Scottish Reformation
The Scottish Reformation was Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

's formal break with the Papacy
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 in 1560, and the events surrounding this. It was part of the wider Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

; and in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in the triumph of English
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 influence over that of the Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France was one of the most powerful states to exist in Europe during the second millennium.It originated from the Western portion of the Frankish empire, and consolidated significant power and influence over the next thousand years. Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, developed a...


The Reformation Parliament
Scottish Reformation Parliament
The Scottish Reformation Parliament is the name given to the Scottish Parliament commencing in 1560 that passed the major pieces of legislation leading to the Scottish Reformation, most importantly Confession of Faith Ratification Act 1560; and Papal Jurisdiction Act 1560 .right|thumb|[[John...

 of 1560, which repudiated the pope's authority, forbade the celebration of the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 and approved a Protestant Confession of Faith
Confession of Faith
A Confession of Faith is a statement of doctrine very similar to a creed, but usually longer and polemical, as well as didactic.Confessions of Faith are in the main, though not exclusively, associated with Protestantism...

, was made possible by a revolution against French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 hegemony. Prior to that, Scotland was under the regime of the regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 Mary of Guise
Mary of Guise
Mary of Guise was a queen consort of Scotland as the second spouse of King James V. She was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and served as regent of Scotland in her daughter's name from 1554 to 1560...

, who had governed in the name of her absent daughter Mary, Queen of Scots (then also Queen
Queen consort
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

 of France).

The Scottish Reformation decisively shaped the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 and, through it, all other Presbyterian churches worldwide.

Pressure to reform

From the fifteenth century, Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 humanism had already encouraged critical theological reflection and calls for ecclesiastical renewal in Scotland. Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's doctrinal ideas were influential in Scotland. As early as 1525 the Scottish Parliament
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 thought it necessary to forbid the importation of Lutheran books, and to suppress 'his heresies or opinions' throughout the realm. However, this attempt was largely unsuccessful.

In 1528, the nobleman Patrick Hamilton
Patrick Hamilton (martyr)
Patrick Hamilton was a Scottish churchman and an early Protestant Reformer in Scotland. He travelled to Europe, where he met several of the leading reforming thinkers, before returning to Scotland to preach...

, influenced by Lutheran theology whilst at the universities of Wittenberg and Marburg, became the first Protestant martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 when he was burned at the stake
Execution by burning
Death by burning is death brought about by combustion. As a form of capital punishment, burning has a long history as a method in crimes such as treason, heresy, and witchcraft....

 for heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, outside St Salvator's College at Saint Andrews. (Hamilton had been spreading his message with the use of Patrick's Places, a short catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 founded on the doctrine of justification by faith). However, the celebration, particularly in printed works, of Hamilton's stance, only served to increase interest in the new ideas. Indeed, the Archbishop of St Andrews was warned against any further such public executions as "the reek of Maister Patrik Hammyltoun has infected as many as it blew upon". Further prosecutions and executions followed in the 1530s and 40s.

In 1541 Parliament deemed it necessary to pass further legislation protecting the honour of the Mass, prayer to the Virgin Mary, images of the saints, and the authority of the pope. Private meetings of 'heretics where there errors are spread' were prohibited, informers rewarded, and Protestant sympathisers barred from royal office. All this was testimony to the growing attraction of Protestant ideas.

The cause of reform also enjoyed influential support. At this time, the clergy produced a list for the king of over a hundred landowners disaffected to the church. Such was the strength of sympathisers of reformation that, on the death of James V
James V of Scotland
James V was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss...

 in 1542, they were able to form a government (under the vacillating Earl of Arran
James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran
James Hamilton, Duke of Châtellerault and 2nd Earl of Arran was a Scottish nobleman.-Biography:He was the eldest legitimate son of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran....

 who, at that point, favoured an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 alliance and reforming causes).

Reforming Councils

The pre-Reformation Church did respond to some of the criticism being made against it. John Hamilton
John Hamilton (archbishop)
The Most Rev. Dr. John Hamilton , Scottish prelate and politician, was an illegitimate son of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran....

 (the last pre-reformation Archbishop of St Andrews
Archbishop of St Andrews
The Bishop of St. Andrews was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of St Andrews and then, as Archbishop of St Andrews , the Archdiocese of St Andrews.The name St Andrews is not the town or church's original name...

