Ancient Diocese of Orange

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Interior of Orange Cathedral

The ancient residential diocese of Orange in the Comtat Venaissin in Provence, a fief belonging to the Papacy, was suppressed by the French government during the French Revolution. It was revived in 2009 as a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.


The city now called Orange in southern France was called Arausio in Roman times. It had been founded as a retirement colony for veterans of the Roman Army who had served under Augustus during his campaigns against Marc Antony. It became the seat of a bishop very probably towards the end of the 3rd century: at the Synod of Arles in 314, its bishop was represented by a priest named Faustinus. The first bishop of Arausio whose name is given in extant documents was Constantius, who took part in the Council of Aquileia, 381.[1] From the early 5th century, the see was a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Arles.

Arausio hosted two important synods, in 441[2] and 529.[3] The Second Council of Orange was of importance for its condemnation of what later came to be called Semipelagianism.[4]

In 1516 Francis I of France ordered the union of the principality of Orange and the Dauphiné, the accomplishment of which was ordered by the Parliament of Grenoble in March 1517. This union made the Bishop of Orange subject as far as his temporal rights were concerned to the king of France. On 8 August 1520, King Francis granted Bishop Guillaume Pélissier an extra six months to make his submission to the Chambre des comptes of the Dauphiné.[5]

In accordance with the Concordat of 1801, Pope Pius VII attached the territory of the diocese to the archdiocese of Avignon by the papal bull Qui Christi Domini of 29 November 1801. In 1817, after the fall of the Emperor Bonaparte and the return of the Bourbon monarchy, it was planned to restore the residential status of the bishopric in accordance with a new concordat, but the French parliament refused to ratify the concordat.

The ancient see of Arausio, therefore, is no longer a residential bishopric. In January 2009 Pope Benedict XVI revived the title for use as a titular see,[6] for auxiliary bishops of other dioceses and for curial bureaucrats to whom episcopal status is granted.[7] The title currently (since 27 January 2012) belongs to Archbishop Julio Murat, Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and to Malawi.[8]


To 1000[edit]

A list of names of bishops before 347 was invented by Polycarpe de la Rivière but is unsupported by any evidence.[9]

  • Faustinus in 314 attended the Council of Arles as a cleric accompanying the unnamed bishop of Orange, the first recorded bishop of Orange.[10]
  • ? Aristonus, 347
  • ? Eradius c.356
  • Constantius 381[11]
  • Marin 433
  • Justus c.440-c.455
  • Eutropius of Orange ca. 455-475
  • Verus
  • Florentius of Orange 517-524
  • Vindemialis 527-549
  • Matthieu 555
  • Trapecius 584
  • Salicus 788-798
  • Damasus, v.804
  • Boniface v.820-839
  • Laudon v.840
  • Pons I v.852
  • Gérard I 855-v.862
  • Boniface II*, 860
  • Oldaricus*, 866
  • Gérard II 879
  • Bonnaricus I, 899
  • Ebroinus 910 (resigned because of ill health)[12]
  • Pontius (Pons) II 914
  • Bonnaricus II*, 930
  • Salitoneus*, 940
  • Ingelbertus*, 952
  • Richard*, 968
  • Segaldus*, 980
  • Bertrand*, 994
  • Aldebrand I*, 1005
  • Berniconius*, 1020
  • Aldebrand II*, 1026
  • Pons III*, 1032

The last ten bishops of the 10th and 11th centuries are completely unattested.[13]

1000 to 1300[edit]

  • Odalric c.1040[14]
  • Martin 1058
  • Geraldus de Asteri (Géraud) c.1060[15]
  • Guillaume I c.1080-1098
  • Bérenger 1107-1127
  • Gérard 1128-1129
  • Guillaume II 1130-1138
  • Guillaume III 1139-1140
  • Bernard 1141-c.1170
  • Pierre I 1173
  • Hugues Florent c.1180
  • Arnoul[16] 1182 - after 1204
  • Guillaume Elie[17] after 1204-1221
  • Amicus 1222-c.1240
  • Pierre II c.1240-1271
  • Josselin 1272-c.1278
  • Guillaume D'Espinouse[18] 1281-1321

