The Calvin Auditory (Auditoire de Calvin), originally the Notre-Dame-la-Neuve Chapel, played a significant role in the Protestant Reformation. It is associated with John Calvin, Theodore Beza and John Knox.
The auditorium lies directly adjacent to St. Pierre Cathedral in the Place de la Taconnerie. The austere Gothic-style building was constructed in the 15th century, on the site of earlier 5th-century religious buildings, and was originally dedicated to Notre-Dame-la-Neuve.
From 1536, the time of Geneva's Reformation, it became a lecture hall where Calvin actively expounded his reformed theology. In 1559, it served as the original home of the University of Geneva. Once Geneva accepted the Reformation, it became a haven for Protestant refugees from all over Europe, and Calvin gave this building over for them to worship in their own language. It was also used by the Scottish reformer John Knox, during his exile in Geneva in the 1550s. Here he ministered to an English-speaking refugee congregation and developed many of the ideas that were to be influential in the Scottish Reformation. Subsequently, it became a place used by numerous Protestant refugee groups including Italian Waldensians, Dutch Reformed and Scottish Presbyterians. It is viewed by many Reformed churches throughout the world as a crucible of their faith.
Over the years, the building deteriorated. In 1954, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches reached an agreement with the National Protestant Church of Geneva and launched a programme to restore the auditorium, which was completed in 1959.
Today, following in the tradition established by Calvin, the Auditoire is still used for worship in languages other than French. It hosts congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church and Italian Reformed Church, as well as being used by a congregation of the Church of Scotland as its main place of worship every Sunday.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.