John Craig (minister)

John Craig (c. 1512 – 12 December 1600) was a Scottish minister. He was originally a member of the Dominican Order, but was converted to the thinking of John Calvin, and joined with John Knox in Scotland.[1]


John Craig was born about 1512. His father died at the Battle of Flodden. Craig educated at the University of St. Andrews[2] and served for a time as tutor to the children of Lord Dacre for two years.[3]

He returned to Scotland and entered the Dominican Order. Cleared of a suspicion of heresy, he left, in 1537, for England, and then traveled to Rome, where through the influence of Cardinal Pole, he obtained a position instructing novices at the Dominican house in Bologna, where he was subsequently made rector. There he became acquainted with John Calvin's Institutes. Having adopted Calvin's views, Craig was sent to Rome charged as a heretic. However, he escaped during the civil unrest that followed the death of Pope Paul IV in August 1559, when crowds broke into the prisons and freed the prisoners.[4]

He made his way to Vienna, where as a Dominican, he preached before emperor Maximilian II, and soon became a favourite at court. The Emperor gave him letters of safe conduct to England and Craig returned to Scotland, where he preached at Magdalen's Chapel in Edinburgh. In 1561 he became minister of The Canongate in Edinburgh, in 1561. In 1563 he was joint minister with John Knox of St. Giles's.[2]

In 1571 he became was minister of Montrose, and in 1573 moved to Aberdeen where he was named Superintendent of Mar and Buchan. In 1579 Craig was minister of Holyrood and domestic chaplain to James VI. He was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He drew up the National Covenant, and wrote a catechism known as "Craig's Catechism."[1]

King James had personally appointed Craig, "one of the best-gifted in the kingdom," to be Royal Chaplain, so, when Craig rebuked him during his captivity so sharply from the pulpit (19 September 1582) for having issued a proclamation offensive to the clergy, "the king wept."[5]

John Craig died 12th December, 1600 at the age of eighty-eight.[6]


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