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Laski, Jan, The Younger

LASKI, JAN, THE YOUNGER (1490-1560), also known as Johannes a Lasco, Polish reformer, son of Jaroslaw (d. 1523) voivode of Sieradia and nephew of the famous Archbishop Laski. During his academical course abroad he made the acquaintance of Zwingli and Erasmus and returned to Poland in 1526 saturated with the new doctrines. Nevertheless he took orders, and owing to the influence of his uncle obtained the bishopric of Veszprem in Hungary from King John Zapolya, besides holding a canonry of Cracow and the office of royal secretary. In 1531 he resigned all his benefices rather than give up a woman whom he had secretly married, and having incurred general reprobation and the lasting displeasure of his uncle the archbishop, he fled to Germany, where ultimately (1543) he adopted the Augsburg Confession. For the next thirteen years Laski was a wandering apostle of the new doctrines. He was successively superintendent at Emden and in Friesland, passed from thence to London where he became a member of the so-called ecclesia peregrinorum, a congregation of foreign Protestants exiled in consequence of the Augsburg Interim of 1548 and, on being expelled by Queen Mary, took refuge first in Denmark and subsequently at Frankfort-on-Main, where he was greatly esteemed. From Frankfort he addressed three letters (printed at Basel) to King Sigismund, Augustus, and the Polish gentry and people, urging the conversion of Poland to Protestantism. In 1556, during the brief triumph of the anti-catholics, he returned to his native land, took part in the synod of Brzesc, and published a number of polemical works, the most noteworthy of which were Forma ac ratio tola ecclesiastici ministerii in peregrinorum Ecclesiae instituta (Pinczow, 1560), and in Polish, History of the Cruel Persecution of the Church of God in 1567, republished in his Opera, edited by A. Kuyper at Amsterdam in 1866. He died at Pinczow in January 1560 and was buried with great pomp by the Polish Protestants, who also struck a medal in his honour. Twice married, he left two sons and two daughters. His nephew (?) Albert Laski, who visited England in 1583, wasted a fortune in aid of Dr Dee's craze for the " philosopher's stone." Laski's writings are important for the organization of the ecclesia Peregrinorum, and he was concerned in the Polish version of the Bible, not published till 1563.

See H. Dalton, Johannes a Lasco (1881), English version of the earlier portion by J. Evans (1886); Bartels, Johannes a Lasco (1860) ; Harboe, Schicksale des Johannes a Lasco (1758) ; R. Wallace, Antitrinitarian Biography (1850); Bonet-Maury, Early Sources of Eng. Unit. Christianity (1884); W. A. J. Archbold in Diet. Nat. Biog. (1892) under " Laski," George Pascal, Jean de Lasco (Paris, 1894); Life in Polish by Antoni Walewski (Warsaw, 1872); and Julian Bukowski, History of the Reformation in Poland (Pol.) (Cracow, 1883). (R. N. B.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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