Virtual Museum of Protestantism

The Virtual Museum of Protestantism, created in 2003 by the Fondation pasteur Eugène Bersier, recounts the history of Protestantism in France from the 16th century to the present.[1]

Virtual Museum of Protestantism
Logo of the Virtual Museum of Protestantism.
Type of site
Virtual museum
Available inFrench, English, German
OwnerFondation Bersier
LaunchedJanuary 9, 2003
Current statusOnline


In March 1994, The Fédération protestante de France authorized the Fondation pasteur Eugène Bersier to find a new location for its offices in Paris, France. After evolving toward a memorial site and a museum of the Bible and of Protestantism, the project was abandoned.

In 2000, unable to participate in the creation of an actual museum on the history of Protestantism, the Foundation decided, with the Historical Society of French Protestantism,[2] to set up a museum on the Internet: the Virtual Museum of French Protestantism, which seeks to share the specific characteristics of Protestants through the history of Protestantism.

The museum site, which can be visited free of charge, opened in January 2003. It quickly attracted a wide audience, which increased with the offering of English and German versions of the site, thanks to the support of the Île-de-France region and the Ministry of Culture.

In 2014, the design and navigation of the site were completely revamped while preserving the existing content.[3]


The Virtual Museum of Protestantism offers over a thousand articles, classified into four headings, illustrated by 3,000 images. The articles are augmented with video clips, documents and bibliographic references and are accessible in French, English and German. The articles can also be organized into tours that group these articles by theme in a relevant order, similar to guided tours. On the home page, a time line illustrates the major dates of the history of Protestantism.

The four main headings of the museum are the following:

  1. History,
  2. Key figures,
  3. Themes,
  4. Art – Heritage.

A few exhibits that have been presented by Protestant museums are also offered with specific articles.

Since May 4, 2015, the Museum has offered an online tour for the class on the Protestant Reformation specially designed for French fifth form junior high school students[4] with adapted educational articles containing numerous audio components, images, video clips and documents designed for teachers and a learning assessment questionnaire.

See also


  1. ^ Sambre, Mathilde (16 March 2011). "Musée virtuel du protestantisme français: Site de la semaine" (in French). France: Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015. External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ "Historical Society of French Protestantism". France.
  3. ^ "Un nouveau design pour le site du Musée virtuel du Protestantisme" (in French). 27 May 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2015. External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "Un parcours sur la Réforme pour les Collégiens de 5e" (in French). France: Association des Professeurs d’Histoire et de Géographie. 7 May 2015. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015. External link in |publisher= (help)

External links

Armand Peugeot

Armand Peugeot (French: [pøʒo]; 26 March 1849 – 2 January 1915) was an industrialist in France, pioneer of the automobile industry and the man who transformed Peugeot into a manufacturer of bicycles and, later, of automobiles. He was accepted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1999.

Barthélemy Prieur

Barthélemy Prieur (c. 1536-1611) was a French sculptor.

Prieur was born to a Huguenot family in Berzieux, Champagne (now in the department of the Marne). He traveled to Italy, where he worked from 1564 to 1568 for Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy in Turin. Upon his return to France, he worked principally on funerary monuments and busts, but also on small bronzes.

In 1571 he began employment under Jean Bullant at the Palais du Louvre, where he was a contemporary of Germain Pilon. In 1585 he created the monument to Christophe de Thou, now preserved in the Louvre Museum, and was named sculptor to king Henry IV in 1591. He restored the Roman marble now called the Diana of Versailles in 1602.

Several of his bronzes are preserved in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, including Gladiator, Lion Devouring a Doe, Seated Woman Pulling a Thorn from Her Heel, and Small Horse. His bronze busts of King Henry IV and his wife Marie de' Medici (circa 1600) are now in the Ashmolean Museum. His Monument du coeur du connétable Anne de Montmorency is on display in the Louvre.

Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon

The Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon (French: Transi de René de Chalon, also known as the Memorial to the Heart of René de Chalon or The Skeleton) is a late Gothic period funerary monument, known as a transi, in the church of Saint-Étienne at Bar-le-Duc, in northeastern France. It consists of an altarpiece and a limestone statue of a putrefied and skinless corpse which stands upright and extends his left hand outwards. Completed sometime between 1544 and 1557, the majority of its construction is attributed to the French sculptor Ligier Richier. Other elements, including the coat of arms and funeral drapery, were added in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively.

