Protestantism was generally proscribed in France between 1685 (Edict of Fontainebleau) and 1787 (Edict of Versailles). During that period Roman Catholicism was the state religion. The French Revolution began a process of dechristianization that lasted from 1789 until the Concordat of 1801, an agreement between the nation and the Papacy. The French general and statesman responsible for the concordat, Napoleon Bonaparte, had a generally favorable attitude towards Protestants, and the concordat did not make Catholicism the state religion again.
Protestantism in France has existed in its various forms starting with Calvinists and Lutherans since the Protestant Reformation. John Calvin was a Frenchman, as well as numerous other Protestant Reformers including William Farel, Pierre Viret and Theodore Beza, who was Calvin's successor in Geneva. Peter Waldo was a merchant from Lyons, who founded a pre-Protestant group, the Waldensians. Martin Bucer was born a German in Alsace, which historically belonged to the Holy Roman Empire, but now belongs to France.
The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.
The Edict of Fontainebleau was an edict issued by Louis XIV of France, also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Edict of Nantes (1598) had granted the Huguenots the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state. Though Protestants had lost their independence in places of refuge under Richelieu on account of their supposed insubordination, they continued to live in comparative security and political contentment. From the outset, religious toleration in France had been a royal, rather than a popular policy. The lack of universal adherence to his religion did not sit well with Louis XIV's vision of perfected autocracy: "Bending all else to his will, Louis XIV resented the presence of heretics among his subjects."
In April 1802, Bonaparte unilaterally promulgated the Organic Articles, a law designed to implement the terms of the concordat. It formally recognised the Lutheran and Reformed churches in France, provided for their ministers to be paid by the state and granted them several previously Catholic churches as compensation for Protestant churches destroyed during the persecutions of the reign of Louis XIV. The articles were not negotiated with either Catholics or Protestants and were not informed by actual Protestant ecclesiology. For the first time, Protestant ministers took part in public ceremonies as paid agents of the state.The first Reformed church was legally established in Paris in 1802, and by 1804 there were 120 Reformed ministers on the state payroll. There had been only forty-eight ministers in France in 1750, all practising underground because it was a capital offence to preach in a Protestant church. The presidents of twenty-seven Reformed consistories were present when Bonaparte was crowned Emperor Napoleon I in 1804. By the end of his reign, Napoleon had 137 Reformed pastors in his pay. With the expansion of the First French Empire and the direct incorporation of the Netherlands, as well as western and northwestern German regions, France was now in possession of vast Protestant majority areas.
The Organic Articles was a law administering public worship in France.
The term Protestant ecclesiology refers to the spectrum of teachings held by the Protestant Reformers concerning the nature and mystery of the Church.
In Protestant usage, a consistory designates certain ruling bodies in various churches. The meaning and the scope of functions varies strongly, also along the separating lines of the Protestant denominations and church bodies.
As a result of Napoleon's actions, French Protestants generally considered themselves emancipated and integrated into national life in the period from 1802 until Napoleon's defeat and exile in 1814. The Charter of 1814, the constitution introduced by Louis XVIII, maintained the freedom of Protestants as it had been under Napoleon while restoring Catholicism as the state religion. Nevertheless, there was widespread violence against Protestants in 1815.
The French Charter of 1814 was a constitution granted by King Louis XVIII of France shortly after his restoration. The Congress of Vienna demanded that Louis bring in a constitution of some form before he was restored.
The Edict of Nantes, signed in April 1598 by King Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France substantial rights in the nation, which was still considered essentially Catholic at the time. In the edict, Henry aimed primarily to promote civil unity. The edict separated civil from religious unity, treated some Protestants for the first time as more than mere schismatics and heretics, and opened a path for secularism and tolerance. In offering general freedom of conscience to individuals, the edict offered many specific concessions to the Protestants, such as amnesty and the reinstatement of their civil rights, including the right to work in any field or for the state and to bring grievances directly to the king. It marked the end of the religious wars that had afflicted France during the second half of the 16th century.