) instigated a series of provincial councils (1549–59) modelled on the contemporaneous Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

. These blamed the advance of the Protestant heresies on "the corruption of morals and the profane lewdness of life in churchmen of all ranks, together with crass ignorance of literature and of the liberal arts". In 1548, attempts were made to eliminate concubinage
Concubinage is the state of a woman or man in an ongoing, usually matrimonially oriented, relationship with somebody to whom they cannot be married, often because of a difference in social status or economic condition.-Concubinage:...

, clerical pluralism
A benefice is a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services. The term is now almost obsolete.-Church of England:...

, clerical trading, and non-residence, and to prohibit unqualified persons from holding church offices. Further, the clergy were enjoined to scriptural reflection and bishops and parsons instructed to preach at least four times a year. Monks were to be sent to university, and theologians appointed for each monastery, college and cathedral. However, in 1552, it was acknowledged that little had been accomplished. Attendance at Mass was still sparse and "the inferior clergy of this realm and the prelates have not, for the most part, attained such proficiency in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures as to be able by their own efforts rightly to instruct the people in the catholic faith and other things necessary to salvation or to convert the erring". The internal reform seemed too little, too late.

Political background (1543–59)

By 1535, the English king, Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, had broken with Rome and had been excommunicated. He had also permitted the reading of the Bible in the native tongue. These 'English heresies' were an additional influence on events in Scotland. Ecclesiastical ideas were linked to political manoeuvring. English policy from the 1530s aimed at enticing Scotland away from its traditional ties to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (the 'Auld alliance
Auld Alliance
The Auld Alliance was an alliance between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. It played a significant role in the relations between Scotland, France and England from its beginning in 1295 until the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh. The alliance was renewed by all the French and Scottish monarchs of that...

') and Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. In the 1540s Henry sought a treaty for the marriage of his infant son Edward
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

 to the infant Mary (by then Queen of Scots): the regent, Arran, approved this match in August 1543 (by the Treaties of Greenwich). However, reaction against it in Scotland allowed a coup by Cardinal David Beaton that December. Beaton repudiated the reforming policies, and all consideration of an English marriage for the Queen. The result was Henry's 'Rough Wooing' of 1544–5, which devastated south-east Scotland, and was only halted by the defeat of the invaders at Ancrum Moor
Battle of Ancrum Moor
The Battle of Ancrum Moor was fought during the War of the Rough Wooing in 1545. The Scottish victory put a temporary end to English depredations in the Scottish border and lowlands.-Background :...

 in February 1545.

In 1546, Beaton had arrested and executed George Wishart
George Wishart
George Wishart was a Scottish religious reformer and Protestant martyr.He belonged to a younger branch of the Wisharts of Pitarrow near Montrose. He may have graduated M.A., probably at King's College, Aberdeen, and was certainly a student at the University of Leuven, from which he graduated in 1531...

, a preacher who came under the influence of John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 — and had indeed translated the First Helvetic Confession
Helvetic Confessions
Helvetic Confessions, the name of two documents expressing the common belief of the Reformed churches of Switzerland.The First Helvetic Confession , known also as the Second Confession of Basel, was drawn up at that city in 1536 by Heinrich Bullinger and Leo Jud of Zürich, Kaspar Megander of Bern,...

 into Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

. Retribution quickly followed. A group of rebels seized Beaton's castle at Saint Andrews
St Andrews Castle
St Andrew's Castle is a picturesque ruin located in the coastal Royal Burgh of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. The castle sits on a rocky promontory overlooking a small beach called Castle Sands and the adjoining North Sea. There has been a castle standing at the site since the times of Bishop Roger...

, and murdered him. These 'Castelians' (who, after the murder, were joined by a renegade priest, and student of Wishart's, named John Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

) held out in the castle until 1547
Siege of St Andrews Castle
The Siege of St Andrews Castle followed the killing of Cardinal David Beaton by a group of Protestants at St Andrews Castle. They remained in the castle and were besieged by the Governor of Scotland. However, over 18 months the Scottish besieging forces made little impact, and the Castle finally...

, when they were forced to surrender to a French squadron and were imprisoned or taken as galley slaves. English forces arrived too late to save them, but nevertheless, having defeated the Scots at Pinkie
Battle of Pinkie Cleugh
The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, on the banks of the River Esk near Musselburgh, Scotland on 10 September 1547, was part of the War of the Rough Wooing. It was the last pitched battle between Scottish and English armies, and is seen as the first modern battle in the British Isles...

, occupied south-east Scotland with forts at Lauder
The Royal Burgh of Lauder is a town in the Scottish Borders 27 miles south east of Edinburgh. It is also a royal burgh in the county of Berwickshire. It lies on the edge of the Lammermuir Hills, on the Southern Upland Way.-Medieval history:...

