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:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.