, for in some of the synods the majority were in favour of the doctrine of one God, and letters from Poland reported that the whole Protestant Church of Poland was in much danger of becoming heretical. The Anabaptists of Pinczow had also adopted the Unitarian views, and formulated them into a creed. The strong point of the Unitarian party in controversy was the Bible. They set at naught the arguments of their opponents, adduced from creeds and councils. From 1560 to 1570, the strife of parties was at its climax. It was during this period that the Jesuits influenced the Government to order all foreigners who disbelieved in the Trinity to leave the country; and this order was enforced. It was also during this period that, with the help of Socinus, the Unitarians organised themselves, and distinctly defined their position. Not a few scholastic establishments had given in their adhesion to the new doctrine, and had become Anti-trinitarian. Here, again, we must observe that the movement had its origin in a careful study of the Bible. The Unitarians were known in some places by the name of Pinczovians, Racovians, Farnovians, and other names, borrowed sometimes from places, sometimes from persons. It was not until 1570, or later, that the movement as a whole, was designated Socinian, from the very active aiid organising efforts of Socinus. We may say that, in 1570, the two parties in the Protestant Church were clearly defined, and from that time held little fellowship with each other. The Trinitarians withdrew their chldren from public schools which the Unitarians governed, and also protested against reading any books written by their opponents. They also excluded from their churches, after 1570, all persons who did not believe in the Holy Trinity. From this time Catholic and Protestant joined together to oppose, harass, and defeat the Unitarian movement. That defeat, in less than 100 years, was thoroughly accomplished, and was followed by other most disastrous results to the life and nationality of Poland.
The Unitarian party published their Catechism of Doctrines in 1574. We may observe, that then there were various shades of opinions prevalent among them. Some were Arian. They founded a sect called the Farnovians, after their leader Farnovius. Others were Humanitarians. Some offered prayers to Christ, while others did not. In 1578 Faustus Socinus went to Poland for the second time, and resided there till his death in 1604. Our readers may easily understand that considerable feeling would exist between the followers of Budny, a man of great learning, who rejected all worship of Christ, and the followers of Socinus, who defended it as a Christian privilege. In 1588 Socinus was able to unite these different sections, and to give them a uniform religious system, on which they now agreed. On the question of peace or war, resistance to enemies, they were still divided: some fought valiantly in the army, others were opposed altogether to bearing arms. The relative value of the Bible, about the year 1610, became a subject of warm debate, which divided them. The Arian party rejoined the general body about the year 1620. Many meetings were held to effect a union with other Protestant Churches during the early part of the seventeenth century, but without the desired result. The most suceessful period of the Unitarian movement in Poland was from 1585 to 1638. Racow was the head quarters of the body, and one of the most influential towns in Poland. It was then the chief seat of learning, with about one thousand pupils in the Unitarian schools. If enjoyed also a large commerce, a great printing establishment, and was the source of the best books of the day. Important churches and schools existed in other parts of Poland, but for fifty years Racow stood to Unitarianism in Poland, much as Boston now does to Unit arian~sm in America. From Racow many Unitarian youths were sent to German universities, and some also as missionaries to different countries.
We have intimated that the Church of the Polish Brethren was utterly overthrown by the union of its various opponents. Writers on Polish history affirm that the hostility of the Church of Rorne, the intrigues of the Jesuits, and the too ready willingness of the Protestant party, in the course of a quarter of a century accomplished this sad business. Krasinski says, "the Protestants, feeling the danger to which themselves would be exposed if they permitted the common enemy to crush the constitutional liberties of their dogmatical antagonists, resisted for some time the infraction of those liberties, but they were soon persuaded by the Romanists to abandon the Socinians; and they joined the Romanists in assailing them." Two foolish boys had destroyed a wooden cross at Racow. The Catholics retaliated and destroyed, by the help of the magistrates, in 1638, the church, the school, and the printing office of the Unitarians. From that time no Unitarian was safe in the town, and it soon after dwindled into a miserable village. The persecution of the Unitarians went on throughout the country - nothing could arrest it; other churches and other schools were destroyed, and severe measures were adopted against the professors of Unitarianism. The Roman Catholic portion, like a successful army, harassed the Unitarians everywhere. In 1648 all their rights as citizens were taken from them. In 1656 the Romish priests led a band of 300 peasants against many Unitarian villages, and burned their habitations, and in some eases murdered and mutilated tbe inhabitants. Other Protestants at the same time suffered much. King John Casimir had made a vow to the Virgin Mary to convert all the unbelievers, and this was one of the methods. Finally, it was resolved to expel from Poland all the Socinians who would not embrace Romanism. They had not the choice of thie Protestant Church. They must hasten away beyond the boundaries of that nation in 1660, or adopt the Roman faith. They were obliged to sell their property which bore no proportion to its real value. Insult of every kind was heaped on them; they were disallowed all public religious exercises. They were persecuted in every form and manner everywhere. They petitioned the King, they implored a little more time than two years to be given them to make their arrangements. They hoped against hope, and many of them could not at last believe that they would be driven forth, although some of their companions and friends had been beaten and mutilated for no reason but their religious views. It will be readily understood that throughout Europe there was little sympathy for them in any Catholic or Protestant State. The time drew on, and they must face their bad fortune, or declare themselves Catholics. Here was a noble band of men and women who win our admiration. Here was a sad sight - men of patriarchal years, and babies in their mothers' arms, and little children led by other children, and the whole air of neighbourhoods filled with sadness at the sight of a high-minded and faithful people, leaving their fields white for harvest, their rich orchards, their fattened flocks, all their property, their fatherland, and their homes, wandering away they knew not whither, rather than betray their Saviour with lies, or renounce their conscientious faith in the only true God. There is many a sad story of that pilgrimage. Some went to one country, and some went to another. A great number of these unfortunate emigrants were attacked at different places by murderers and robbers, and when their lives were saved, they were stripped of all they had. Mr. Firmin collected in London a sum of money to relieve their distress, and from Germany also some help was sent them. But how little could all this do to lighten the distress into which, for their religion, they had been plunged! They were even menaced in other countries, and suffered serious annoyance almost everywhere.


