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Western Christianity

Jansenist Church of Holland

Doctrines Jansenist theology derives from the teaching of Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638), bishop of Ypres. In his most important work Augustinus, published posthumously in 1640, Jansen promulgated a theology based upon Augustine's doctrine of predestination. This theology stated that humanity had been completely corrupted as a result of the sin of Adam and instinctively chooses to perform evil rather than good actions. Being depraved by nature, humanity can do nothing to merit its own salvation. Salvation is attained through God's grace which is given to those whom He has chosen to save. The majority of humanity are condemned to eternal damnation.

History From the outset, Jansenist doctrine was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the Jesuits who opposed the extreme doctrine of predestination proclaimed in the Augustinus. Two years after its publication the Augustinus was condemned and proscribed by Pope Urban VIII. Jansen's views, however, continued to receive strong support among certain Catholic groups, particularly the convent of Port Royal, near Paris, and the Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal.
Viewed by the French monarch, Louis XIV, as a threat to national unity, Port Royal was closed in 1709. With the encouragement of Louis XIV, Pope Clement XI condemned the Jansenist leader Pasquier Quesnel in 1713. Under Quesnel's leadership, the Jansenists left France for Holland. In 1723 they established their own independent church at Utrecht. This church continues today.

Symbols The cross to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ; bread and wine to commemorate the last supper; and water to commemorate Christ's baptism and the cleansing of sins.

Adherents Today the church has some 10,000 members (Europa Publications Limited 1995, 2:2216).

Headquarters/Main Centre Kon. Wilhelminalaan 3,3818 HN Amersfoort, Holland.