Archiver > FRA-ALSACE > 2006-05 > 1148238486

From: Etienne Herrbach <>
Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 21:08:06 +0200
In-Reply-To: <>

Hello Paul and all listers,

you're right, Alsace was part of the German Empire at the time of the
Protestant Reform (early 16th cty). Alsace was a complicated mosaic of
various lordships and possessions (I can send a scanned map to those
interested). After the Peace of Augsburg (1555), the people in each lordship
had to adopt the confession of the lord or owner, according to the rule
"cujus regio, cujus religio".

The major part of Alsace became French after the Treatises of Westphalia
(1648), however some territories and towns did so later (Strasbourg 1681,
Mulhouse 1799). The French King Louis XIV thought it was better "not to
touch to Alsatian affairs", even though he favored the Catholics wherever he
could and the Protestants were subjected to much vexation and injustice (but
no real persecution as in "old" France). Even though Alsace was French in
1685, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes had no dramatic effects in
Alsace, apart of course that many French Huguenots crossed Alsace to flee to
Germany and many of them even settled down in Alsace (especially Bischwiller
and Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines).

The "simultaneum" was introduced in every Protestant parish where lived at
least 7 Catholic families. The church was shared by the two confessions at
different time schedules. The authorities encouraged Catholic families to
settle down in majorily Protestant villages, so as to reach the number of 7
families. The simultaneum was experienced by Protestants as an injustice
and it gave rise to conflicts and trials, sometimes riots. Between the 17th
cty and 1850, the simultaneum was introduced in up to 150 villages, majorily
in the northern part of Alsace. After 1850, it was suppressed in many
places, mostly because Catholic parishes built their own churches, thus
avoiding much troubles. There were about 60 simultaneous churches in 1900
in Alsace and about 50 today.

Sources: B. Vogler, Histoire des Chr├ętiens d'Alsace, 1994; Le Partage de
Dieu, Saisons d'Alsace # 102, 1988 (this book gives a brief outline of each
village where simultaneum was introduced at some time)

As far as I know, simultaneum is typically Alsatian. After being a
notorious injustice, it became gradually a sign of tolerance. Here what one
of the most famous Alsatians, Dr Albert SCHWEITZER, Peace Nobel Prize 1952
wrote about it (my translation):

<< The church of my village, fraternally used by Catholics and Protestants,
taught me tolerance. My childish heart already found it beautiful that in
our village, Catholics and Protestants would worship in the same church.
Now, I feel penetrated of joy every time I pass over its sill. I wish that
every church in Alsace that is common to both confessions remains as it is,
like a token, for future, of the religious concord to which our expectations
should tend if we are true Christians. >>

May genealogy exchanges also act for mutual understanding!

Regards from Alsace

> From: "Paul Rands" <>
> Date: samedi 20 mai 2006 18:45
> Subject: Name of Katholische church . . . SIMULTANEUM?
> Etienne,
> You wrote: this village had a "simultaneous church" from 1687 to 1937. The
> "simultaneum" refers to the situation where Catholics and Protestants
> (Lutheran and/or Reformed) shared a common church. The worships were held
> at different times, e.g. Protestants from 8 to 10 am, and Catholics from 10
> to 12 am. Only the Catholics could use the choir.
> Me: This really is interesting. The Revocation of the Treaty of Nantes was
> in 1685. Yet the simultaneum began in 1687. Does that mean that
> protestants were again welcome to worship as they chose? Or was Alsace even
> part of France at that time?
> Was this practice common in Alsace? In France/Germany/Switzerland and other
> places?
> Thanks
> Paul

This thread: