- St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
- The massacre of some 20,000 Protestants during the week following August 24, 1572, St. Bartholomew's Day, affected Protestant-Roman Catholic relationships for centuries afterward.The prior generation had seen a civil war between Catholic and Protestants in FRANCE, but by 1572, a peace had been ostensibly negotiated. The massacre was instituted by the French king's mother, Catherine de Medici (1519-89), shortly after a peace-sealing wedding between the king's sister and Henry of Navarre, a prominent Huguenot. The first victims were Henry of Navarre's wedding party and the household of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny (1517-72), a statesman who had championed the Protestant cause.The massacre caught the Protestant community unprepared to defend itself, especially as the first deaths led to rioting and more indiscriminate killing. More than 8,000 people died in Paris, and within a week almost twice that many more were killed in the countryside. In Rome, Pope Gregory XIII struck a medal and ordered a mural painted to commemorate the occasion.Further reading:■ Robert M. Kingdon, Myths about the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacres, 1572-1576. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988)■ Robert Jean Knecht, The French Wars of Religion 1559-1598 (New York: Longman, 1996)■ N. M. Sutherland, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew and the European Conflict 1559-1572 (London: Macmillan, 1973).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.