Calvin's Oratory, Geneva

At the the Auditoire de Calvin in Geneva, the Scottish reformer John Knox preached from 1556 to 1559 and the French-born reformer John Calvin founded a Christian academy in 1559.


History of Calvin's Oratory

The Auditoire is a simple but elegant 13th-century Gothic chapel built over a 5th-century church. At the Swiss Reformation it became a Protestant lecture hall, where Knox preached and Calvin taught missionaries his doctrines. He also encouraged Protestant refugees from around Europe to hold services at the chapel in their native English, Italian, Spanish, German, and Dutch.

What to See at Calvin's Oratory

Located right next door to the Geneva Cathedral, it couldn't be more convenient to stop by the Oratory, and it is worth a look. The Gothic chapel is an attractive small space, with a sense of openness due to its single nave.

The side chapels have informative placards and collages commemorating John Calvin and showing the spread and impact of the Reformation movement in Geneva.

The Auditoire is still used by the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), the Dutch Reformed Community, and the Waldensian Church of Italy. English-speakers may wish to join the Church of Scotland's Sunday service at 11am.

Fundraising is currently underway to replace the organ in the Auditoire de Calvin; see the association's website for more information.

Quick Facts on Calvin's Oratory

Site Information
Names:Auditoire de Calvin · Calvin's Oratory · John Knox Chapel
Categories:churches; historical sites; oratories
Dates:13th C
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:46.200816° N, 6.148417° E
Address:1 pl. de la Taconnerie
Geneva, Switzerland
Hours:Mon-Sat 10-noon and 2-5
Lodging:View hotels near Calvin's Oratory
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Personal visit (December 2006).
  2. Fodor's Switzerland 2005.

More Information

West facade and entrance to the Auditoire de Calvin, Geneva. © Holly Hayes
Interior looking east. © Holly Hayes
Interior looking west. © Holly Hayes
View across the nave, with old organ. © Holly Hayes
Times of services for three Reformed communities. © Holly Hayes

Map of Calvin's Oratory, Geneva

Below is a location map and aerial view of Calvin's Oratory. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.