1300 to 1500[edit]

  • Rostaing I 1322-1324
  • Hugues 1324-1328
  • Pierre III 1329-1342
  • Guillaume VII 1343-1348
  • Jean de Revol 1349-1350
  • Guillaume VIII 1350-1351
  • François de Caritat 1373-1387[19]
  • Pierre Didaci 1389-1413
  • Pierre D'Ailly 1413-1417 (Administrator) (resigned)[20]
  • Georges de Grano 1418-1420
  • Guillaume IX 1420-1428 (transferred to Cassano in s. Italy)[21]
  • Guillaume X 1429-v.1447
  • Bertrand III 1438-v.1442
  • Antoine Ferrier v.1444-1450
  • Jean Payer 1454-1466
  • Guyot Adhémar 1466-1468
  • Jean Gobert 1468-1476
  • Pierre de Surville 1476-1480
  • Laurent Alleman 1481-1483
  • Pierre Carré, O.P.[22] 1483-1510

1500 to 1790[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Only two bishops from Gaul were brave enough to participate: Constantius of Orange and Proculus of Marseille: J. D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio III editio novissima (Florence 1759), pp. 599-601; 615.
  2. ^ J. D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio editio novissima Tomus VI (Florence 1762), pp. 433-452. Karl Joseph von Hefele (1883). A History of the Councils of the Church: A.D. 431 to A.D. 451, tr. from the German, with the author's approbation, and ed. by the ed. of Hagenbach's history of doctrines, 1883. Volume III. A.D. 431 to A.D. 451. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. pp. 159–164. 
  3. ^ J. D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio editio novissima Tomus VIII (Florence 1762), pp. 711-724.
  4. ^ Carl Joseph Hefele (1895). A History of the Councils of the Church, from the Original Documents. By the Right Rev. Charles Joseph Hefele ... Volume IV. A.D. 451 to A.D. 680. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. pp. 152–167. 
  5. ^ Felix Reynaud, ed. (1904). Inventaire-sommaire des Archives départementales antérieures à 1790, Bouches-du-Rhône: Intendance de provence (nos 2176 à 2467) (in French). Volume III. Marseille: J. Cayer. p. 151. 
  6. ^ David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy: Orange (Titular See). Retrieved: 2016-07-24[self-published source]
  7. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 945.
  8. ^ David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy: Archbishop Julio Murat. Retrieved: 2016-07-24[self-published source]
  9. ^ The invented names are as follows: Saint Eutropius 69 AD; Saint Ebrantius, Saint Evran; Alixit; Auspicius; Thior; Dedonus; Saint Lucius (martyred in 261).
  10. ^ Duchesne, p. 265.
  11. ^ Constantius was at the council of Aquileia in 381, and the council of Milan in 390: Duchesne, p. 365. Duchesne recognizes neither Aristonus nor Eradius.
  12. ^ Bastet, p. 94.
  13. ^ Bastet, p. 97, note 1.
  14. ^ On 15 October 1040 he was present at the consecration of the church of Saint Victor in Marseille by Pope Benedict IX. In 1056 he was present at a synod of bishops that met at St. Egidius in Languedoc (Saint-Gilles). Bastet, p. 98.
  15. ^ Bastet, pp. 98-100. In 1064 he received a letter from Pope Alexander II: P. Jaffe, Regesta pontificum romanorum I editio altera (Leizig 1885), p. 574, no. 4551; cf. no. 4710.
  16. ^ Unable to carry out his episcopal functions for four years due to leprosy, Bishop Arnaud was given a Coadjutor, with permission of Pope Innocent III, who pointed out that the Archbishop of Arles did not have the power to separate a bishop from his See himself: Hugues Du Tems (1774). Le clergé de France, ou tableau historique et chronologique des archevêques, évêques, abbés, abbesses et chefs des chapitres principaux du royaume, depuis la fondation des églises jusqu'à nos jours, par M. l'abbé Hugues Du Tems (in French). Tome premier. Paris: Brunet. p. 381.  Pope Innocent III refers to Arnoul's situation in a letter of 2 December 1204 to the Archbishop of Arles: Sir Robert Phillimore (1873). The Ecclesiastical Law of the Church of England. Vol. I (6th ed.). London: H. Sweet. p. 100.  Patrologia Latina Volume 215, pp. 474-475. A. Potthast Regesta pontificum Romanorum I, 2335.
