A centre for ecclesiastical reform
The bishop of Meaux, Guillaume Briçonnet, sympathized with Erasmus and Lefèvre d’Etaples’ideas about reform in the Church as soon as 1518. He was protected by Marguerite of Angoulême and reformed his diocese, restoring ecclesiastical discipline and developping the art of preaching. In 1521, he called on the services of Lefèvre d’Etaples, who came to Meaux with a group of friends and disciples. They were theologians and humanists – (one of whom was Guillaume Farel). He founded the “Cenacle of Meaux”, a group of people who reflected on the reform of the Church in the light of the Bible.
In 1524 Lefèvre finished the French translation of the New Testament. This caused a frenzy of excitement in Meaux and was instrumental in spreading Luther’s ideas. It was condemned and burned. Briçonnet again came into conflict with the Church, became afraid and submitted to the authorities. The “Cenacle of Meaux” began to split up in 1523 and was finally disbanded in 1525.
Due to the “Cenacle of Meaux”, many people were converted to Luther’s ideas, notably some of the wool carders.
- VEISSIERE M., L’évêque Guillaume Briçonnet (1470-1534), Contribution à la connaissance de la réforme catholique à la veille du Concile de Trente, Société d'histoire et d'archéologie, Provins, 1986
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Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples (1450-1537)Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples was a theologian who founded the “Cenacle of Meaux” and was the first to translate the Bible into French.
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.
Marguerite d'Angoulême (1492-1549)Marguerite d’Angoulême was a literary person who, while fostering new ideas, was at the very centre of the cultural and spiritual life of her time.
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Michel de l'Hospital (1505-1573)Michel de l’Hospital was a Catholic lawyer, who was called on by Catherine de Médicis to try to establish the peaceful coexistence of Catholics and Protestants. However he failed in...
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