France has a divine calling
“Learn, my son, that the kingdom of France is predestined by God to defend the Church of Christ Our Lord. This kingdom will be great among all the kingdoms of the earth. In as much as it is loyal to its calling, it will be victorious. If it proves unfaithful in this, it will be punished harshly. Nevertheless, it will remain until the end of time.”Saint Remy, Bishop of Reims, at Clovis’s baptism in 498 A-C.
The Gallic Church: The first centuries after Christ’s resurrection
In the first centuries of the Christian era, the church in Gaul was one of the strongest in the world and had many great leaders. Irenaeus, the church father and bishop of Lyon, played a significant role in defending the worldwide church against heresy. Martin of Tours established one of the first centers of missionary training in the Western world. In the following years, France sent out many missionaries to evangelize the surrounding nations. Germanus, a renowned healing evangelist, went to Britain. Patrick, who evangelized the Irish, was trained there.
In 496, Clovis I became the first French King to convert to Christianity. This was a significant event that changed the entire course of the French nation.
Clovis became king of the Franks at the age of 15 and had to consolidate the Kingdom, beset by numerous attacks from other pagan clans. Widower of a first marriage, he became involved in a second marriage with the Christian princess Clotilde who shared the Gospel with him. In a stalemate during the battle of Tolbiac in 496 and not knowing how to escape defeat, he appealed to his wife’s God, promising to abandon his gods and surrender to Him, if He granted him victory. He would have cried out on the battlefield:
“Jesus Christ, son of the God of Clotilda, if you will give me victory over my enemies, I will be baptized in your name!”
The full story of his conversion is recounted by Gregory of Tours (539-594) in his work History of the Franks.
According to the book The Christian Trumpet by Gaudentius Rossi (1817-1891), St. Remigius gave this prophecy to Clovis on the day of his baptism:
“…the Kingdom of France is predestined by God for the defense of the Roman Church, which is the only true Church of Christ. This kingdom shall one day be great among the kingdoms of the earth, and shall embrace all the limits of the Roman Empire, and shall submit all other kingdoms to its own scepter. It shall last until the end of time. It shall be victorious and prosperous as long as it will remain faithful to the Holy Roman See, and will not be guilty of those crimes which ruin nations; but it shall be rudely punished every time that it will become unfaithful to its vocation.”
We believe that God’s calling on France is to defend the true Church of Christ – all those who call on the name of the Lord and have given their lives to him – whether through the more outspoken Evangelical movements or through other Protestant and Catholic works.
Evangelicals In France
For the first time since the 1950s, French Protestants make up close to 3% of the population – driven largely by growth in the Evangelical population (representing 1.6% of the population). While churches are being planted at an increasing rate, as of 2023, there is still an average of just one Evangelical church for every 25,000 inhabitants in France.
The goal of most denominations is to see one church for every 10,000 inhabitants – making the Gospel accessible to all French people. For a complete breakdown of church statistics and information, please visit the CNEF website.
Faith and Beliefs
It has also been steadily increasing for at least the last twenty years: belief in astrology and fortune-telling has risen by 8 points since 2000, reaching 41% and 26% respectively.
As a result, more than a quarter of French people have consulted a specialist (26%) at least once in their lives.
Intergenerational transmission of faith
Intergenerational religious transmission processes shape the religious landscape over the long term:
There are 100,000 mediums in France and about 2,500 pastors (40 mediums for every 1 pastor).
The French spend 4 billion EUR every year on spiritism.
The number of evangelicals in France has multiplied by almost 15 in the last 70 years! Praise God!
At this moment, there is in average 1 Evangelical Protestant church per 25,000 inhabitants in France. The members of the National Counsel of French Evangelicals have set themselves a target of 1 per 10,000.
There are currently 45 known evangelical unions or denominations, 33 of which are members of the Conseil National des Évangéliques de France.
History of Christianity in France
Explore the fascinating history of Christianity in France, from its ancient roots to the present day. Uncover the struggles, triumphs, and transformations that have shaped the spiritual landscape of France.