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The French population is approximately 80% Roman Catholic (approximately 48 million), 4.5% predominantly Sunni Islamic (approximately 4 million) and there are also small minorities of Protestants (approximately 950,000), Jews ( 700,000;the largest Jewish community in Europe) and Armenian-Christian. Since the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by Louis XIV, Catholicism has been the state religion.
Since the separation of church and state in 1905, the state has ceased to interfere with the Church. The Roman Catholic Church has eighteen provinces and a total of 95 dioceses in France. The Archbishop of Lyon is at the head of the ecclesiastical provinces.

After Saint Bartholomew's Day (1572), the strength of Protestantism in France was broken. Protestant churches were not recognized until the law of 1802. The main Protestant denominations are: the Église Réformée de France, the Église de la Confession d'Augsburg d'Alsace et de Lorraine, the Église évangélique luthérienne and the Église réformée d'Alsace et de Lorraine.
Since 1905 a federation of Protestant churches consisting of Reformed, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists and free churches: the Fédération Protestante de France.
Protestant theological faculties for the training of pastors are located in Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, Paris and Strasbourg;the last two are inter-confessional faculties. Despite the relatively small number, the influence of the Protestants in France is quite large.

The municipalities of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, St.-Jeures, Fay-sur-Lignon and Tence, located between Le-Puy-en-Velay and St.-Étienne together form a Protestant enclave within Catholic France. This area is also referred to as "La Montagne Protestante".


Graaf, G. de / Auvergne, Ardèche

Strijbos, E. / Auvergne, Ardèche, Lyon, Beaujolais

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Last updated May 2024
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