Jacques Clément

Jacques Clément

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Jacques Clément was the assassin of the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 king Henry III
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...


He was born at Serbonnes
Serbonnes is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France.-Personalities:Raymond Janot, a national French political figure, was mayor of Serbonnes from 1947 to 1971.-Demography:...

, in today's Yonne
Yonne is a French department named after the Yonne River. It is one of the four constituent departments of Burgundy in eastern France and its prefecture is Auxerre. Its official number is 89....

 département, in Burgundy
Burgundy is one of the 27 regions of France.The name comes from the Burgundians, an ancient Germanic people who settled in the area in early Middle-age. The region of Burgundy is both larger than the old Duchy of Burgundy and smaller than the area ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy, from the modern...

, and became a Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 lay brother
Lay brother
In the most common usage, lay brothers are those members of Catholic religious orders, particularly of monastic orders, occupied primarily with manual labour and with the secular affairs of a monastery or friary, in contrast to the choir monks of the same monastery who are devoted mainly to the...


During the French Wars of Religion
French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion is the name given to a period of civil infighting and military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics and Protestants . The conflict involved the factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such as the House of Bourbon and House of Guise...

, Clément became fanatically religious and an ardent partisan of the Catholic League
Catholic League (French)
The Catholic League of France, sometimes referred to by contemporary Roman Catholics as the Holy League, a major player in the French Wars of Religion, was formed by Duke Henry of Guise in 1576...

. Viewing Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 as heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, he talked of exterminating the Huguenots and formed a plan to kill Henry III. His project was encouraged by some of the heads of the League, in particular Catherine de Guise
Catherine of Cleves
Catherine de Clèves was the wife of Henry, Duke of Guise, and matriarch of the numerous and influential House of Guise. By marriage she was Duchess of Guise from 1570 to 1588, and Dowager Duchess of Guise thereafter...

, the Duchess Montpensier. He was assured of temporal rewards if he succeeded and of eternal bliss if he failed. Having obtained letters for the king, he left Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 on July 31, 1589, and reached Saint-Cloud
Saint-Cloud is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.Like other communes of the Hauts-de-Seine such as Marnes-la-Coquette, Neuilly-sur-Seine or Vaucresson, Saint-Cloud is one of the wealthiest cities in France, ranked 22nd out of the 36500 in...

, the headquarters of Henry, who was besieging Paris, on August 1, 1589.


He was admitted to the royal presence as a disguised priest, and while presenting his letters he told the king he had an important and confidential message to deliver. The attendants then withdrew and, as Clément leaned in to whisper in Henry's ear, he mortally wounded him with a dagger concealed beneath his cloak. The assassin was immediately killed by the returning attendants, but Henry died early in the morning on the following day. Clement’s body was later quartered and burned.

This deed, although seen as a fanatical, brutal assassination by supporters of Henry III, was viewed with far different feelings in Paris and by the partisans of the League. Clément was seen as a martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 and was praised by Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V , born Felice Peretti di Montalto, was Pope from 1585 to 1590.-Early life:The chronicler Andrija Zmajević states that Felice's family originated from modern-day Montenegro...

. His praise was such that canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

was even discussed, although Clément never did achieve sainthood.