John Knox, the leader of the Scottish Reformation, spent 18 months as a French galley-slave for his early muscular non-conformity. In 1555, with influential lairds, the ‘Lords of the Congregation’, now espousing Protestantism, he returned to Scotland, and soon local ‘reformations’, featuring the ‘cleansing’ of churches and friaries of ‘popish imagery’, spread down the east coast. The Catholic Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, requested French support; the English responded by sending forces to support the Protestant lords. Stalemate ensued until, under the Treaty of Edinburgh, the invading forces agreed to leave and the lords recognized Mary as Queen of the Scots. In return they were permitted to convene a parliament, provided it excluded religious matters. The cantankerous Scots promptly held a parliament (August 1560) that dealt with nothing but religious matters, introducing a reformed Calvinist confession, abolishing the Catholic mass and papal jurisdiction and reducing the sacraments from seven to just two, baptism and communion. Finally, a First Book of Discipline was commissioned, to set out the organization, rules and practice of the new Church written by a team led by the theologian and leader of the Scottish Reformation, John Knox. Although Mary refused to ratify these resolutions, Protestantism was now ascendant.
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