"Faustus Paulus Socinus"

The first part of his life, till he had attained the age of twenty-three, was employed in studying the civil law. But he had, in the meantime, imbibed some principles of religious inquiry, and gained an insight into the prevailing errors of the day.
In the year 1562, while he was residing at Lyons, he heard of the unexpected death of his uncle, Laelius, at Zurich. He immediately repaired thither to take possession of his uncle's manuscripts.
After an absence of about three years, which he spent chiefly in Switzerland, Faustus returned to Italy. Having formed an acquaintance with the Grand Duke of Tuscany, he lived twelve years at his Court, discharging the most honourable duties there, and eminently distinguished by the favour of that Prince. At the end of this term he entered into a serious consideration of the value of the different objects that solicit the attention of men, and of the true end and highest happiness of human life. The result of these reflections was that, as William Penn says, Socinus "voluntarily did abandon the glories, pleasures, and honours of a great Court," in order to be the more free to seek his own salvation and that of others.
The Antitrinitarians of Transylvania invited Faustus from Basle. From Transylvania, in 1579, he repaired to Poland. As he had resolved that Poland should in future be his adopted country, he felt desirous of being admitted as a member of those of its Churches which acknowledged the Father only to be the Supreme God. Not agreeing with them, however, upon some minor points, he met with a refusal; but he bore the disappointment with equanimity. By his frequent disputations and writings, in defence of what he deemed the cause of God and of Truth, he exasperated many. Some of these accused him to the king, and said that it would be a reflection upon his government to suffer the author of these writings, whom they invidiously styled "an Italian vagrant" and exile, to go unpunished. Upon this Faustus left Cracow, where he had resided about four years, and retired to the neighbouring seat of Christopher Morstinius, a Polish nobleman, where his innocence was protected by the privilege of the nobility of Poland;. for at that time the Polish nobles exercised nearly an absolute authority in their own districts. This nobleman also gave him his daughter in marriage, by which Socinus became connected with the first families in Poland.
About three or four months after the birth of a daughter, he lost his wife. Nor was this all; for, by the death of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, he was deprived of the revenues arising out of his estates in Italy, which had before been regularly transmitted to him as they became due. Yet he bore his sufferings with meekness and patience. Having returned to Cracow, he sought consolation, amidst his personal and domestic afflictions, and amidst the turbulence of the times, in striving to purge away the errors which then prevailed throughout the Christian world - an employment to which he felt himself called by the special Providence of God.
His influence was completely established at the Synod of Brest, in Lithuania, in 1585; where he removed all the differences that divided the Antitrinitarians of Poland, and gave unity to their Churches, by moulding their previously undefined and discordant opinions into one complete and harmonious religious system.
Faustus, however, besides being exposed to various petty annoyances from his Protestant adversaries, had become particularly obnoxious to the Catholic inhabitants of Cracow. In the year 1598, when he was ill, the rabble, instigated by the students of the university, dragged him from his bed hall-naked, and forced him though the streets with the intention of murdering him. But he was at length rescued from their fury by the interposition of two of the professors of the university. On this occasion Faustus was plundered of his library, which was destroyed by the mob. He retired a second time from Cracow, and found an asylum at Luclavice (now called Luslawice), a village which lay about thirty miles from that city.
Having succeeded in bringing the Polish Unitarians into a state of harmony, lie was taken away by death on the 3rd of March, 1604. His last words were, that, not less satiated with life than with the calamities which he had felt, he was expecting, with joyful and undaunted hope, that last moment which would bring with it a release from his trials and a recompense of his labours.

