Gaspard de Coligny (1519-1572)
Gaspard de Coligny, lord of Châtillon, was a loyal servant of the crown. He was converted to the reformed faith and became the leader of the Protestant party. He was assassinated during the massacre of Saint Bartholomew.
The Edict of Nantes (1598)
This was Henri IV’s major achievement : the terms of this edict ensured the peaceful coexistence of Catholics and Protestants and brought a stop to all hostilities in France after 36 years of civil warfare.
Sébastien Castellion (1515-1563)
Sébastien Castellion is looked upon today as an apostle of tolerance and freedom of thought. He maintained that the Bible could have several different interpretations, and that this implied a multifaceted Christianity and the refusal to resort to violence.
The Montauban Faculty of Theology in the 19th century
The faculty was founded in 1808-1810 and trained the majority of the Reformed Church pastors. After a somewhat tentative beginning, studies were reorganized by a decree initiated by Baron Cuvier and dated May 24, 1828.
Paul Rabaut (1718-1794)
As a pastor in the “Churches of the Desert”, Paul Rabaut lived a secret and dangerous life
The Edict of Toleration (November 29th, 1787)
With this Edict, King Louis XVI granted the Protestants civil status. He secured their right to live in the kingdom without discrimination for religious reasons.
The Reformed Academies in the XVI th and XVIIth centuries
As early as 1565, the synods of the Reformed Churches undertook the training of pastors, encouraging churches to open colleges (a prerequisite for higher education) and universities or “academies” (after the model of the academy founded by Calvin in Geneva in 1559).
However, until the end of the sixteenth century there was only one Reformed Academy in the France : Nîmes. The future French pastors could also get their training at the Academy in Geneva or in three other Academies in places bordering France : Orthez, Orange and Sedan.
The secret meetings
Long before the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, freedom of worship for Protestants was already being questioned.
Following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, three quarters of Protestants remained in France and renounced their faith.
But very soon, they began to challenge the king’s authority and gathered secretly in remote places to worship.
Sentenced to the galleys
Roughly 550 galley-rowers spent up to thirty years of their life in galleys for refusing to renounce their faith.
The Lausanne Theological Seminary (1726-1812)
The seminary in Lausanne was started at the instigation of Antoine Court. Its purpose was to train those called to the ministry in France during the “Desert” period.
In the years following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, a Prophetic Movement, quite alien to the Reformed tradition, stirred up Protestant peasants from the South of France and led to the War of the Camisards (Guerre des Camisards).
The period of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1661-1700)
The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685 led to the suppression of the Reformed Church in France and forced Protestants into exile or hiding. As a result they lost all social identity.
Isabeau Vincent, was a young shepherdess living near Crest, who started the protestant movement called the « minor prophets » in the Dauphiné, the Vivarais and the Cévennes.
The Huguenots in South Africa
In the history of Protestantism, little is known about the emigration of Huguenots to South Africa, who, although few in number, had a lasting influence on the country.
The war of the Camisards (1702-1710)
The « Cévennes war » was the name given in the 18th century to the guerrilla warfare that devastated the Cévennes in the early years of the century and tried to re-establish the Edict of Nantes by brute force. It later became known as the war of the Camisards.
Religion in the "Desert" period (1715-1787)
Following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, French Protestants recanted or went into exile. But among those who recanted, some continued to practice in secret, read the Bible and sing psalms within the family circle or in secret “Church of the Desert” meetings.
"Church of the Desert" Synods
During the time Protestant religious practice was banned in France, services were held in secret (“Church of the Desert” meetings) in many parts of the country, but particularly in the south. Secret synods, bringing together lay people and pastors, were held regularly, initially at local level. From 1726 so-called national synods only included delegates from some regions. They restored order in the Reformed Church and prophetism was stopped.
Jean Jarousseau (1729-1819)
A pastor in the “Church of the Desert”, Jean Jarousseau exercised his ministry in Saintonge at the end of the Heroic Period and during the time called the Period of Tolerance. We know about him thanks to the biography written by his grandson, Eugène Pelletan.
Le protestantisme en Poitou-Charentes
Le Poitou, de même que la Charente, sont des régions où le protestantisme s’est le plus rapidement propagé et le plus profondément implanté.
Médaille et histoire métallique au XVIIe siècle
La médaille retenue par les historiens de l’art comme un aspect mineur de la sculpture, est un témoin privilégié et immuable de l’histoire.
Les médailles portent l’effigie de grandes figures protestantes ou commémorent des événements, qu’ils soient anciens ou contemporains.