Roman Catholic Diocese of Pamiers

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Diocese of Pamiers-Couserans-Mirepoix
Dioecesis Apamiensis-Couseranensis-Mirapicensis
Diocèse de Pamiers-Mirepoix-Couserans
Cathédrale Saint-Antonin de Pamiers (09).JPG
Country  France
Ecclesiastical province Toulouse
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Toulouse
Area 4,903 km2 (1,893 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2004)
99,350 (71.7%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 16 September 1295 (As Diocese of Pamiers)
11 March 1910 (As Diocese of Pamiers-Couserans-Mirepoix)
Cathedral Cathedral of St. Antoninus in Pamiers
Patron saint St. Antoninus of Pamiers
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Philippe Mousset
Metropolitan Archbishop Robert Jean Louis Le Gall
Emeritus Bishops Marcel Germain Perrier Bishop Emeritus (2000-2008)
Website of the Diocese

The Roman Catholic diocese of Pamiers (Lat. Appamiarum), is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church, in southern France. The diocese comprises the department of Ariège, and is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Toulouse. The episcopal see is the Cathedral of Saint Antoninus in the city of Pamiers, and the current bishop is Jean-Marc Eychenne, appointed on 17 December 2014.


The territory forming the diocese was united to the archbishopric of Toulouse on the occasion of the Concordat of 1801 with Napoleon; the Concordat of 1817, negotiated after the fall of the Emperor of the French, re-established at Pamiers a diocese which existed only in September, 1823, uniting the ancient diocese of Pamiers and diocese of Couserans, the larger portion of the former diocese of Mirepoix and diocese of Rieux, and a deanery of the former diocese of Alet.

A decree of the Holy See 11 March 1910, re-established the titles of the former Sees of Couserans and Mirepoix.


The traditions of the diocese mention as its first apostle of Christianity St. Antoninus, born at Fredelacum near Pamiers in the Rouergue, martyred in his native country (date uncertain). The Abbey of St. Antonin was founded near Fredelacum about 960; in 1034 it passed under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Girone and was annexed in 1060 to the Congregation of Cluny.

A castle built on the site of the abbey by Roger II Count of Foix (1070–1125), was called Appamia; hence the name of Pamiers which passed to the neighbouring small town. Pope Boniface VIII created a see at Pamiers by the Bull Romanus Pontifex 23 July 1295, and made it a suffragan of the archdiocese of Narbonne. He named Bernard Saisset Abbot of St. Antonin, and by a decree 18 April 1296, settled the boundaries of the new diocese dismembered from that of Toulouse. The opposition of Hughes Mascaron, Bishop of Toulouse, and the conflict between Saisset and Roger Bernard III, Count of Foix, prevented Saisset from taking immediate possession of his diocese; Abbé Vidal has proven that it is not true, as had long been thought, that St. Louis of Anjou, who became Bishop of Toulouse at the death of Mascaron, had been appointed provisional administrator of the Diocese of Pamiers. Saisset took possession of his see on 19 April 1297; having sided with Boniface VIII (1301), he was imprisoned by order of Philip the Fair.

After careful investigation, Pope Clement V, 3 August 1308, complied with certain demands of Toulouse concerning the decree of Boniface VIII, and the Diocese of Pamiers remained, but with poorer resources than those assigned it by Boniface VIII. However, when Pope John XXII raised Toulouse to an archbishopric, 22 Feb., 1318, he also extended the Diocese of Pamiers which he made suffragan of Toulouse. Saisset's successor was Jacques Fournier (1317–26), subsequently pope under the name of Benedict XII. Vidal discovered in the Vatican Library the record of the procedure of the Inquisition tribunal created at Pamiers, by Jacques Fournier in 1318, for the extirpation of the remnants of Albigensianism in the Foix region; this document is most important for the history of the Inquisition, representing as it does, and perhaps in this instance only, that particular tribunal in which the monastic inquisitor and the diocesan bishop had almost equal power, as decreed in 1312 by the Council of Vienna. In this new regime the traditional procedure of the Inquisition was made milder by temporizing with the accused who persisted in error, by granting defendants a fair amount of liberty, and by improving the prison regime.

Among the noteworthy bishops of Pamiers were Cardinal Arnaud de Villemur (1348–50); Cardinal Amanieu d'Albret (1502–06); John of Barbançon (1550–55), who became a Calvinist; Robert of Pellevé (1557–79), during whose episcopate the religious wars gave rise to cruel strife: Protestants destroyed every church in Pamiers, among them the magnificent church of Notre-Dame du Camp, and three times they demolished the episcopal palace of the Mas Saint-Antonin. Henry of Sponde (1626–42) (Spondanus), who summarized and continued the Ecclesiastical Annals of his friend Baronius; the Jansenist François Etienne de Caulet (1644–1680).




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