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reformation revenue Rare document signed by Calvin returned to Geneva

john calvin busts

John Calvin: a multi-faceted legacy.

(Keystone / Martial Trezzini)

An original document signed by Protestant reformer John Calvin and dating from 1552 has been returned to the canton of Geneva.

The document, signed January 15, 1552, is no revolutionary religious treatise but rather a snapshot of a great reformer’s daily grind: a pay-slip, confirming receipt of quarterly wages.

Calvin, of course, worked as a religious minister, and according to the pay-slip would have received a total salary of some 125 florins in the year 1552.

The document, which used to be housed in Geneva’s state archives, was stolen at some point in the 19th century and somehow ended up in the possession of a brotherhood in France, who put it up for sale online for a price between €3,500 and €5,000.

Once discovered, the brotherhood agreed to send the document back to its rightful Swiss home without remuneration.

+ 1517-2017: the Reformation turns 500 years oldexternal link

A similar document was returned by the Sotheby’s auction house to Geneva in 2017; according to state archivist Pierre Flückiger, who spoke to the Keystone-SDA news agency, some 23 such documents are now to be found in the city’s collection.

Born on June 10, 1509 in France, Calvin is most closely associated with the city of Geneva, where he ministered for most of his life before dying in 1564.

His ideas, actions and sermons contributed to the Protestant Reformation movement and transformed Geneva into an intellectual capital of Europe.

Keystone-SDA/dos

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