The tomb dates from a period of societal anxiety over death, as plague, war and religious conflicts ravaged Europe. It was commissioned as the resting place of René of Chalon, Prince of Orange, son-in-law of Duke Antoine of Lorraine. René was killed aged 25 at the siege of St. Dizier on 15 July 1544, from a wound sustained the previous day. Richier presents him as an écorché, with his skin and muscles decayed, leaving him reduced to a skeleton. This apparently fulfilled his deathbed wish that his tomb depict his body as it would be three years after his death. His left arm is raised as if gesturing towards heaven. Supposedly, at one time his heart was held in a reliquary placed in the hand of the figure's raised arm. Unusually for contemporaneous objects of this type, his skeleton is standing, making it a "living corpse", an innovation that was to become highly influential. The tomb effigy is positioned above the carved marble and limestone altarpiece.

Designated a Monument historique on 18 June 1898, the tomb was moved for safekeeping to the Panthéon in Paris during the First World War, before being returned to Bar-le-Duc in 1920. Both the statue and altarpiece underwent extensive restoration between 1998 and 2003. Replicas of the statue are in the Musée Barrois in Bar-le-Duc and the Palais de Chaillot, Paris.


Camisards were Huguenots (French Protestants) of the rugged and isolated Cévennes region, and the Vaunage in southern France. They raised an insurrection against the persecutions which followed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, which had made Protestantism illegal. The Camisards operated throughout the mainly Protestant Cévennes region which in the eighteenth century also included the Vaunage and the parts of the Camargue around Aigues Mortes. The revolt by the Camisards broke out in 1702, with the worst of the fighting continuing until 1704, then scattered fighting until 1710 and a final peace by 1715. The Edict of Tolerance was not finally signed until 1787.

Charles-Victor Langlois

Charles-Victor Langlois (May 26, 1863, in Rouen – June 25, 1929, in Paris) was a French historian and paleographer, who specialized in the study of the Middle Ages and taught at the Sorbonne, where he taught paleography, bibliography, and the history of the Middle Ages.Langlois attended the École Nationale des Chartes and earned a doctorate in history in 1887. He taught at the University of Douai before moving to the Sorbonne. He was director of the National Archives of France from 1913 to 1929. Langlois was a leader in use of the historical method, which taught a scientific form of studying history. His "Manual of Historical Bibliography" was a fundamental manual on how bibliographic methods, which went along with his studies of the historical method.

His 1897 work Introduction aux études historiques, written with Charles Seignobos, is considered one of the first comprehensive manuals discussing the use of scientific techniques in historical research. The "Introduction to the Study of History" takes a very detailed view at finding a way to make history as accurate of a study as the sciences. The basis of their method is the all history comes from facts retrieved from first hand documents. These facts are then viewed by the historian from many different perspectives, allowing for an unbiased approach at history. By using methods, such as external and internal criticism, the historian is able to see both the reader and authors perspective on a piece of history. In order to get a completely accurate history, these facts must be sorted into categories into groups to allow for easy research. To both of these men, the goal of history was to make it a learnable subject for anyone so that it may be passed down.To emphasize the importance of primary sources, Seignobos and Langlois in their handbook coined the famous maxime "L'histoire se fait avec des documents".

His collaborator on "Introduction to the Study of History", Charles Seignobos was also a lecturer in Sorbonne in 1881. Born in Lamastre, France, Seignobos came from a Protestant family and advocated systematic and methodical approach to the study of history. His books are widely used in schools throughout France. His work "The Evolution of the French People" was in an important work that traced the history of the French people, rather than its leaders. Not an entire history of France, this book focused on the conditions of life and institutions that made up life in France. It was also another example of his use of the historical method, as it attempts to explain certain conditions, rather than concentrating solely on individual characters. His works include "History of ancient civilization, History of Mediaeval and of modern civilization to the end of the seventeenth century, A political history of contemporary Europe, since 1814, and The world of Babylon : Nineveh and Assyria.

Christian socialism

Christian socialism is a form of religious socialism based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Many Christian socialists believe capitalism to be idolatrous and rooted in greed, which some Christian denominations consider a mortal sin. Christian socialists identify the cause of inequality to be the greed that they associate with capitalism.Christian socialism became a major movement in the United Kingdom beginning in the 19th century. The Christian Socialist Movement, since 2013 known as Christians on the Left, is one formal group.Other earlier figures are also viewed as Christian socialists, such as the nineteenth century writers Frederick Denison Maurice (The Kingdom of Christ, 1838), John Ruskin (Unto This Last, 1862), Charles Kingsley (The Water-Babies, 1863), Thomas Hughes (Tom Brown's Schooldays, 1857), Frederick James Furnivall (co-creator of the Oxford English Dictionary), Adin Ballou (Practical Christian Socialism, 1854), and Francis Bellamy (a Baptist minister and the author of the United States' Pledge of Allegiance).

Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf

Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf (11 June 1738 – 6 October 1815) was a French naturalized German industrialist. He became famous for founding the royal manufacture of printed cottons of Jouy-en-Josas where the toile de Jouy was manufactured.

Oberkampf was born in Wiesenbach, Germany, into a family of dyers. He traveled to educate himself and initially worked in Mulhouse as an engraver, then from October 1758 in Paris as a colourist.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic ( (listen); Czech: Česká republika [ˈtʃɛskaː ˈrɛpublɪka] (listen)), also known by its short-form name, Czechia ( (listen); Czech: Česko [ˈtʃɛsko] (listen)), is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres (30,450 sq mi) with a mostly temperate continental climate and oceanic climate. It is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants; its capital and largest city is Prague, with 1.3 million residents. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc and Pilsen. The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union (EU), NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.

It is a developed country with an advanced, high income export-oriented social market economy based in services, manufacturing and innovation. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic is a welfare state with a "continental" European social model, a universal health care system, tuition-free university education and is ranked 14th in the Human Capital Index. It ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance.

The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Beside Bohemia itself, the King of Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, holding a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor; and Prague was the imperial seat in periods between the 14th and 17th century. In the Hussite Wars of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Catholic Church.

Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Catholicism, and also adopted a policy of gradual Germanization. This contributed to the anti-Habsburg sentiment. A long history of resentment of the Catholic Church followed and still continues. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the German Confederation 1815-1866 as part of Austrian Empire (1804 to 1867) and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.

Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became the Slovak Republic; Czechoslovakia was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. Most of the three millions of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.

Edmond de Pressensé

Edmond Dehault de Pressensé (7 January 1824 – 8 April 1891) was a French Protestant religious leader.

French Wars of Religion

The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of war and popular unrest between Roman Catholics and Huguenots (Reformed/Calvinist Protestants) in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimated that three million people perished in this period from violence, famine, or disease in what is considered the second deadliest religious war in European history (surpassed only by the Thirty Years' War, which took eight million lives).Much of the conflict took place during the long regency of Queen Catherine de' Medici, widow of Henry II of France, for her minor sons. It also involved a dynastic power struggle between powerful noble families in the line for succession to the French throne: the wealthy, ambitious, and fervently Roman Catholic ducal House of Guise (a cadet branch of the House of Lorraine, who claimed descent from Charlemagne) and their ally Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France (i.e., commander in chief of the French armed forces) versus the less wealthy House of Condé (a branch of the House of Bourbon), princes of the blood in the line of succession to the throne who were sympathetic to Calvinism. Foreign allies provided financing and other assistance to both sides, with Habsburg Spain and the Duchy of Savoy supporting the Guises, and England supporting the Protestant side led by the Condés and by the Protestant Jeanne d'Albret, wife of Antoine de Bourbon, King of Navarre, and her son, Henry of Navarre.

Moderates, primarily associated with the French Valois monarchy and its advisers, tried to balance the situation and avoid open bloodshed. This group (pejoratively known as Politiques) put their hopes in the ability of a strong centralized government to maintain order and harmony. In contrast to the previous hardline policies of Henri II and his father Francis I, they began introducing gradual concessions to Huguenots. A most notable moderate, at least initially, was the queen mother, Catherine de' Medici. Catherine, however, later hardened her stance and, at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572, sided with the Guises. This pivotal historical event involved a complete breakdown of state control resulting in series of riots and massacres in which Catholic mobs killed between 5,000 and 30,000 Protestants over a period of weeks throughout the entire kingdom.

At the conclusion of the conflict in 1598, the Protestant Henry of Navarre, heir to the French throne, converted to Catholicism and was crowned Henry IV of France. He issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted Huguenots substantial rights and freedoms though this did not end Catholic hostility towards them or towards him, personally. The wars of religion threatened the authority of the monarchy, already fragile under the rule of Catherine's three sons and the last Valois kings: Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. This changed under the reign of their Bourbon successor Henry IV. The edict of Nantes was revoked later in 1685 with the Edict of Fontainebleau by Louis XIV of France. Henry IV's wise governance and selection of able administrators did leave a legacy of a strong centralized government, stability, and economic prosperity that has gained him the reputation as France's best and most beloved monarch, earning him the designation "Good King Henry".

Jean Sturm Gymnasium

The Jean Sturm Gymnasium is a private Protestant school in Strasbourg, teaching children from the third year of secondary education through to the Baccalaureat.

