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The Bicentenary of the Concordat
Napoleon's religious policy - a conference organised by the Association du Souvenir Napoléonien, Lyons, 8-9 June, 2001

Part 1 - The Concordat, the crucible of religious re-organisation

Christian Sorrel - maître de conférences in Modern History, Université de Savoie, Chambéry
La situation religieuse de la France en 1800
A detailed discussion of the pre-Concordat situation, the Théophilanthropes, the Eglise Conventionelle, presenting the execution of priests during the Terreur and the coup d'état of 18 Fructidor, An V, with the guillotine sèche (in other words, deportation to places such as Guyana) for priests and exile in Germany, Italy and the British Isles. With the return of religion during the Consulate, came the rise of female congregations; God the avenger became seen as God the merciful, ready to mend the broken church.

Marc Allegret, historian
Le Concordat: négociations et modalités
A presentation of the history of the negotiation of the Concordat, with Napoleon shown as desiring to impose religious peace as a political gesture accommodated to the supposed will of the people.

Jean-Pierre Chantin - PhD in Modern History, Université de Lyon III
Petite Eglise ou anticoncordataires? Les oppositions religeuses au Concordat
In addition to the opposition of atheists/Theophilanthropists, there was not only dislike of the Concordat among the renegade Petite Eglise but also amongst the emigré bishops. Whilst the Petite Eglise was smaller than thought, it was however the tip of the iceberg of religious opposition to the Concordat.

Patrick Cabanel - lecturer in Modern History, Université de Toulouse
Napoléon et les protestants
With the articles organiques (slipped into the Concordat unbeknownst to Pius VII), the extremely small Protestant church in France (less than 1.2% of the population) was placed on a par with the Catholic. In fact, Napoleon may have been positively disposed towards Protestantism as a result of the Protestant missionaries sent to Corsica in the 1780s. Napoleon is known to have regretted that France was not Protestant country and (as appears from his comments quoted in the Mémorial de Sainte Hélène) he believed that agnosticism created social bonds. Seen in this context (one where the state granted religious freedom but not the status of national religion), the Concordat was in fact the beginning of the rise of laicity.
Patrick Cabanel - professeur en Histoire contemporaine, Université de Toulouse : Napoléon et les protestants
Avec les articles organiques, l'Eglise protestante est placée sur un pied d'égalité avec l'Eglise catholique, alors que ses membres représentent moins de 1,2% de la population. Napoléon avait été sensibilisé aux questions protestantes, en raison de la présence de missionnaires protestants envoyés en Corse dans les années 1780. Même si la religion catholique est bien déclarée religion nationale, le Concordat peut être regardé comme les prémisses de la laïcité.

Bernard Petit - President of the Association du Souvenir Napoléonien
Napoléon et les juifs
An account of Napoleon's concern for Jewish matters during the Empire and consideration of the possibility that his remarks about a homeland in Jerusalem make him one of the first Zionists.

Padre Cosimo Semeraro - Director of the Archivi storici e ordinari di storia moderna e contemporanea, Università pontificale salesiana "Don Bosco", Rome
Un concordat napoléonien entre le Saint-Siège et la "Repubblica Italiana", 16 septembre 1803
The Italian Concordat of 16 September 1803 is almost entirely unknown, has no bibliography, and survives only in a manuscript held at the Vatican Library. Study of this concordat reveals that Napoleon's religious policy was effectively Gallican and not Ultramontanist, moderate (18th century in style), political and indirect.

Part 2 - The organisation of religion

Maitre Jacques Debize, President of the Franche-Comté section of the Association du Souvenir Napoléonien
Portalis, ministre des cultes
A biographical sketch of the minister for religion, Jean-Marie-Etienne Portalis.

Jean Laspougeas, maître de conférence, Université de Caen
La paroisse: aspects et problèmes d'une restauration
An exceedingly detailed exposition of the Napoleonic parish. Even though the parish boundaries never changed, the structure within became completely altered, and the parish as such became the single element which allowed the resumption of religion during the Consulate after the persecution of the Revolution and the Directory.

Bruno Benoît - lecturer in Modenr History, IEP Lyon
Les grandes cérémonies: quelle lecture?
A detailed consideration of Napoleon's coronation as emperor, viewing the ceremony as an ostentatious show of power against the backdrop of political chaos and reflecting upon the appropriation of (Gallican) religion for political ends.

Henri Hours, archivist for the Diocese of Lyons
Fesch, restaurateur du diocèse de Lyon, entre le Pape et l'Empereur
An in-depth view of Fesch's energetic (indeed authoritarian) reorganisation of the diocese of Lyons, most notably his restoration of the seminaries, and his privileged but difficult position as Cardinal bishop (thus close to the pope) and Napoleon's uncle.

Part 3 - Napoleon and Religion

Jean Etèvenaux - PhD in History
Les croyances personnelles de Napoléon
A vision of Napoleon's essentially politically expedient view of spirituality.

Jean-Paul Clément, Director of the Maison de Chateaubriand
Chateaubriand et la politique religieuse de Napoléon: équivoques et malentendus
Discussion of the author of the Génie de christianisme, Chateaubriand's 'difficult' relationship with Napoleon.

Oleg Sokolov - maître de conférence, University of Saint Petersburg
L'Eglise orthodoxe russe et Napoléon de 1807 à 1812
A discussion of the Russian Orthodox church and its complete submission vis-à-vis the State.

Ronald Zins, First vice-president of the Association du Souvenir Napoléonien
L'enlèvement du Pape par le général Radet
A discussion of the seizure of the pope by General Radet, also bringing to light interesting details concerning the possible involvement of Murat in the affair and the king of Naples' designs upon the Papal States.

Part 4 - Religion as a political tool

Thierry Choffat, maître de conférence, Université de Nancy
L'instrumentalisation de la religion par le pouvoir
A vision of religion during the Consulate and First Empire being used by Napoleon as an instrument of national peace and social control.

Jacques-Olivier Boudon - Professor of Modern history, University of Rouen, President of the Institut Napoléon
Le clergé catholiques sous le Consulat et l'Empire
Amongst other issues, a vision of the clergy of the Consulate and Empire as the religious equivalents of magistrates or prefects.

Yannick Essertel, BA
Napoléon et la Vendée
A presentation of Napoleon's pacification of the Vendée.

Abbé Bernard Plongeron - Directeur de recherche at the CNRS, lecturer at the Institut Catholique de Paris
La crise du sacerdoce et de l'Empire: 1810-1813
A discussion of Napoleon's growing desperation during the crisis brought on by Pius VII's refusal to invest the bishops nominated by Napoleon; seen against the background of the pope's captivity in Savona and the final meeting of the pontiff and the emperor in Fontainebleau.

Conclusion by Jean Laspougeas

The acts are to be published towards the end of the year. Watch this space!

Recent books
David Cordingly, Heroines and Harlots: Women at Sea in the Great Age of Sail

An interesting survey of the role of women on shore and at sea during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Also published in the US by Random House Adult Trade Group under the strangely anodyne title 'Women sailors and Sailors' Women: An untold maritime history'!

David Cordingly, Heroines and Harlots: Women at Sea in the Great Age of Sail, London: MacMillan, 2001, 334p, ISBN: 0333763734

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