Fun Facts From Church History: Calvin’s Family, too, Had its Warts

The wife of [Calvin’s] beloved brother, Antoine, long suspected of unworthy conduct, was charged with adultery committed with Calvin’s hunchbacked secretary-servant, Pierre Dagnet, while all were inhabiting Calvin’s house. On January 7, 1557, Calvin and his brother laid the case before the Consistory, by which it was referred to the Little Council. On February 16th, the crime having been proved, the Little Council gave Antoine a divorce and ordered his former wife to leave the city.

The scandal and the chagrin of the reformer were great; but the case seems to have been aggravated. It gave to his enemies, however, an annoying point of attack, especially when Antoine Calvin shocked Roman Catholic feeling by marrying again in 1560.

Nor was this the only trial occasioned by those of his own household and circle that Calvin was to experience. In 1562, his step-daughter, Judith, fell into similar disgrace,—a matter which Calvin felt so keenly that he left the city to seek the solitude of the country for a few days after the misdeed became public knowledge.*

See, you aren’t the only one with messed up relatives…

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*Williston Walker, John Calvin: The Organiser of Reformed Protestantism (New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), 357–358.