Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Abjuration Document


On May 24, 1431, Joan of Arc was taken to the cemetery of St. Ouen where she was threatened with being burned if she did not submit herself fully to the authority of the church officials there present and "abjure." Under intense pressure Joan agreed to sign a document which she understood would mean her re-admittance to the Church where she would remain a prisoner but be guarded by women. Joan signed some kind of document however there is evidence given later at Joan's Trial of Rehabilitation by the people involved that the actual document read to her that she signed was not the one below that was entered into the official record of her trial as the orginal contained only about seven lines or was about the length of the Lord's Prayer as several testified. It should also be noted that, contrary to what Joan believed she was agreeing to, she was not taken to a Church prison and was instead taken back to her cell remaining under the guard of English soldiers. A description of the event is found in the official record just before the entry of the Abjuration Document: "Then, in the presence of all the afore named, in presence of an immense number of people and Clergy, she did make and utter her recantation and abjuration, following a formula written in French, which was read to her; a formula which she did pronounce herself, and the schedule of which she did sign with her own hand, and of which the tenor follows:"

All who have erred and been mistaken in the Christian Faith and, by the grace of God, have since returned into the light of truth and the unity of Our Holy Mother Church, should well guard themselves that the Evil One doth not drive them back and cause them to relapse into error and damnation. For this cause, I, Joan, commonly called the Maid, a miserable sinner, after that I had recognized the snares of error in the which I was held, and [after] that, by the grace of God, I had returned to our Holy Mother Church, in order that it may be seen that, not feigningly but with a good heart and good will, I have returned thereto; I confess that I have most grievously sinned, in pretending untruthfully to have had revelations and apparitions from God, from the Angels, and Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret; in seducing others; in believing foolishly and lightly; in making superstitious divinations; in blaspheming God and His Saints; in breaking the Divine Law, Holy Scripture, and the lawful Canons; in wearing a dissolute habit, misshapen and immodest and against the propriety of nature, and hair clipped 'en ronde' in the style of a man, against all the modesty of the feminine sex; also, in bearing arms in great presumption; in cruelly desiring the effusion of human blood; in saying that all these things I did by the command of God, the Angels, and the aforesaid Saints, and that in these things I did well and was not mistaken; in despising God and His Sacraments; in making seditions; and in being idolatrous, by adoring evil spirits and invoking them. I confess also that I have been schismatic and in many ways have erred from the Faith. The which crimes and errors, from my heart and without lying, I--by the grace of Our Lord, returned into the way of truth, by the holy doctrine and good counsel of you and the Doctors and Masters who have conveyed it to me---abjure as blasphemy and renounce them all, and depart therefrom. And upon all these things aforesaid I submit to the correction, disposal, amendment, and entire decision of our Holy Mother Church and of your good justice. Also I swear and promise to you, to my Lord Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, to our Holy Father the Pope of Rome, his Vicar, and his successors, and to you, my Lords, the reverend Father in God my Lord the Bishop of Beauvais, the religious person, Brother Jean Lemaître, Deputy of my Lord the Inquisitor of the Faith, as my judges, that never, by any exhortation or other manner, will I return to the aforesaid errors, from which it has pleased Our Lord to deliver and take me; but always I will remain in union with our Holy Mother Church and in the obedience of our Holy Father the Pope of Rome. And this I say, affirm, and swear, by God Almighty and by the Holy Gospels.
And in sign of this, I have signed this schedule with my signature.
(Signed thus)
Jehanne +


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