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St. Pierre Cathedral

The St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, belonging to the Swiss Reformed Church, was begun in the 12th century, and includes an eclectic mix of styles. It is best known as the adopted home church of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Inside the church is a wooden chair used by Calvin.

The area beneath the Cathedral has recently been excavated extensively, revealing a rich history of the site dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. From the 8th to 10th centuries it was one of three cathedrals to coexist on the site. The present building has grown from a cathedral devoted to ecclesiastical use and an early Christian funerary cult; the other two structures, subsumed in the 12th century by the growth of the surviving building, were apparently for different uses, one for public sacraments and the other for church teachings.

At the beginning of the Reform, protestant services were celebrated in barns belonging to members of the congregation: for the district of Saint-Pierre, successively at Bonnemie, Grossetière, Ruilon and finally in Saint- Pierre itself in the Fresneau family's house. Followîng the signature of the "Edit de Nantes" (Nantes Edict), a first temple was built in 1606 on a site inside the Saint-Gemme Priory. This building was burnt in 1626 to prevent that it be transformed into a catholic church as was the case of that in Le Château.

As of 1628, public practice of the reformed religion was forbidden on the island. The ruins of the temple were demolished in 1683. Protestants then used the Temple in Marennes.

After the Concordat (1803), whereby Napoleon allowed the freedom of worship, the Protestant Church of Saint-Pierre was created.

In the beginning, protestant services took place in a house of Saint-Pierre, then in premises belonging t0o the Grenot famîly.

In extremis, on his mother's advice, Pierre Grenot, contractor, gave the premises to the Protestant Church which transformed it into the actual temple, with a municipal subsidy of 3.000 francs. This new building was inaugurated on 12 May 1833.

In the middle of the XXth century, the protestant Churches of the estuary of the Seudre and of the Isle of Oleron were reassembled under the name of Reformed Church of the Isles of Saintonge.

Actually, every summer, the presence of a german protestant minister allows the celebration of bilingual services and the meeting of german and french protestant worshippers.