1. A festival celebrated on the 24th day of August (or 25th at Rome) in the Church of Rome, and on the 11th of June in the Greek Church, in commemoration of the apostle Bartholomew.
2. The day has been rendered infamous in history in consequence of the massacre of the Protestants in France in 1572. The principal Protestants were invited to Paris, under a solemn oath of safety, to celebrate the marriage of the King of Navarre with the sister of the French king. The queen-dowager of Navarre, a zealous Protestant, died before the marriage was celebrated, not without suspicion of poison. The massacre commenced about twilight in the morning on the tolling of a bell of the church of St. Germain. Admiral Coligni was basely murdered in his own house, and then thrown out of a window, to gratify the malice of the Duke of Guise. His head was afterward cut off and sent to the king (Charles IX) and the queen-mother, the bloody Catherine de Medicis; his body, after a thousand indignities offered to it, was hung up by the feet on a gibbet. The murderers then ravaged the whole city of Paris, and put to death more than ten thousand of all ranks. De Thou says, "The very streets and passages resounded with the groans of the dying and of those who were about to be murdered. The bodies of the slain were thrown out of the windows, and with them the courts and chambers of the houses were filled. The dead bodies of others were dragged through the streets; and the blood flowed down the channels in such torrents that it seemed to empty itself into the neighboring river. In short, an innumerable multitude of men, women, and children were involved in one common destruction, and all the gates and entrances to the king's palace were besmeared with blood." From Paris the massacre spread through the kingdom. The total number that fell during this massacre has been estimated by De Thou at 30,000, by Sully at 60,000, and by Perefixe, a popish historian, at 100,000. The news of this atrocious murder was received at Rome with unrestrained joy and delight; a universal jubilee was proclaimed by the pope; the guns of St. Angelo were fired, and bonfires lighted in the streets. A medal was struck in the pope's mint, with his own head on one side, and on the other a rude representation of the massacre, with an angel brandishing a sword, and bearing the inscription "Hugonotorum strages." SEE HUGUENOTS.
Romanist writers treat this massacre in three ways:
(1.) Some, like Caveirac, De Falloux, and Rohrbacher, justify it;
(2.) others affirm that the Romanists were only following the example set by Protestants;
(3.) others again, like Theiner, in his new volumes of the Annales Ecclesiastici, attribute it to politics, not to religion.
Theiner's view is refuted, and the complicity of the Roman Church, with the pope at its head, in this great crime is shown in the Christian Remembrancer, 24:245. Lingard, in his History of England, gives a favorable view of the facts for the Roman side, which is refuted in the Edinburgh Review, vols. 42, 53; and in Lardner, Hist. of England (Cab. Cyclopaedia, vol. 3. See Curths, Die Bartholomausnacht (Lpz. 1814); Wachler, Die Pariser Bluthochzeit (Lpz. 1826); Audin, Hist. de la St. Barthelemy (Paris, 1829); also,. Turner, Hist. of England, vol. 3, Appendix; Cobbin, Historical View of the Ref. Church of France (Lond. 1816); Weiss, History of the Prot. Ref. in France (New York, 1854, 2 vols. 12mo); Shoberl, Persecutions of Popery, 2:1 sq.; Ranke, Hist. of Papacy, 1:276, 424, 491; Gieseler, Ch. Hist. 4:304, Smith's ed.
3. On St. Bartholomew's day in 1662, the year in which the Act of Uniformity (q.v.) was passed, two thousand non-conforming ministers were ejected from their benefices in England. — Mosheim, Ch. Hist. 3, 173 note.