, Haddington
Haddington, East Lothian
The Royal Burgh of Haddington is a town in East Lothian, Scotland. It is the main administrative, cultural and geographical centre for East Lothian, which was known officially as Haddingtonshire before 1921. It lies about east of Edinburgh. The name Haddington is Anglo-Saxon, dating from the 6th...

 and an outpost at Dundee
Broughty Castle
Broughty Castle is a historic castle in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland. It was completed around 1495, although the site was earlier fortified in 1454 when George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus received permission to build on the site. His son Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus was coerced into...

. This occupation (1547–49) encouraged the reforming cause; English Bibles circulated freely, and several earls pledged themselves 'to cause the word of God to be taught and preached'.

To counter the English, the Scots secured French help, the price of which was the betrothal of the infant Queen to the French dauphin, the future Francis II
Francis II of France
Francis II was aged 15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father, King Henry II, in 1559. He reigned for 18 months before he died in December 1560...

; she departed to France in 1548. At this point, "the policy of Henry VIII had failed completely". French ascendancy was made absolute over the next decade. Arran, in 1554, was given the title Duke du Châtellerault
Duke of Châtellerault
The French noble title of Duke of Châtellerault has been created several times.The first was for François de Bourbon-Montpensier, a younger son of Gilbert, Comte de Montpensier. He received the duchy-peerage of Châtellerault in 1515, but died the same year, being succeeded by his brother Charles,...

 and removed from the regency in favour of Mary of Guise (the Queen Mother). During her regency (1554–59), Frenchmen were put in charge of the treasury, the Great Seal
Great Seal of Scotland
The Great Seal of Scotland allows the monarch to authorise official documents without having to sign each document individually. Wax is melted in a metal mould or matrix and impressed into a wax figure that is attached by cord or ribbon to documents that the monarch wishes to make official...

, and the French ambassador
Henri Cleutin
Henri Cleutin, seigneur d'Oisel et de Villeparis , was the representative of France in Scotland from 1546 to 1560, and a Gentleman of the Chamber of the King of France.-Rough Wooing to Reformation:...

 sometimes attended the Privy Council
Privy Council of Scotland
The Privy Council of Scotland was a body that advised the King.In the range of its functions the council was often more important than the Estates in the running the country. Its registers include a wide range of material on the political, administrative, economic and social affairs of Scotland...


Lords of the Congregation

At first Mary of Guise cultivated the now growing number of Protestant preachers. She needed to win support for her pro-French policies, and they could expect no alternative support from England, which had recently come under the rule of the Catholic Mary Tudor
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

. However, the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to the dauphin in 1558 heightened fears that Scotland would become a French province.

By 1557, a group of Scottish lords (known as 'the Lords of the Congregation
Lords of the Congregation
The Lords of the Congregation were a group of Protestant Scottish nobles who in the mid-16th century favoured reformation of the church along Protestant principles and a Scottish-English alliance.- Historical events :...

') drew up a covenant to 'maintain, set forth, and establish the most blessed Word of God and his Congregation.' This was followed by outbreaks of iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 in 1558–9. At the same time, plans were being drawn up for a Reformed programme of parish worship and preaching, as local communities sought out Protestant ministers. In 1558, the Regent summoned the Protestant preachers to answer for their teaching, but backed down when lairds from the west country threatened to revolt.

Reformation crisis (1559–60)

The accession, in England, of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 in 1558 gave fresh hope to the reformers. January 1559 saw the publication of the anonymous Beggars' Summons, which threatened friars with eviction on the grounds that their property belonged to the genuine poor. This was calculated to appeal to the passions of the populace of towns who appeared to have particular complaints against friars. Fearing disorder, the Regent summoned the reformed preachers to appear before her at Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

 on May 10: insurrection followed. The men of Angus assembled in Dundee to accompany the preachers to Stirling, on May 4 they were joined by Knox recently arrived from France. Here, stirred by Knox's sermons in Perth and Dundee, the mob sacked religious houses (including the tomb of James I
James I of Scotland
James I, King of Scots , was the son of Robert III and Annabella Drummond. He was probably born in late July 1394 in Dunfermline as youngest of three sons...

) at Perth. In response, the Regent marched on Perth, but was forced to withdraw and negotiate when another reformed contingent arrived from the west.

