The Calvin Auditorium or Calvin Auditory (French Auditoire de Calvin), originally the Notre-Dame-la-Neuve Chapel, is a chapel in Geneva, Switzerland which played a significant role in the Protestant Reformation. It is associated with John Calvin, Theodore Beza and John Knox.
The auditorium lies directly adjacent to Geneva's St. Pierre Cathedral in the Place de la Taconnerie. The austere Gothic-style building was constructed in the 15th century, on the site of earlier 5th-century religious buildings, and originally dedicated to Notre-Dame-la-Neuve.
From 1536, the time of Geneva's Reformation, it became a lecture hall where Calvin actively expounded his reformed theology: Bible studies were conducted here at 7:00 each morning. In 1559, it served as the original home of the University of Geneva. Once Geneva accepted the Reformation, it became a haven for Protestant refugees from all over Europe, and Calvin gave this building over for them to worship in their own language. It was also used by the Scottish reformer John Knox, during his exile in Geneva in the 1550s. Here he ministered to an English-speaking refugee congregation and developed many of the ideas that were to be influential in the Scottish Reformation. Subsequently, it became a place used by numerous Protestant refugee groups including Italian Waldensians, Dutch Reformed and Scottish Presbyterians. It is viewed by many Reformed churches throughout the world as a crucible of their faith.
Over the years, the building deteriorated. In 1954, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches reached an agreement with the National Protestant Church of Geneva, and launched a programme to restore the auditorium, which was completed in 1959.
Today, following in the tradition established by Calvin, the Auditoire is still used for worship in languages other than French. It hosts congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church and Italian Reformed Church, as well as being used by a congregation of the Church of Scotland as its main place of worship every Sunday.
- information from WARC website (accessed February 8, 2007)
- The Church of Scotland, Geneva
- official Geneva tourist information (accessed February 8, 2007)
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