Theophilanthropy was founded by Chemin Dupontès with a goal to maintain was he described as "a rational form of catholicism". Ceremonies are performed at Temple de la cité (previously Notre-Dame), Temple du Contrat Social (previously Saint-Eustache), Temple de la Fidèlité (previously Saint-Gervais) and Temple de l'Harmonie (previously Saint-Sulpice).

Ceremonies are performed not for the God itself (who is unknowable) but for the benefit of those who participate. A typical one will begin by ganishing the altar with flowers and fruits symbolising nature's gift. A patriarch chosen from amongst the faithfull will first offer a prayer of thanks to the Father of Nature (i.e. the Supreme Being). Follows a silent examination of one's conscience. Other patriarchs will then recite sermons chosen from various philosophers of antiquity. Finally, hymns are sung and money is collected for those in need.

Although it proved popular with part of the urban population, Theophilanthropy never really managed to expand into the rural areas.

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