Rehabilitation trial of Joan of Arc

07/11/1455View on timeline

The trial and retrial of Joan of Arc

On January 9, 1431, in Rouen, the first trial of Joan of Arc began, overseen by the bishop of Beauvais, Pierre de Cauchon, ally to the English whom she had helped defeat on the Hundred Years' War. It was a long and very well-documented process, and it lead to Joan's conviction for heresy on May 29. Formally, the technical reason that justified her execution was the fact that she insisted to wear men's clothing. The following day, May 30, at age 19, she was burned alive at the stake.

On November 7, 1455, a rehabilitation trial began in Notre Dame Cathedral — 24 years after her death, and only after the French had recaptured the city of Rouen and thus gained access to all of the original trial's documents. On July 7, 1456, Joan of Arc was finally declared innocent and a martyr. In 1920, she would be canonized by the Catholic Church.

Trial of Joan of Arc on Wikipedia

Retrial of Joan of Arc on Wikipedia

Statue of Joan of Arc in France. Photograph by Dennis Jarvis, linked below.

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How Cross-Dressing Helped Send Joan of Arc to the Stake

"...After threats of torture and rounds of cross examination, Joan signed a document denying her visions and agreeing not to wear men's clothes. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, but avoided execution. However, within a few days, possibly after some unwanted male advances from prison guards, but more likely because she didn't understand what she'd signed and hadn't been allowed to attend Mass even if she wore female clothes, she returned to the tunic and hose. At the same time, it was discovered that she was still hearing voices. Frustrated by her relapse into heresy — both because she continued to wear men's clothes and continued to claim hearing voices of saints — the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon, decided to excommunicate and then execute her, partly for the heresy of wearing men's clothes.

The charge was defying the Biblical verse Deuteronomy 22:5, which said that women should not wear "that which pertaineth unto a man." Cross-dressing was generally frowned upon by medieval church and state, but there's no record of it being prosecuted or leading directly to a death sentence. Even religious scholars agreed it was sometimes necessary: In Summa Theologica, the priest St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that women wearing mens clothes were sinful, but said it might be done sometimes "without sin on account of some necessity, either in order to hide oneself from enemies, or through lack of other clothes, or for some similar motive." — by Joan Vos Macdonald

Read the full article below:

The cause for the canonization of Jeanne d’Arc will, as soon as the documents relating to her life are ready, be discussed by the Cardinals belonging to the Sacred Congregation of Rites. Every minute particular relating to her life is being looked into with the greatest care by Mgr. Caprara, a learned advocate, who is employed by the Vatican always in matters concerning beatifications and canonizations.

“I am called by my colleagues,” he said, “by a name which will, perhaps surprise you. I am known amongst them as ‘l’avvocato del diavolo,’ because my business is to find out all the sins committed, and all the worst points in the life of the person who is to be Beatified or canonized.

Now, in the case of Jeanne d’Arc this is rather difficult, as there is not much in history to tell us of her personally private life; however, we are making deep researches, and I shall be able undoubtedly to discover her weak points.

“Before she is Beatified, it is necessary that in the course of her life she should have accomplished four miracles.”

When all the documents are ready the case is discussed before the Congregation of Cardinals by the advocate who pleads the cause, Signor Marini, and by me, who oppose, because of those bad points which I have found. If, however, the Cardinals judge in favor of the cause, it is then pleaded before the Pope by the Consistorial advocate, Signor Marucchi. The Pope having given his consent, then Jeanne d’Arc will be made Venerable.

Now, before she is Beatified, it is necessary that in the course of her life she should have accomplished four miracles. It must not be supposed by that that she should have restored anyone to life or done anything in any way supernatural, but some particular episode, like being wonderfully cured or miraculously (let us say, for instance) saved from an accident because it happened in her presence. Once Blessed, it is necessary that two other miracles should happen — that is to say, to persons who, imploring her intercession, get what they want granted — and then she will be canonized and become St. Jeanne d’Arc.” — The New York Herald, European Edition, Jan. 21, 1890

How Cross-Dressing Helped Send Joan of Arc to the Stake

The New York Herald

Statue of Joan of Arc in Notre-Dame of Paris, France, by Carlos Delgado.

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Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, in French Jeanne d'Arc or Jehanne (c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans), is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in north-east France. Joan claimed to have received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.

On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age. — Wikipedia

Joan of Arc on Wikipedia

Biography of Joan of Arc, on the Joan of Arc Archive

Joan of Arc: The Maid of Orleans
JOAN OF ARC - The Maid of Orleans - IT'S HISTORY

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Published in 22/04/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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