On 11 March 1715, a party of Catholic and Lutheran officials surveyed the sanctuary of the former Franciscan church in the Alsatian city of Colmar. Protestants had celebrated services at the church for more than a century. Louis XIV, who had outlawed French Calvinism, could not expel his Alsatian Lutheran subjects, who were protected by Imperial law, so he ordered that the sanctuary be walled off from the nave and re-consecrated for Catholic services. The decision generated a protracted legal struggle in which Colmar’s Catholics and Protestants constructed conflicting and false confessional histories for the city in an effort to justify their rights to the contested sanctuary. Colmar’s Lutherans ‘forgot’ that their community initially had aligned, illegally, with Swiss reformers and not Luther, while the Catholics ‘remembered’ the popularly supported civic reformation as the act of two self-indulgent civic officials. In the end, the royal judges ruled that the wall would stay.
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Peter G. Wallace
- Macmillan Education UK
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