Among the Regent's ambassadors was the Earl of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll was one of the leading figures in the politics of Scotland during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the early part of that of James VI.-Biography:...

 and Lord James Stewart
James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray
James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray , a member of the House of Stewart as the illegitimate son of King James V, was Regent of Scotland for his nephew, the infant King James VI of Scotland, from 1567 until his assassination in 1570...

, both professed Protestants. When the Regent stationed French mercenaries in Perth, both abandoned her and joined the Lords of the Congregation at St Andrews, where they were joined by John Knox. Even Edinburgh soon fell to them in July, as Mary retreated to Dunbar
Dunbar Castle
Dunbar Castle is the remnants of one of the most mighty fortresses in Scotland, situated over the harbour of the town of Dunbar, in East Lothian.-Early history:...

. A truce was made at Leith Links
Leith Links
Leith Links is the principal open space within Leith, the harbour district of Edinburgh, Scotland. This public park extends to . In its current form it is largely flat and bordered by mature trees. Historically it was an undulating area of former sand-dunes utilised as a golf links.-Current...

 on 24 July 1559, and the Congregation agreed by the Articles of Leith
Articles of Leith
The Articles of Leith were the terms of truce drawn up between the Protestant Lords of the Congregation and Mary of Guise, Regent of Scotland and signed on 25 July 1559. This negotiation was a step in the conflict that led to the Scottish Reformation...

 to vacate Holyroodhouse and hand over the coining irons seized from the mint. On 26 July the Lords left Edinburgh for Linlithgow and Stirling. In September, Chatelherault, with the safe return of his son, the Earl of Arran
James Hamilton, 3rd Earl of Arran
James Hamilton, 3rd Earl of Arran was a Scottish nobleman and soldier who fought against French troops during the Scottish Reformation....

, accepted the leadership of the Lords of the Congregation and established a provisional government. However, Mary of Guise was reinforced by professional French troops, and in November drove the rebels back to Stirling. Fighting continued in Fife. All seemed lost for the Protestant side until an English fleet arrived in the Firth of Forth, in January 1560, causing the French to retreat to Leith
Siege of Leith
The Siege of Leith ended a twelve year encampment of French troops at Leith, the port near Edinburgh, Scotland. The French troops arrived by invitation in 1548 and left in 1560 after the English arrived to assist in removing them from Scotland...

Negotiations then began (from which Knox was excluded, his earlier tract The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women
The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women
The first blast of the trumpet against the monstruous regiment of women is a polemical work by the Scottish Reformer John Knox, published in 1558....

 rendering him unacceptable to Elizabeth I). The resulting Treaty of Berwick
Treaty of Berwick (1560)
The Treaty of Berwick was negotiated on 27 February 1560 at Berwick-upon-Tweed. It was an agreement made by the representative of Queen Elizabeth I of England, the Duke of Norfolk, and the Scottish Lords of the Congregation...

 (February) was an agreement between Chatelherault and the English to act jointly to expel the French. However, in June 1560, Mary of Guise died, allowing the Treaty of Edinburgh
Treaty of Edinburgh
The Treaty of Edinburgh was a treaty drawn up on 5 July 1560 between the Commissioners of Queen Elizabeth I with the assent of the Scottish Lords of the Congregation, and French representatives in Scotland to formally conclude the Siege of Leith and replace the Auld Alliance with France with a new...

: a negotiation between France and England, which secured the withdrawal of both French and English troops from Scotland. Although the French commissioners were unwilling to treat with the insurgent Lords of the Congregation, they offered the Scots certain concessions from King Francis and Queen Mary, including the right to summon a parliament according to use and custom. The effect of the treaty was to leave power in the hands of the Protestants.

Reformation Parliament

The Scots Parliament met in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 on July 10, 1560. Fourteen earls, six bishops, nineteen lords, twenty one abbots, twenty-two burgh commissioners, and over a hundred lairds claimed right to sit. Parliament then set up a 'committee of the articles' which, after three weeks, recommended a condemnation of transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

, justification by works, indulgences, purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

, and papal authority. Furthermore it recommended restoring the perceived discipline of the early Church
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 and redistributing the wealth of the Church to the ministry, schools and the poor. On 17 August, Parliament approved a Reformed Confession of Faith (the Scots Confession
Scots Confession
The Scots Confession is a Confession of Faith written in 1560 by six leaders of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. The Confession was the first Subordinate Standard for the Protestant church in Scotland....

), and on 24 August it passed three Acts that abolished the old faith in Scotland. Under these, all previous acts not in conformity with the Reformed Confession were annulled; the sacraments were reduced to two (Baptism and Communion) to be performed by reformed preachers alone; the celebration of the Mass was made punishable by a series of penalties (ultimately death) and Papal jurisdiction in Scotland was repudiated.