  17. ^ Coadjutor of Bishop Arnoul until his death, then Bishop of Orange in his own right.
  18. ^ He was consecrated on Christmas Eve, 1281, by Bertrand d'Amalric, Archbishop of Aix: Honore Fisquet (1867). La France pontificale (Gallia christiana): Metropole d'Aix: Aix, Arles, Embrun (seconde partie) (in French). Paris: E. Repos. p. 586.  On 12 March 1294, he took the oath of homage to Bertrand III, Prince of Orange: Gallia christiana novissima: Orange (in Latin). Montbéliard: Soc. Anonyme d'Impr. Montbéliardaise. 1916. p. xv.  On 23 April 1308 he was notified by Charles II of Naples that Jacques Duèse was to be named Chancellor of the Kingdom of Sicily: Melanie Brunner, in: Andreas Speer and David Wirmer, ed. (27 August 2010). 1308: Eine Topographie historischer Gleichzeitigkeit (in German). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. p. 455. ISBN 978-3-11-021875-6.  In November 1315 Bishop Guillaume was assigned by the Rector of the Comtat de Venaissin, Raymond Guilhem, to adjudicate a number of legal issues brought by various barons of the area: Charles Cottier (1806). Notes historiques concernant les recteurs du ci-devant Comté Venaissin (in French). Carpentras: Proyet. p. 51. 
  19. ^ Gallia christiana novissima: Orange, pp. 35 and 138.
  20. ^ Eubel, I, p. 118.
  21. ^ Eubel, I, p. 170.
  22. ^ He was the confessor of the Duc de Bourgogne, uncle of King Charles VIII of France, who wrote to the Pope requesting his appointment. Joseph Seguin (1880). Bulletin historique et archéologique de Vaucluse et des départménts limitrophes (in French). 2. Avignon: Seguin frères. pp. 474–475. 
  23. ^ For the first eight years of his tenure there were two bishops of Orange, one elected by the Chapter of the Cathedral, with the consent of the Prince of Orange (Pélissier), and the other appointed by Pope Julius II (Jean Lefranc). After the Concordat of Bologna (1516) and the incorporation of Orange into the Dauphiné, Leo X confirmed Guillaume Pélissier. Bastet, p. 191. A. de Pontbriant (1891). Histoire de la Principauté d'Orange (in French). Avignon: Seguin Frères. pp. 299–300. 
  24. ^ He was appointed by the King of France: Eubel, III, p. 123. He had been Abbot of the monastery of Mazan in the diocese of Noyon. Bastet, pp. 211-213. Honoré Fisquet (1864). La France pontificale (Gallia Christiana): Montpellier (première partie) (in French). Paris: Etienne Repos. p. 369. 
  25. ^ Bastet, pp. 218-223. On entering his See, he discovered that the city of Orange and all of the churches were occupied by the Huguenots. The Third War of Religion made his position impossible. Jean Crespin (1889). Histoire des martyrs: persecutez et mis a mort pour la verite de l'Evangile, depuis le temps des apostres jusques a present (1619) (in French). Toulouse: Societe des libres religieux. p. 369.  Jean-Claude Fermaud (1999). Le Protestantisme en Provence en Avignon, dans le Comtat, la principauté d'Orange et le comté de Nice au XVIe siècle jusqu'à l'Edit de Nantes (in French). Carrières-sous-Poissy: La Cause. ISBN 978-2-87657-033-7. 
  26. ^ 27 May 1647: Eubel-Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 360. He died 3/4 December 1668.
  27. ^ 8 August 1661: Eubel-Gauchat, p. 242.
  28. ^ He was consecrated in Paris, in the church of the Celestines, in 1677: Pierre Hyacinthe Morice (1839). L'Eglise de Bretagne; ou, Histoire des siéges épiscopaux, séminaires et collégiales (in French). Paris: Mequignon. p. 515. 


Reference works[edit]