“When you are brought before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say. For I, your heavenly Father will tell you what to say at that time. I will be speaking through you”.
Luke 12:11 & 12
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day
St. Bartholomew’s Day of the French Protestant Huguenots massacre occurred in Paris on August 24 & 25, 1572. Catherine de’ Medici plotted and carried this action forward with the roman catholic nobles and citizens. This occurred during the repetitive wars initiated by the Roman Catholic church against the Huguenots in the late 16th century.
The background of this massacre was the political and religious rivalries of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, a Huguenot leader of war in the low French countries against Spain to prevent a civil war of which French king Charles IX was planning for the summer of 1572. Charle’s mother, Catherine de’ Medici, became suspicious of Coligny’s influence over the King. She then approved the Roman Catholic plot of the House of Guise to assassinate Coligny.
Catherine’s daughter Margaret of France, a Catholic, was to be married to Henry of Navarre, a Huguenot, on August 15, 1572. Many Huguenot nobility travelled to Paris for this wedding. Four days later, the assassination attempt on Coligny’s life was unsuccessful, suffering only being wounded. France’s government agreed to an investigation to appease the Huguenots’ anger.
Catherine, afraid of being exposed of her conspiracy, met in secret with nobles at Tuileries palace to plot the complete extermination of the opposition who remained in Paris enjoying the various wedding festivities. Catherine and multiple nobles convinced King Charles to approve of this brutality.
On the eve of August 23, 1572, Paris municipality was called to Lourve and given their orders. Just before dawn on August 24, 1572, as the bell tolled, the bloody massacre began. The first to succumb was Coligny, supervised by Henry de Guise. Within the Louvre, all of Navarre’s support staff were killed. The massacre ravaged homes and shops. They were pillaging and murdering, throwing the bodies into the Seine River.
On August 25, a royal order was issued to stop the killing. Yet, it continued to spread through Huguenot provinces. Estimated casualties of this brutality are as high as 70,000 and 3,000 in Paris alone. Philip II of Spain and Pope Gregory XIII welcomed this news. The Pope had a medal crafted to celebrate this annihilation of Protestants. The Protestant nations of that day were horrified. King Charles of France explained away the violence by turning the story and scapegoating the Huguenots, saying, “The Huguenots had plotted against the crown.”
Catherine’s intention of crippling the Huguenots was not to be. The Huguenots recovered, regrouped, and stood more vital than ever in their God-given FREEDOM. In 1573 they formed a political party to fight for their religious and civil liberties.
As persecution continued and Catholic mobs butchered thousands more, the Huguenots were forced to flee their country, settling in Europe, the United States, Africa and Canada.
During Canada’s French rule, 1,450 Huguenots settled in Canada. On May 23, 1633, the Catholics gained control, and Canada’s borders were closed to further Huguenots though small groups remained in Quebec.
Labelled as heretics in France, Huguenots were ordered to denounce their beliefs and join the Catholic Church. They were confined within their own country and denied exit under pain of death. Louis XIV hired 300,000 troops to hunt down the heretics and murder and confiscate all property.
The Huguenots were just one of the Protestant groups of the Reformation whose eyes were opened to the TRUTH of the ongoing spiritual, political and economic bondage and corruption of the medieval Roman Catholic Church dating back to 476.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church-Pope, Cardinal, Bishop, Archbishop, Priests, and Monastic orders were all pressing for power, money and control in all aspects of people’s lives.
John Wycliffe 1330-1384 challenged the Clergy’s holding of the Bible hostage from citizens. Wycliffe rightly argued that the Scriptures were God’s Authority and that church hierarchy, including the Pope, was unbiblical and not ordained by almighty God. Wycliffe stated that the Bible was only written in Latin and not the language of the ordinary people and, therefore, not accessible to the public eye. John Wycliffe translated the Bible into Middle English, known as the Wycliffe Bible. He died of a stroke in 1384. Afterwards condemned as a Heretic, and his remains were exhumed and burned. Numerous Men and Women have stood up for God’s truth and Freedom of choice over the centuries.
John Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, and George Washington are among the descendants of Huguenots who had to flee their countries for Freedom to live as God directed. These men contributed to the founding of the United States and its constitution.
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished. So the religious leaders ordered them to withdraw and conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “To stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them not to speak no longer in this man’s name.” Then they called them in and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of JESUS. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in GOD’S sight to obey you rather than GOD. For we cannot help speaking the TRUTH that we have seen and heard.” The religious authorities countered, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.” Once again, Peter and the others replied: “We must obey GOD rather than MAN.” The leaders had them flogged and ordered them not to speak in the name of JESUS and let them go. The apostles left rejoicing that they were worthy of suffering for JESUS. Day after day, they continued; they NEVER STOPPED teaching and proclaiming the truth about JESUS”.
We ponder the history at the hands of Political/Religious/Economical tyranny and the courage and boldness of the people who chose to stand for TRUTH and FREEDOM OF CHOICE no matter the COST. I encourage each of us to look within ourselves and decide, are we willing to lose OUR FREEDOM to TYRANNY? Almighty GOD holds us accountable for our choices.
WHICH DIRECTION WILL YOU CHOOSE? WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE BRINGS A RESULT.
Monday, May 29, 2023
Sally Darlene Cooper