The Incredible Christian History of France

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Paris is a global attraction for all tourists who love to travel to different places and relish in different cultures. A private city tour Paris takes you through the art, fashion, and traditions of the capital city of France. The country also has a great history in respect to Christianity, which is not known to many. Below is a quick look at the incredible Christian history of France, learning which is sure to add to your private tours Paris experiences.

The Origin of France

France was earlier known as “Gaul”. It provided homage to the Celts, who moved to Southern region of the country during 800 BC. The Celtic Gauls were actually Israelites from the tribe of Reuben.

The oldest city of France, Marseilles, was found in 600 BC by the Phocaeans (a Greek tribe). An ancient harbor of France is also located in Marseilles, which you can explore on your private city tour Paris. The Celts, Greeks, and Phoenicians, who lived in Marseilles, played a crucial role in expanding its trade with the cities of Greek, Northern Europe, and the Atlantic.

By the beginning of 300 AD, a group of Germans from central Europe, known as the Franks, settled in the country. A group of Vikings from Norway also occupied the region of Normandy at that time, and they too had an Israelite ancestry.

The First Christians in France

The people of France were converted to Christians in the First Century AD. At this time, the Christians of Jerusalem and all cities of Palestine were severely persecuted. Many followers of Jesus including Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, and Mary Magdalene, were all set afloat in a boat without an oar or sail. Nevertheless, the boat miraculously reached the shores of a region near Marseilles, where Philip had already started preaching the word. Today, this place is called Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.

Joseph of Arimathea was the uncle of the Virgin Mary. He was also a tin trader, who actually laid down the first Christian Church in England. However, it was Philip, one among the twelve disciples of Jesus, who is known for propagating Christianity in ancient France. He also asked help from Joseph of Arimathea for spreading the word. For about four years, Joseph with his group lived in Avalon (Glastonbury), whilst Philip’s followers preached Christianity and found churches and schools in Gaul.

The Dark Ages

During the time period commonly known as Dark Ages, Christians were severely persecuted in and around Rome, and the French Christians also suffered immensely at that time. However, in the following centuries, the Christian religion grew stronger in Gaul and throughout the Roman Empire. However, the true Gospel was lost from many regions in France and Europe, as the barbaric invasions muddled it up with their religious superstitions and ignorance.

King Clovis, King Charlemagne, and all other kings gave their full support to the Roman Catholic Church, which was a blend of Christianity and heathen practices, and they further twisted the true basis of the Gospel according to their own interests. They persecuted and killed everyone who opposed their doctrine to maintain their supremacy throughout Europe. Millions of people throughout the centuries become the victims of their torture. However, there were true Christians even in this Dark Age of persecutions.

The Albigenses

The Albigenses, also known as “Cathars”, emerged from the region of Albi and Toulouse by 1100 AD. The Albigenses were reformers who had strong belief in the Holy Spirit. They were used to reading the Bible in their common language (Latin Vulgate), which was forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church, and hence, they were inculpated for the offense of using a non-catholic Bible.

Pope Innocent III then started a crusade against them. Simon of Monfort and the Northern Barons helped him in the process. The Albigenses, who refused to give up their faith, were cruelly tortured and killed. Some of the Albigenses escaped to the area of Piedmont, where they found their refuge. Despite all these persecutions, the small group of Albigenses who fled the region, kept their firm faith.

The Waldenses

Most of the people think that the Waldenses emerged in the 12th Century. However, you can trace back their teachings to even the 4th Century. The churches of Lombardy and Piedmont still preached the Bible doctrine even after many churches being brought under the supremacy of the Papacy. They removed all images from the churches and preached the justification by faith. They rejected purgatory and the use of relics and pilgrimages to gain merits.

By 1059, many of the churches in northern Italy submitted themselves to the Pope. The ones who did not want to submit themselves to the Pope moved to North-West Italy.

The Reformation in France and the Huguenots

The persecutions on Christians pushed France to spiritual darkness for many centuries. In 1517, Luther criticized the Roman Catholics and attached his 95 theses on the doors of his churches in Wittenberg and Germany. The followers of protestant faith were called “Huguenots” in France.