FONTANUS, JOHANNES: Reformed preacher; b. at Zoller, in the duchy of Jülich, 1545; d. 1615. He studied theology at Heidelberg, especially under Zacharias Ursinus, who Latinized his name Püts, into Fontanus. In his twenty-third year he finished his studies and became teacher and preacher in the seminary of Neuhausen near Worms, but after the death of Elector Frederick III. was expelled by Ludwig VI., who was a Lutheran. Count John the Older of Nassau-Catzenelnbogen received him into his country, with other preachers exiled from the Palatinate, and made him preacher in Keppel in the principality of Siegen. But Fontanus remained here only a short time. When in the beginning of 1578 the estates of the province of Geldern and of the county of Zütphen elected Count John as their viceregent, he took Fontanus along; and under the count's protection the latter organized a Reformed congregation in Arnhem and became its pastor. It grew rapidly under his able direction; and the influence of Fontanus extended over the Church of the whole province, and even beyond its borders. At the first general synod of the whole Reformed Church in the three principalities of Jülich, Cleves, and Berg, held at Duisberg in 1610, with Dr. Abraham Scultetus, court preacher of Elector Frederick V. of the Palatinate, he advised on the organization of the congregations. When, in consequence of the Arminian movement, the secular authorities tried to interfere with the inner affairs of the Calvinistic Church, Fontanus stood with great energy for the autonomy of the Church. He was also influential in bringing about meeting of the strictly Reformed pastors in 1615 at Amsterdam to pass resolutions against the adherents of Arminius, whom the government protected. He established a high school at Haderwyk and was its curator for fourteen years.
(F. W. CUNO†.)