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Definition: Mornay from Collins English Dictionary


1 Philippe de (filip də), Seigneur du Plessis-Marly. 1549–1623, French Huguenot leader Also: Duplessis-Mornay

Summary Article: du Plessis-Mornay, Philippe from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French churchman and statesman. A Protestant, he played a leading role in trying to reconcile the Catholic and Protestant (Huguenot) factions during the French religious conflicts of the late 16th century. An adviser to Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV), he acted as mediator between the Huguenots and the king, being instrumental in the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes.

Born at Buhi in the Vexin into one of France's most distinguished families, he was converted by his mother to Calvinism and after study in Germany became attached to Coligny. The Massacre of St Bartholomew forced him to take refuge in England. Returning to France, he became an advisor to Henry of Navarre. He wrote extensively in favour of the Huguenots and religious toleration, his best-known work being Traité de la vérité de la religion chrétienne/Treatise on the Truth of the Christian Religion (1581). Henry employed him in many official roles, including ambassador to Spain and Flanders, and governor of Saumur.

He lost favour after the publication of his treatise De l'institution, usage, et doctrine du saint sacrement de l'eucharistie en l'Eglise ancienne/The Sacrament of the Eucharist in the Early Church (1598), and in 1611 he published an overt attack on the Catholic Church. Marie de' Medici restored him to favour because of his efforts to avert religious war after Henry IV's death but, following the Huguenot uprising of 1620, he fell once more from grace. His standing can be gauged from his nickname, ‘the Pope of the Huguenots’.

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