Some background events that help to put Faustus Socinus into context, by Rev John Clifford, Unitarian Information Officer

Polish national and political development

During the 16th Century, Poland was moving from feudal, local barons with almost complete autonomy towards nationhood. Part of this involved centralising political authority and legal framework. The philosophical debate on the authority of the State was itself influenced by the peculiar Polish response to centralised church authority. Polish experience of religious authority had led to a distrust, even by many Catholics, of absolutist claims. The debate was whether political authority (previously accepted on grounds of traditon or force) derived directly from God or was mediated by a deliberative, parliamentary body which could revoke authority when it was abused. Those who believed in Divine Right saw tolerance as a weakness leading to chaos; those who believed in parliamentary authority saw tolerance as part of the necessary deliberations. The drive to unification involved compromises between various sections of the country. Poland was the most open and tolerant society in Europe at that time and became a haven for religious dissidents unwelcome anywhere else. This meant that Anabaptists and dissenting Calvinists had, for a relatively brief period, freedom to search for truth in unusually open dialogue.
The Minor Reformed Church (Polish Brethren) arose out of an interplay between the Anabaptist utopian idealism and questioning within the Reformed (Calvinist) church. Anabaptists believed in withdrawal from the desires of the world to form communistic communities in which to practise radical equality, pacifism, lack of personal possessions, and tight church discipline. Their theology for a time was anti-trinitarian although in the 17th Century this became more orthodox while at the same time their social practices remained very unorthodox. Socinianism is, to some extent, a story of opposite tendencies: the development of unorthodox theology while social practices became more conventional.

Jacob Palaeologus

A clear example of the latter tendency is found in the response of Socinus to Palaeologus's criticism of Anabaptist utopianism and pacifism. Socinus wrote a vigourous defense of these positions in response to Palaeologus but subsequently altered his views and his advice to the Polish Brethren. These altered views became the stabilising rules which united the various dissenting factions and provided the consistent framework that led to the brief flowering of the Polish Brethren and to the subsequent spread of their ideas when they were expelled and dispersed.

Michael Servetus

Most Unitarians know that Servetus was an anti-trinitarian burnt at the stake for heresy in Geneva. Horrified reaction to this was a factor in spreading ideas of greater tolerance while it led others to question the Trinity even when they didn't agree with his particular theology. Servetus believed in a modified Trinity where Christ was wholly a divine creation sent as part of God's struggle with the Devil. Socinus, on the other hand, based his objection to the Trinity on a reasoned approach to Scripture which emphasised the humanity of Christ, whose importance was not as a ransom for our sins but as an example for us to follow. One consequence of this difference was that Servetus speculated on divine mysteries and prophesies (including the date for the impending end of the world) while Socinus argued the pros and cons of social ethics.

