The history of the Reform Movement in the Dauphiné
This museum was opened in 1961 and deals with three main periods of protestant history in the Dauphiné ; mention is also made of the Waldensians, travelling preachers who spread the gospel from the XIIth century onwards in this area.
These three clearly defined periods, are illustrated by various objects and documents :
- In the first period, the Reform Movement is symbolized by Guillaume Farel, who came from the Dauphiné ; there is also information about the setting up of the first churches, the wars of religion and the rules implemented by the Edict of Nantes.
- The second period begins at the Revocation and includes religious persecution, Isabeau Vincent and the prophets, the Church of the “Désert”.
- The third period spans the period from the Revolution in 1789 to the building up of a united protestant church with Tommy Fallot and Marc Boegner. The time when the Church was restored its civic rights and the various “revival movements” are also included.
- During the Second World War period the subjects treated are the Resistance and rescuing the Jews from the hands of the Nazis ; within the last 40 years the ecumenical movement has inspired many to believe in a “new reform” of the Church.
In one of the rooms of the museum you can see a collection of modern mosaics depicting biblical, religious or poetic themes.
A library can be found next to the museum where French and international students or those doing research can find rare works and also archives containing various documents ; parish registers, family records, correspondence etc…
Every year, there is a temporary exhibition with a different theme, for example the protestants of the Dauphiné in the second world war, the Waldensians, the French Church of London and French protestant refugees in Great Britain, the fourth centenary of the Edict of Nantes, the ninth centenary of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, etc.
Protestant Museum of the Dauphiné
- Site du Musée du protestantisme dauphinois | Link
The 19th century revival movement took shape within the context of romanticism. Its piety is of a more existential and sentimental nature, a piety « revived » when compared to a faith considered dull and routine-like.
Tommy Fallot (1844-1904)
Since his youth, Tommy Fallot had always been shocked by the protestant Church’s lack of interest in social issues (perhaps this may have been due to the fact that at the end of the XIXth century, there were many conflicting opinions). Nonetheless, when he grew up, he became a pastor and was a founder member of the great “Christian Socialist” movement.
Marc Boegner (1881-1970)
Marc Boegner was a pastor with outstanding charisma, and a prominent figure in contemporary French Protestantism. He also acknowledged its various tendencies, and very early accepted big responsibilities. During the 1939-1945 war he fought against discrimination notably towards the Jews in the name of the French Protestant Federation. Throughout his life his “ecumenical demand” made him a pioneer in Christian churches unification strivings.
Guillaume Farel (1489-1565)
Farel was the reformer of French-speaking Switzerland, precisely in the Neuchâtel area. He was a preacher but also an organiser and author of a liturgy in French.
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.
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
Decided by Louis XIV, this revocation on October 22, 1685 led to the increased repression of Protestants (death sentences and sentences to row the galleys, forced conversion, etc.). It amplified the emigration of French Protestants to the so-called Refuge countries of Europe (Prussia, England, Switzerland, the Netherlands).
The Protestants during World War II
In June 1940 at the time of defeat, the attitude of the Protestants was similar to that of most of the French : they trusted Field Marshall Pétain. But the break with the Vichy regime came as early as October 1940, triggered by the persecution of the Jews. There were many Protestants in the Resistance network both inside and outside the country. They were active during the Liberation and opposed to the excesses of the purge.
Sur les pas des Huguenots
Du Poët-Laval (Drôme) à Bad Karlshafen (Allemagne), en passant par Genève, un itinéraire culturel européen marche sur les traces de l’exil des Huguenots dauphinois, au lendemain de la révocation de l’édit de Nantes.