Supreme Being, Cult of the

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Supreme Being, Cult of the


a state-organized religious cult decreed on 18 Floréal (May 7), 1794, by the Convention during the Jacobin dictatorship in France. The establishment of the cult was an attempt by the Jacobins to put an end to dechristianization and to consolidate their ideological influence over the masses, thus strengthening the Jacobin dictatorship. The new faith, which was termed a “civil religion,” was based on the acceptance of a powerful supreme being and of the immortality of the soul. The introduction of the cult meant a substitution of religious undertakings in place of a solution to social problems—a substitution that could not satisfy the masses. The cult, essentially a “purified Christianity,” was not successful and ceased to exist soon after the fall of the Jacobin dictatorship on 9 Thermidor (July 27-28), 1794.


Domnich, M. Velikaia frantsuzskaia burzhuaznaia revoliutsiia i katolicheskaia tserkov’. Moscow, 1960.
Aulard, A. Kul’t Razuma i kul’t Verkhovnogo Sushchestva vo vremia frantsuzskoi revoliutsii. Leningrad, 1925. (Translated from French.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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