The school, which was the precursor of the University of Strasbourg, was founded in 1538 by the humanist Johannes Sturm, just a year after he had arrived in the city. In March 1538, the chief town councillor of Strasbourg, the unrelated Jacob Sturm von Sturmeck, asked Sturm to reorganize education in the city.

In March 1538 Jean Sturm published his treatise 'De literarum ludis recte aperiendis liber' to justify the creation of a unique school in Strasbourg.

The Chapter of St Thomas Church in Strasbourg was also involved in the creation of the school. Jean Sturm was the first rector of the school. One of the members of the Chapter of St Thomas, Church of Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine, is still responsible for ensuring that the religious instruction in the school is given according to the proper Protestant doctrine. The medium of instruction for many years was uniquely in Latin.

The school was set up in its present location, which at the time was part of the Dominican Convent where Meister Eckhart and Joannes Tauler once taught. The original name was Schola Argentoratensis, from Argentoratum, the former Latin name of Strasbourg. From the outset the school offered teaching in the new humanist tradition.

It provided the model for the modern German gymnasium.

In 2005 the school was merged with the Lucie-Berger school, under the name 'Pôle éducatif Jan-Amos-Comenius', enabling the school to extend the age-range of its teaching to cover kindergarten through to the Baccalaureat and making it the largest private Protestant educational institution in France.

Today the school, which has some 2,000 pupils, boasts a 100% success rate in the Baccaleureat.

Jeanbon Saint-André

Jean Bon Saint-André (February 25, 1749 – December 10, 1813) was a French politician of the Revolutionary era.

Marc Boegner

Marc Boegner, commonly known as pasteur Boegner (French: [pastœʁ bœɲe]; 21 February 1881 – 18 December 1970), was a theologist, influential pastor, notable member of the French Resistance, and a French essayist, and a notable voice in the ecumenical movement.

Marguerite de Witt-Schlumberger

Marguerite de Witt-Schlumberger (20 January 1853 – 23 October 1924) was a French campaigner for pronatalism, alcoholic abstinence, and feminism. She was the president of the French Union for Women's Suffrage (Union française pour le suffrage des femmes / UFSF) movement. She married into the Schlumberger family and became a powerfully influential matriarch and the mother of several sons who achieved notability in their own right. For her active involvement and service to the government, she was awarded the Croix of the French Legion of Honour in 1920.

Marie Durand

Marie Durand (1711–1776), was a French Protestant. She was famously imprisoned in the Tour de Constance (Aigues-Mortes) from 25 August 1730 for attending a Huguenot assembly with her mother, or perhaps because her brother, Pierre Durand, was a well-known preacher, or perhaps because of her marriage.

Massacre of Wassy

The Massacre of Wassy, also known as the Massacre of Vassy, is the name given to the murder of Huguenot worshippers and citizens in an armed action by troops of Francis, Duke of Guise, in Wassy, France on 1 March 1562. The massacre is identified as the first major event in the French Wars of Religion. The series of battles that followed concluded in the signing of the Peace of Amboise (or Pacification Treaty of Amboise) the next year, on 19 March 1563.

The events surrounding the Massacre of Wassy became widely known by a series of forty engravings published in Geneva seven years later.

Max Leenhardt

Michel Maximilien Leenhardt (2 April 1853, Montpellier - 15 May 1941, Montpellier) was a French painter, known for landscapes, history paintings and genre scenes.

Protestantism in France

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 (Pierre Vaudes/de Vaux) 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.

Hans J. Hillerbrand in his Encyclopedia of Protestantism claims the Huguenots reached as much as 10% of the French population on the eve of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, declining to 7-8% by the end of the 16th century, and further after heavy persecution began once again with the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV of France.

Protestants were granted a degree of religious freedom following the Edict of Nantes, but it ceased with the Edict of Fontainebleau. Protestant minority has been persecuted, and a majority of Huguenots fled the country, leaving isolated communities like the one in the Cevennes region, which survives to this day.

Today Protestants in France number over one million, or about two percent of the country's population. A renewed interest in Protestantism has been brought by numerous Evangelical Protestants, rather than stagnating Reformed and Lutheran confessions which since 2013 have been largely contained to the United Protestant Church of France.

Wilfred Monod

William Frédéric Monod better known as Wilfred Monod (1867, Paris - 1943) was a Protestant Professor of theology associated to Paris and Rouen. He founded the Order of Watchers and was active in ecumenical efforts in France. He once suggested a desire for the rehabilitation of Marcion of Sinope and a removal of omnipotence and omnipresence from the conception of God. These ideas were quite controversial. He was also the father of Théodore Monod.

He was a Christian pacifist.

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