LASCO (or LASKI), John A

(1499-1560)
A Polish Reformer, proponent of Protestant church union, Bible translator, and friend of Thomas Cranmer,* Desiderius Erasmus,* and John Calvin,* John a Lasco was born at Lask to Jaroslav and his wife Susanna of Bakova-Gora. Under the patronage of his uncle, John Laski, primate of Poland, he attended Bologna University, became canon of Cracow and Plock, was ordained priest in 1521, and became dean of Gnesen. From 1523 to 1525 he lived in Basel with Erasmus and met numerous Reformers whose views he adopted. Returning to Poland, he became bishop of Vesprim in 1529, provost of Gnesen, and in 1538 archdeacon of Warsaw. In 1538 he left for Frankfurt and Emdem, becoming a Reformed pastor in the latter Frisian town from 1540 to 1546. Here he published his catechism and befriended Richard Hooker,* who made him well known in England. Thus he was invited by Cranmer to England in 1548 for discussions of Protestant union at Lambeth. Becoming superintendent of the London church for foreign Protestants, he reorganized it on a Protestant model, the first Pres­byterian form of church government in England. He deeply influenced the court of Edward VI and Cranmer's revision of the prayer book, and in addition he assisted in the revision of the ecclesiastical laws of 1551 and debated Martin Bucer* at Cambridge on the nature of the Sacrament. In 1552, after the decease of his first wife, he married Catherine, by whom he had five children. In 1553 he sought to return to Poland, eventually arriving in 1556 and becoming sec­retary to the king. He became general superintendent of the Reformed churches in Little Poland and one of the eighteen divines who translated the Bible into Polish, an edition that appeared in 1563. He remained intensely involved in union schemes for Reformed and Protestant churches, traveling widely outside of Poland to facilitate such unions, none of which entirely succeeded. He died in Calish, Poland, on 13 January 1560.
Bibliography
D. Rodgers, John a Lasco in England, 1994.
Iain S. Maclean

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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