Black Bartholomew’s Day

Today is a grim day. Reformed Christians have no true “holy-day” except the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:10), nevertheless there are seasons and days that are important.[1] Today is one of those important days to me, and it is a grim day.

St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 1572
On August 24th, 1572, the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre was in full effect. Begun the night before with the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, many of the wealthiest French Reformed Christians were in town for the wedding of Henry of Navarre. After a few days, as many as ten thousand were dead.

In Roman Catholic France, the Reformed faith was viewed as wicked and with suspicion, a foreign infection from Frenchman Jean Caulvin (John Calvin) inserting itself from Geneva. But despite the distrust of Protestant theology in Popish France, the Reformed faith was flourishing. In 1555, there were ten churches in all of France that held to Calvin’s Reformed theology. Just seven years later, there were 2,000 churches that were Reformed Protestant strongholds. These Reformed believers went forth boldly under that name “Huguenots.”

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St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

On August 24, 1572, one of the more tragic events occurred in the wars of religion throughout France. Especially within Paris, France, tensions between the Papist Parisians (the majority) and the French nobility and laity that held to the Reformed faith – referred to as Huguenots – were at a premium. After a failed assassination attempt on Admiral de Coligny, a noted Reformed Christian, on August 22, the animosity reached an all time high.

The Huguenot Cross

Catherine de Medici was the queen mother, and by urging her son Charles IX that Reformed Huguenots were a political threat to the stability of Paris and France, de Coligny was assassinated just before dawn on August 24. Following his death, rioting broke out in Paris, which then swept through the country, where neighbor turned on neighbor, and the Catholic majority looted and murdered their Reformed countrymen in a tragic event for the Reformed faith. Continue reading