Hundreds Kick Off Calvin Quincentenary Celebration in Geneva

Calvin 500, an international Quincentenary celebration of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, opened Sunday at St. Pierre Cathedral in the old town of Geneva.

Approximately 500 worshipers attended the opening convocations, which featured morning worship from Calvin's time and a sermon on Philippians 3:8-12 by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C.

The evening services featured Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, much psalm singing, and a sermon by Dr. Bryan Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo.

"Calvin is one of the most important thinkers in history," said Calvin500 Executive Director Rev. David Hall, who also is pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, Ga. "His ministry and writings left an indelible impression on the modern world, and especially Western culture. It would be hard to find a figure from history more worthy of remembering, if lasting impact for good is the standard."

Born on July 10, 1509, John Calvin is credited for his profound influence over major religious figures and entire religious movements. The 16th century theologian's ideas have also been cited as contributing to the rise of capitalism, individualism, and representative democracy in the West.

Throughout this week, scholars and ministers will present lectures and sermons in historic environs to celebrate the contributions of the Genevan reformer.

While the five-day "Commemorating Calvin Conference" started Sunday, a four-day "Tribute Conference" was set to begin Monday in the historic Auditoire in Geneva. Both Calvin 500 conferences are being held in Geneva's Old Town.

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