However, aside from approving the Confession, parliament showed little interest in plans for the reformation of the church. Significantly, although the traditional functions of the Catholic clergy had been terminated, the clerical estate remained legally intact and, more importantly, in possession of the revenues of the pre-Reformation Church. What shape the new church was to take was left open, and indeed was not finally settled until 1689. Moreover, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the Queen declined to endorse even the acts that Parliament had passed, which were not officially ratified until the first parliament of James VI in 1567. Nevertheless, from this point on, Scotland was, in effect, a Protestant state.


Unlike the earlier reformers, who were Lutheran, Knox and most of those surrounding him were firm in their practice of Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

. (Knox had travelled to Calvin's Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 during his exile from Scotland, and described it as "the most perfect school of Christ that ever was on earth since the days of the Apostles.") The Scots Confession reflects that Calvinist influence, although without the systematic and scholastic nature of the more strident Westminster Confession that would replace it in 1644. The Scots Confession expounds the themes of the Catholic creeds, but also includes a rejection of any meritorious virtue: all good works are brought forth by the spirit. It also rejects all religious works that have no Scriptural warrant, including the rites of the Roman church. As for the church, it derived its authority from the word of God and was to be defined by "true preaching of the word of God... secondly, the right administration of the sacraments of Christ Jesus... last, ecclesiastical discipline uprightly ministered".


Parliamentary hostility meant there was no question of any Act of Uniformity
Act of Uniformity
Over the course of English parliamentary history there were a number of acts of uniformity. All had the basic object of establishing some sort of religious orthodoxy within the English church....

 as in England. Thus, the shape the Church initially took was dependent on local Protestant patrons. However, even before 1560, reformed congregations had already been organising themselves under the influence of Knox. In a 'Letter of Wholesome Councell' dated 1556, Knox described in detail what should be done at weekly worship. Protestant preachers fleeing Marian persecutions
Marian Persecutions
The Marian Persecutions were carried out against religious reformers, Protestants, and other dissenters for their heretical beliefs during the reign of Mary I of England. The excesses of this period were mythologized in the historical record of Foxe's Book of Martyrs...

 in England brought with them Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

's second Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 (of 1552), which was commended by the Lords of the Congregation. Knox too initially supported it (indeed reportedly, he had influenced aspects of it). However, before leaving Geneva, and with the encouragement of Calvin, he had written his own 'Book of Common Order
Book of Common Order
-Genevan Book of Order:The Genevan Book of Order, sometimes called The Order of Geneva or Knox's Liturgy, is a directory for public worship in the Reformed Church of Scotland. In 1557 the Scottish Protestant lords in council enjoined the use of the English Common Prayer, i.e. the Second Book of...

' and it was this that was printed and approved by the General Assembly
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland, and is thus the Church's governing body[1] An Introduction to Practice and Procedure in the Church of Scotland, A Gordon McGillivray, 2nd Edition .-Church courts:As a Presbyterian church,...

 of 1562. Enlarged, it was reprinted with the Confession and the Psalms in metre in 1564, and it remained the standard until replaced with the Westminster Directory in 1643.

Church Polity

How the Church was ideally to be organised was spelled out in the First Book of Discipline (1560), a document which set about organising both the Church and national life in accordance with the Reformed understanding of Scripture. It envisaged the establishment of reformed ministers throughout Scotland, a national system of education and poor-relief. Ministers were to be examined for their suitability and then elected by the local congregation. In the interim, whilst candidates were scarce, 'readers' were to be appointed. Also, there were to be 'superintendents', better paid than ministers, with regional responsibilities corresponding to the old dioceses. (It has often been suggested from this that Knox favoured episcopacy – however, it is to be remembered that Apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

 was explicitly denied.) Education was to be established at primary, secondary and university levels; it was to be examined and inspected.

In truth, the lofty aims often went unrealised, or at least only very slowly. An Act of 1562 denied the new Church much of the wealth of the old, with the church receiving a sixth of the income that it had received pre-Reformation with most of the balance going to the nobility. As late as 1567, there were only 257 ministers and 600 readers for 1,067 churches. The marks of what is now recognisable as Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 also started to emerge: Kirk Sessions existed from 1560, moderators emerged in 1563, but the presbytery
Presbyterian polity
Presbyterian polity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply...

not until 1580. The seeds were planted for the modern shape of the Church of Scotland.

External links

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