Antoine-Éléonor-Léon Leclerc de Juigné

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Archbishop Antoine-Éléonor-Léon Leclerc de Juigné

Antoine-Éléonor-Léon Leclerc de Juigné (2 November 1728, Paris – 19 March 1811, Paris) was the Archbishop of Paris during the French Revolution.

Life[edit]

He was the son of Samuel-Jacques Le Clerc de Juigné, killed 19 September 1734, at the Battle of Guastalla in present day Italy, and Marie Gabrielle Le Cirier of Neufchelles (1706–1763). He was Vicar General of the Diocese of Carcassonne, General Agent of the clergy in 1760, Bishop of Châlons-en-Champagne in 1764, Archbishop of Paris in 1781, which made him a Peer of France. He represented the clergy for the city and suburbs of Paris to the Estates General of 1789. His involvement was essential in the alliance of the clergy with the Third Estate, making possible the French Revolution. He was then a member of the National Constituent Assembly of 1789.

In 1791 the Civil Constitution of the Clergy made all bishoprics subject to elections. Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gobel, the first bishop to take the oath mandated by the new law was elected replace Le Clerc as archbishop. The Holy See, however, refused to accept this election, and continued to consider him as the legitimate archbishop.

In 1794, Le Clerc followed the surviving Bourbons into exile in Germany, living for a while in Konstanz, where there was a sizable émigré community. When the French Revolutionary Army successfully occupied that city, he fled to Überlingen, a Free Imperial City on the north shore of Lake Constance.

After the First Republic signed the Concordat of 1801 with the Holy See, restoring its rights to the Church, Le Clerc was able to return to Paris. He was immediately summoned to Rome, where he submitted his resignation in January 1802 in response to the request of Pope Pius VII. He retired to live quietly with his family. Napoleon named him a count in 1808.

Le Clerc died in 1811 and was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, in the section reserved for the Archbishops of Paris.

Bibliography[edit]

  • (French) Louis Amable Victor Lambert. Vie de Messire Antoine Éléonore Léon Leclerc de Juigné, archevêque de Paris, duc et pair de France, et ancien évêque de Châlons-sur-Marne. Paris, chez A. Le Clere, 1823.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Christophe de Beaumont
Archbishop of Paris
1781–1802
Succeeded by
(Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gobel, Constitutional Archbishop 1791-94)
Jean-Baptiste de Belloy