France - (Europa)

Informationen über France

543965 Quadratkilometer
Roman Catholic 90%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim (North African workers) 1%, unaffiliated 6%
Christen (%)
Protestanten (%)
Reformierte (%)

The Reformation movement started in France in the early 16th century. Mainly under the influence of Calvin, Ref churches were organized during the 1540s and 1550s. Very quickly their membership added up to 1,500,000 people, approximately 10% of the population. They held their first National Synod in 1559 in Paris, at which they approved the “Confessio Gallicana” and rules for church government. They were granted legal status in 1598 (the Edict of Nantes), though the King of France and his kingdom were Roman Catholic. In 1685 the Edict of Nantes was repealed, and France reverted to the rule generally applied in Europe: cujus regio, ejus religio.Many reformed people had already left France. Many more fled. Those that remained, 600-700,000, were thought to have joined the RCath Church. Yet, all through the 18th century, though outlawed, the Reformed Churches of France carried on; ministers in hiding visited the scattered flocks, services were held in the “wilderness,” and so on.
Just before the Revolution began in 1789, the king granted that the Prot could have their births, marriages, and deaths registered without undergoing RCath baptism, marriage and burial. During the revolutionary years the Reformed people were briefly, for the first time in their history, fully free to enjoy their church life. In 1802 Napoleon settled the framework in which the RCath Church, the Luth and Reformed churches were to live all through the 19th century. The Reformed churches were granted a state-paid clergy but denied full freedom of government and the authority to convene national synods. The evangelical revivals renewed the spiritual life of the churches and led lay people to take the initiative in many fields, such as evangelization, schools, hospitals, and charities of all sorts. The French Reformed also took part in the missionary adventure through the Paris Missionary Society, started at the beginning of the 1820s.
Under the strain brought about by the spread of new ideas, with no real church government and synodical life to hold the different parties together, the unity of the Reformed people broke down. Some chose to be free of all links with thestate (cf. no. 3). Free churches like the Methodist Church, the Plymouth Brethren, and, in the 20th century, the Pentecostalists made their entry in France.
In 1906 all French churches were disestablished. Three national Reformed Churches, which soon became two, were set up. One was more strict in doctrine, the other more liberal. But both took part in the ecumenical movement and had members attending the meetings of Life and Work and Faith and Order. In 1938 those two churches decided to unite and, with some Free and Methodist Churches, became the present Reformed Church of France.
The history of the churches in Alsace and the department of Moselle was somewhat different from that in the rest of France. The churches there were under German rule from 1870 to 1918 and remained within the framework of the Napoleonic arrangement. When France recovered Alsace and Lorraine, the RCath, the Ref, and the Luth churches kept their same state-linked status. The Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine is in close communion with the Reformed Church of France and represented at its national synod; yet it remains distinct.



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