Jan Łaski or Johannes Alasco (1499 – 8 January 1560) was a Polish
Reformed reformer. Owing to his influential work in
1543–1555) during the English Reformation, he is known to the
English-speaking world by the Anglicised forms John Laski and John a
3 See also
6 External links
Jan Łaski was born in Łask, the son of Jaroslaw Łaski, the voivode
of Sieradz Voivodship, and Susanna Bąk, the daughter of Zbigniew Bąk
of Bąkowa Góra. His uncle, also Jan Łaski, was by turns royal
secretary, Archbishop of Gniezno, Primate of
Poland and Grand
Chancellor of the Crown; he was also the uncle of King Sigismund I the
Old. Both Jan Łaskis' coat-of-arms was Korab.
After his family's fall from political power and prestige, Łaski, a
learned priest, went in 1523 to Basel, where he became a close friend
Erasmus and Zwingli. In 1542, he became pastor of a Protestant
church at Emden, East Frisia. Shortly after, he went to England, where
in 1550 he was superintendent of the Strangers' Church of London and
had some influence on ecclesiastical affairs in the reign of Edward
In 1551, he excommunicated, and had burned at the stake for Arianism,
a member of his London congregation, George van Parris.
Edward VI Granting Permission to John a Lasco to Set Up a Congregation
for European Protestants in London in 1550, painting by Johann
On the accession of Roman Catholic Queen Mary in July 1553, he fled to
Copenhagen with a shipload of refugees from the Strangers' Church.
However they were denied refuge there because they would not accept
Augsburg Confession of Faith. They were resettled in
Brandenburg. Łaski also helped
Catherine Willoughby and her
husband after they too had left England. His support enabled them to
obtain an appointment from
Sigismund II as administrators of
Lithuania. Łaski was a correspondent of John Hooper, whom Łaski
supported in the vestments controversy.
In 1556, he was recalled to Poland, where he became secretary to King
Sigismund II and was a leader in the Calvinist Reformation.
His contributions to the
Reformed churches were the establishment of
church government in theory and practice, a denial of any distinction
between ministers and elders except in terms of who could teach and
administer the sacraments, and an understanding of the eucharist that
was more Zwinglian than Calvinist. Łaski tried to reorient the debate
by focusing on the entire ceremony, participation in which "seals"
Christians in communion with Christ.
He died in Pinczów, Poland.
He is one of the figures on the Prussian Homage painting by Jan
Forma ac ratio (1550) -- A "Form and Rationale" for the liturgy of the
Stranger churches in London. Possibly influenced the 1552 Book of
Common Prayer, John Knox's Scottish order, the Middleburg ordinal, the
1563 German Palatinate order, and the "forms and prayers" in Pieter
Dathenus' psalter, which was influential in Dutch Calvinist churches.
Johannes a Lasco, Opera (Works), ed.
Abraham Kuyper (Amsterdam: F.
Jan Łaski (1456–1531)
Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski
Wacław of Szamotuły
List of Poles
^ a b Archbold 1897, p. 159.
^ Chisholm 1911.
^ Archbold 1897, p. 160.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Laski". Encyclopædia Britannica
(11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Archbold, William Arthur Jobson (1897). "Laski, John". In Lee,
Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 52. London: Smith, Elder
& Co. pp. 158–160.
Henning P. Juergens, Johannes a Lasco in Ostfriesland: Der Werdegang
eines europaeischen Reformators (Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002)
(Spaetmittelalter und Reformation, Neue Reihe, 18), . viii + 428 S.
Becker, J., Gemeindeordnung und Kirchenzucht. Johannes a Lascos
Kirchenordnung für London (1555) und die reformierte
Konfessionsbildung (Leiden, Brill, 2007) (Studies in Medieval and
Reformation Traditions, 122), xvi, 592 S.
Michael S. Springer, Restoring Christ's Church: John a Lasco and the
Forma ac ratio (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007) (St Andrews Studies in
Reformation History), 198 pp.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Jan Łaski II.
Dr George M Ella, "Jan Laski. Pan-European Reformer." Mülheim
John a Lasco Library, Emden
ISNI: 0000 0001 1568 1476
BNF: cb133281837 (data)