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte, born Giuseppe di Buonaparte was a French diplomat and nobleman, the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily, and later King of Spain. After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers.
Pope Pius VII, born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 March 1800 to his death in 1823. Chiaramonti was also a monk of the Order of Saint Benedict in addition to being a well-known theologian and bishop throughout his life.
Huguenots are an ethnoreligious group of French Protestants.
The Concordat of 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, signed on 15 July 1801 in Paris. It remained in effect until 1905. It sought national reconciliation between revolutionaries and Catholics and solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France, with most of its civil status restored. The hostility of devout French Catholics against the state had then largely been resolved. It did not restore the vast church lands and endowments that had been seized upon during the revolution and sold off. Catholic clergy returned from exile, or from hiding, and resumed their traditional positions in their traditional churches. Very few parishes continued to employ the priests who had accepted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary regime. While the Concordat restored much power to the papacy, the balance of church-state relations tilted firmly in Napoleon's favour. He selected the bishops and supervised church finances.
Hugues-Félicité Robert de Lamennais was a French Catholic priest, philosopher and political theorist. He was one of the most influential intellectuals of Restoration France. Lamennais is considered the forerunner of liberal Catholicism and social Catholicism.
Joseph Fesch, Prince of France was a French cardinal and diplomat, Prince of France and a member of the Imperial House of the First French Empire, Peer of France, Roman Prince, and the uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was also one of the most famous art collectors of his period, remembered for having established the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio, which remains one of the most important Napoleonic collections of art.
The Consulate was the top-level Government of France from the fall of the Directory in the coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire on 18 May 1804. By extension, the term The Consulate also refers to this period of French history.
The Catholic Church in France is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome. Established in the 2nd century in unbroken communion with the bishop of Rome, it is sometimes called the "eldest daughter of the church".
Vehementer Nos was a papal encyclical promulgated by Pope Pius X on 11 February 1906. He denounced the French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State enacted two months earlier. He condemned its unilateral abrogation of the Concordat of 1801 between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII that had granted the Catholic Church a distinctive status and established a working relationship between the French government and the Holy See. The title of the document is taken from its opening words in Latin, which mean "we strongly".
Giovanni Battista Caprara Montecuccoli was an Italian statesman and Cardinal and archbishop of Milan from 1802 to 1810. As a papal diplomat he served in the embassies in Cologne, Lausanne, and Vienna. As Legate of Pius VII in France, he implemented the Concordat of 1801, and negotiated with the Emperor Napoleon over the matter of appointments to the restored hierarchy in France. He crowned Napoleon as King of Italy in Milan in 1805.
Religion in France is diverse under secular principles. It can attribute its diversity to the country's adherence to freedom of religion and freedom of thought, as guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The Republic is based on the principle of laïcité enforced by the 1880s Jules Ferry laws and the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. Catholicism, the religion of a now small majority of French people, is no longer the state religion that it was before the French Revolution, as well as throughout several non-republican regimes of the 19th century.
There are many active religions in Luxembourg.
The Reformed Church of France was the main Protestant denomination in France with a Reformed orientation that could be traced back directly to John Calvin. In 2013, the Church merged with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in France to form the United Protestant Church of France.
Christianity in the 18th century is marked by the First Great Awakening in the Americas, along with the expansion of the Spanish and Portuguese empires around the world, which helped to spread Catholicism.
The history of the Catholic Church in France is inseparable from the history of France, and should be analyzed in its peculiar relationship with the State, with which it was progressively confused, confronted, and separated.
The relationship between Napoleon and the Catholic Church was an important aspect of his rule.
The Réveil of 1814 was a revival movement within the Swiss Reformed Church of western Switzerland and some Reformed communities in southeastern France.
The Concordat in Alsace-Moselle is the part of the Local law in Alsace-Moselle relating to the official status accorded to certain religions in these territories.