Rakow and the Racovian Catechism

Rakow was founded as an anti-trinitarian utopian community. Early years were characterised by intense debate and splits on both theological and social matters. The first Racovian Catechism apparently appeared only five years after the community was founded, but the important and really influential edition was that of 1605 - the first edition published in Polish and one whose content was set by Socinus and his followers. In the period between these two editions Rakow grew to become an important centre of religious tolerance and liberal thought. With the establishment of a printing press and school it also acted as a magnet to anti-trinitarians, much as Rome does to Roman Catholics. Socinus is thus important to us not as an isolated martyr (like Servetus or Biddle) but as the prime theologian and unifyer of a religious community which was persecuted and dispersed yet whose ideas influenced the development of liberal Christianity, including the strands of thought and relationships which led to our British Unitarian and Free Christian churches.

Useful dates for putting Faustus Socinus' s work into context

1525 Laelius Socinus (uncle of Faustus) born on 14 May
1531 On the Errors of the Trinity" published by Michael Servetus
1539 Catherine Vogel burnt to death for Unitarian ideas in Poland
Faustus Socinus born on 5 December
1540 Jesuit Order founded
1550 Laelius Socinus goes to Wittenberg to study
1551 Laelius Socinus visits Poland
1553 Michael Servetus burnt to death in Geneva on 27 October
1556 Reformed (Calvinist) Synod in Poland shaken by anti-trinitarian arguments of Peter Gonesius
1559 Reformed Synod in Poland discusses the Nature of Christ
1560 George Blandrata becomes an Elder of the Church of Little Poland
1561 George Blandrata attends Polish Reformed Synod
1562 Polish condemnation of unscriptural phrases in creeds and sermons
  Laelius Socinus dies in Switzerland on 11 May
1563 Reformed Synod at Cracow agrees anti-trinitarian views and breaks (or 1565) with Calvinists, forming Minor Reformed Chruch (also known as Polish Brethren)
1566 Francis David attends Synod at Cracow
1568 Edict of Torda (Transylvania) gives freedom of religion to the Recognised churches, including the Unitarian, in that country
1569 Rakow founded as utopian community by anti-trinitarians
1571 Prince John Sigismund Zapolya of Transylvania dies
1572 King Sigismund Augustus of Poland and Lithuania dies
Jacob Palaeologus writes "de bello sententia", attacking pacifism and other utopian practices of Anabaptists and anti-trinitarians
1573 Warsaw Convention provides legal safeguards for freedom of religion in Poland, including the Polish Brethren.
1574 First edition of Racovian Catechism printed (in Latin)
1575 Socinus moves from Italy to Switzerland
1578 Socinus writes "De Jesu Christo servatore"
1579 Socinus meets Francis David at invitation of Blandrata, tries unsuccessfully to persuade David that prayers can be offered to Christ
1580 Socinus moves to Cracow
Francis David dies in prison for "innovation"
Jacob Palaeologus's "de bello sententia' is published
1581 Socinus publishes reply to Palaeologus, defending pacifism
1588 George Blandrata dies
Synod at Brest, Lithuania, unites rival anti-trinitarians under the influence and philosophy of Faustus Socinus
1598 Socinus's library plundered by mob and his life threatened Synod permits bearing arms for defensive purposes
1601 & 1602 Synod seminars by Socinus urge positions similar to Palaeologus
1604 Faustus Socinus dies
1605 First Polish edition of Racovian Catechism published 1638 Destruction of anti-trinitarian centre in Rakow by civic and Roman Catholic authorities
1660 Expulsion of anti-trinitarians from Poland
1680 Reprint of Racovian Catechism in the Netherlands

N.B. Not all sources agree on all of the above dates but the general sequence seems reliable.


Adrian Worsfold
Originally 1989, webpage March 2010

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful