Chapter

The Religion of Versailles

John McManners

in Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 1: The Clerical Establishment and its Social Ramifications

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198270034
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600685 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198270038.003.0003

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 The Religion of Versailles

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The château of Versailles housed a sizeable ecclesiastical establishment, of which the most important was the grand aumônier. Religious life at court followed an elaborate routine of ‘boring magnificence’, enlivened by the Advent and Lent series of sermons before the king, when preachers had to tread a fine line of licensed criticism of the king and royal sycophancy. Churchmen inevitably became embroiled in factional politics, though many of the influential confessors to the royal family did manage to remain above it. The king could do favours through his control of appointments to bishoprics and headships of the great abbeys. The feuille des benefices, controlling these posts, passed through many hands, pious and otherwise, during the eighteenth century, but the system worked reasonably well in protecting the interests of the Church and not making too many unworthy appointments.

Keywords: bishops; confessors; dévots; France; Louis XV; Louis XVI; monarchy; Versailles

Chapter.  12754 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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