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Richelieu, Armand Jean du Plessis

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
E. A. LivingstoneE. A. Livingstone

Richelieu, Armand Jean du Plessis 


French theologian and politician. He was created a cardinal in 1622; he became President of the Council of Ministers in 1624 and from 1629 he was chief minister of France. Seeking to establish a centralized absolutism, he opposed both the feudal aristocracy and the Huguenots; the latter were defeated at La Rochelle in 1628 and their political privileges abolished. Abroad he allied himself with the Protestant German princes and with Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden against the Emperor, thereby impeding the progress of the Counter-Reformation in Germany. He kept his political and religious commitments separate. He was Abbot-General of Cluny from 1629 and encouraged reform of the Benedictine and other religious orders, and he fostered the revival of religious practice and the training of priests.