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     Soon after the Protestant Reformation began in Germany it spread to France. The first Protestant martyr in France, Jean Vallière, was burned at the stake in August of 1523 in Paris. John Calvin prefaced his Institutes of the Christian Religion with a letter to King Francis I seeking toleration for the reformers.
     The first non-Catholic congregation in French territory, was Lutheran,  organized in 1546 in Meaux. A Huguenot church was founded in Paris about 1555 in spite of persecution. The first Protestant synod was summoned in 1559. A confession of faith drawn up by the deputies was strongly influenced by Calvin's ideas. In general, French Protestants were Reformed rather than Lutheran.
     The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, August 24-25, 1572, brought about the death of nearly all the leading Huguenots in Paris, and led to the deaths of thousands of Protestants throughout France. in 1589 Henry IV, a Protestant, took the throne. In 1593 he converted to Catholicism, and in 1598 promulgated the Edict of Nantes, which provided for the religious and political freedom of the Huguenots.


     Continued conflict culminated in the Peace of Alès of 1629 which withdrew the political freedom of the Huguenots while it continued to guarantee their freedom of conscience. These remaining rights eroded during the next decades, and on October 18, 1685 the Edict of Nantes was formally revoked by Louis IV. Over the next several years more than 400,000 Huguenots left France, emigrating to England, Ireland, Scotland, Prussia, the Netherlands, North and South America, Australia, and Canada. The father of Paul Revere, Boston silversmith and patriot, Apollos Rivoire, was a Huguenot.
     The stamp shows the area of Huguenot influence, probably at its greatest extent. The red areas are those controlled by the Roman Catholic Alliance. It was issued to mark the 300th anniversary of the settlement of Huguenots on the Cape of Africa in 1688.

SCN 711


     Raoul Follereu was born in 1903. In 1920 he published his first book, The Book of Love. He was a journalist and during one of his trips to Africa he became aware of the problems faced by people with leprosy (Hansen's disease). During 1950s and 1960s he organized conferences and raised funds for the treatment and rehabilitation of people with leprosy.
     The stamp was issued in 1978 to mark the twenty-fifth World Leprosy Day. It shows a map of the southern hemisphere with the areas where leprosy is endemic colored in various colors to indicate the prominence of the disease,
     The color code below is based on a 2002 map and is only approximate when applied to this map:
          Dark blue indicates the highest prevalence, 5 to 15 per 10,000 people
          Dark gray, 3-5 per 10,000
          Light gray, 1-3 per 10,000
          In addition Light blue and light and dark green are used.
     Dr. Enzo Venza, president of the Italian Association for Leprosy (AIFO) said that "every day 2,000 people in the world find out that they are lepers.

SCN C270


     Although Finnish is the official language of the country, other languages are spoken by parts of the population, including a dialect of Swedish, several dialects of Sami or Lappish, Estonian, Romani, and Karelian. in 1976 a stamp showing a map of the various language areas was issued to commemorate the centenary of the Finnish Language Society. Unfortunately, there is no key available for the map. Swedish is indicated by the white areas along the western and southern coasts and the island of Aaland; the white area at the top of the map indicates Saami dialects. Since over 94% of the population speak Finnish most of the map must indicate various Finnish dialects.

SCN 585