John Durie

1596-1680. Scottish ecumenist who devoted much of his life to “ecclesiastical pacification.” Both his father and grandfather were militant Presbyterians who incurred the displeasure of James VI*, and Durie accompanied his father into exile at the age of ten. This early experience of controversy helped to form the peacemaker he became soon after his 1624 settlement as minister of a congregation of English and Scottish Presbyterians at Elbing in West Prussia. When Elbing came under Swedish rule, he petitioned Gustavus Adolphus* “for the obtaining of aid and assistance in this seasonable time to seek for and reestablish an ecclesiastical peace among the Evangelical Churches.”

In 1634 Durie accepted ordination in the Church of England hoping that this would give support to his schemes for the union of all Protestant churches. He never seems to have doubted the possibility of its early realization but “was always too ready to mistake his own dreams for solid realities of the near future, whenever he was entertained with kindness and friendly words” (Westin). His journeys all over Europe included a short visit to Scotland where the Aberdeen Doctors* warmly supported him. He tried to mediate in the English Civil War and took part in the Westminster Assembly.* After the Restoration he settled at Cassel where he continued his efforts toward church union.

See G. Westin, Negotiations about Church Unity 1628-34 (1932); and J.M. Batten, John Dury (1944).