The Temple of Reason
During the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror,” the atheists of the time initiated a campaign to “dechristianize” society. On November 10, 1793 the Mayor of Paris proclaimed a grand celebration called the “Festival of Liberty and Reason.”
The festival took place inside the Notre Dame Cathedral. The insignia of the Catholic religion inside the church had been covered up and a statue of “Liberty” replaced the image of the Blessed Virgin. A mound was heaped up, on which stood a Greek temple, with an inscription — ‘To Philosophy’ — and with four busts of philosophers. . . . The ‘Torch of Truth’ flamed upon the altar.
Young girls marched in a procession clad in white, with tricolor shashes, wore wreaths of flowers and carried torches. Then there emerged from the temple a beautiful woman, dressed in a mantle of blue and wearing a red cap. This was the Goddess “Reason” – the dancer, Mademoiselle Maillard, who was placed on a throne on the High Altar of the church.
A decree was passed that henceforth Notre Dame would be known as the Temple of Reason.
It was short-lived.
Enjoy listening to a beautiful chant from the Cistercian Abbey Stift Heiligenkreuz in the Vienna Woods: