John Row

c.1525 - 1580

Protestant reformer and church scholar. Born near Stirling, Row was educated there and at the University of St. Andrews. He was appointed an advocate in the consistorial (church) court in St. Andrews. John Hamilton, Archbishop of St. Andrews (c.1511-71), sent him to Rome in 1550. He returned to Scotland in 1558, having been appointed Papal Nuncio, with the task of examining the spread of Calvinism in the country. However, influenced by the sermons of John Knox (c.1513-72) and the other reformers, Row joined them. He took on the parish of Kennoway (Fife) on behalf of the new church in 1560, moving to the Middle Church of St. John's in Perth later the same year. He quickly became a leading figure in the Reformation, taking the role of Moderator of the General Assemblies of the Church held in Edinburgh (1567), Perth (1568), Edinburgh (1576) and Stirling (1578). Row was one of those who drew up the Confession of Faith (1560), the First Book of Discipline (1560) and the Second Book of Discipline (1581). A renowned church scholar, he is said to have been the first to teach Hebrew in Scotland. He opposed the Episcopal system of church governance.

He died in Perth and his son, another John Row (1568 - 1646) was also a noted church scholar.

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