Roman Catholic Diocese of La Rochelle and Saintes

Coordinates: 46°09′22″N 1°09′20″W / 46.15611°N 1.15556°W / 46.15611; -1.15556
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Diocese of La Rochelle and Saintes

Dioecesis Rupellensis et Santonensis

Diocèse de La Rochelle et Saintes
Country France
Ecclesiastical provincePoitiers
MetropolitanArchdiocese of Poitiers
Area6,863 km2 (2,650 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
397,000 (64.4%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
Established22 January 1852
CathedralLa Rochelle Cathedral
Co-cathedralSaintes Cathedral
Patron saintSt. Eutropius of Saintes
Current leadership
BishopGeorges Colomb
Metropolitan ArchbishopPascal Wintzer
Apostolic AdministratorFrançois Jacolin
Website of the Diocese
Map of Diocese of La Rochelle (1703)

The Diocese of La Rochelle and Saintes (Latin: Dioecesis Rupellensis et Santonensis; French: Diocèse de La Rochelle et Saintes) is a Latin Church diocese of the Catholic Church in France. The diocese comprises the département of Charente-Maritime and the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. The bishop is a suffragan of the Archbishop of Poitiers. The episcopal seat is in La Rochelle Cathedral. Saintes Cathedral is a co-cathedral.


The Diocese of La Rochelle was erected on 4 May 1648.[1] The Diocese of Maillezais was transferred on 7 May 1648, to La Rochelle. This diocese before the French Revolution, aside from Maillezais, included the present arrondissements of Marennes, Rochefort, La Rochelle, and a part of Saint-Jean-d'Angély.

During the French Revolution, the Diocese of Saintes and the Diocese of La Rochelle were combined into the Diocese of Charente-Inferieure, under the direction of a Constitutional Bishop, salaried by and responsible to the French Republic. There was a schism with Rome and the Pope. On 15 July 1801, Pope Pius VII signed a new Concordat with First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, who had overthrown the Directorate in the Coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799);[2] the terms included the suppression of the Dioceses of Saintes and Luçon, which was carried out on 29 November 1801. The entire territory of the former Diocese of Saintes, except for the part in Charente belonging to the Diocese of Angoulême, and the entire Diocese of Luçon, were added to the Diocese of La Rochelle.

In 1821 a see was again established at Luçon, and had under its jurisdiction, aside from the former Diocese of Luçon, almost the entire former Diocese of Maillezais; so that Maillezais, once transferred to La Rochelle, no longer belongs to the diocese, now known as La Rochelle et Saintes.

Saintes Cathedral is the Co-Cathedral of the diocese

St. Louis of France is the titular saint of the cathedral of La Rochelle and the patron of the city. St. Eutropius, first Bishop of Saintes, is the principal patron of the present diocese of La Rochelle. In this diocese are especially honoured: St. Gemme, martyr (century unknown); St. Seronius, martyr (third century); St. Martin, Abbot of the Saintes monastery (fifth century); St. Vaise, martyr about 500; St. Maclovius (Malo), first Bishop of Aleth, Brittany, who died in Saintonge about 570; Saint Amand, Bishop of Maastricht (seventh century).

From 1534 La Rochelle and the Province of Aunis were a centre of Calvinism. In 1573 the city successfully resisted the Duke of Anjou, brother of Charles IX of France, and remained the chief fortress of the Huguenots in France. But in 1627 the alliance of La Rochelle with the English proved to Louis XIII and to Richelieu that the political independence of the Protestants would be a menace to France; the famous siege of La Rochelle (5 August 1627 – 28 October 1628), in the course of which the population was reduced from 18,000 inhabitants to 5000, terminated with a capitulation which put an end to the political claims of the Calvinistic minority.

The Chapter of the Cathedral of Saint-Louis was composed of eight dignitaries and twenty Canons. The dignitaries were the Dean (elected by the Chapter), the Treasurer, the Almoner, the Grand Archdeacon, the Archdeacon of Fontenay, the Cantor, the Subcantor and the Archdeacon of Bressuire—all appointed by the bishop. A seminary was established by royal order, with an income of 3000 livres, derived from an assessment on all of the benefices in the diocese. The seminary was entrusted to the Jesuits in 1694 by Bishop de la Frezelière, two of whose brothers were Jesuits.[3]

During the French Revolution, when the Civil Constitution of the Clergy instituted a national church, and the nation was redivided into dioceses which matched as far as possible the civil departments into which the administration of the state was divided, the diocese of Saintes and the diocese of La Rochelle were combined into the Diocese of Charente-Inferieure. Both Bishop de La Rochefoucauld and Bishop de Coucy refused to take the oath of loyalty to the Civil Constitution, as required by law. They were therefore deposed. The electors of Charente-Infeurieure assembled on 27 February 1791 and elected Isaac-Étienne Robinet, the curé of Saint-Savinien-du-Port as their Constitutional Bishop. He made his formal entry into Saintes on 31 March, and took formal possession of the cathedral on 10 April. He roused up the anti-clerical feelings of the populace against the non-jurors, but, once roused, they turned against all the clergy, including Robinet. Bishop Robinet resigned on 6 December 1793, and took up residence with his brother at Torxé, where he died on 8 September 1797.[4]

On 1 March 2018, the Apostolic Vicariate of Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, which had existed since 1763, was suppressed and the French overseas collectivity Saint-Pierre and Miquelon added to this Diocese.[5]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jean, p. 147. David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy: Diocese of La Rochelle (-Saintes). Retrieved: 2016-08-13[self-published source]
  2. ^ André Latreille, Napoléon et le Saint-Siège, 1801–1808: l'ambassade du Cardinal Fesch à Rome (Paris, 1935), pp. 1–21. Fesch was Napoleon's uncle.
  3. ^ Jean Aymar Piganiol de La Force (1754). Nouvelle description de la France; dans laquelle on voit le gouvernement general de ce royaume celui de chaque province en particulier (etc.) (in French). Vol. Tome septieme (3. ed., corr. et augm. ed.). Paris: Legras. pp. 391–393.
  4. ^ Paul Pisani (1907). Répertoire biographique de l'épiscopat constitutionnel (1791-1802) (in French). Paris: A. Picard et fils. pp. 416–419.
  5. ^ "Rinuncia del Vicario Apostolico di Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon e accorpamento del Vicariato nella Diocesi di La Rochelle (Francia)". Holy See Press Office (Press release) (in Italian). 1 March 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  6. ^ Gauchat, p. 298 (wrongly named Joannes).
  7. ^ Charles-Madeleine was the son of François Frézeau de Frézelière, Lieutenant-General of Artillery and Governor of Salines. He had been Vicar-General of Strasbourg. Jean, pp. 148–149.
  8. ^ Champflour was a fervent anti-Jansenist and an ultramontanist. He and a colleague condemned Pasquier Quesnel's Réflexions morales, which had been approved by Cardinal de Noailles. He stoutly defended the Bull Unigenitus, and was exiled in 1682. Antoine de Lantenay, "Étienne de Champflour, évêque de La Rochelle, avant son épiscopat (1646–1703)," Revue catholique de Bordeaux (in French). Bordeaux. 1883. pp. 263–349.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Joseph Hyacinthe Albanés; Louis Fillet; Ulysse Chevalier (1899). Gallia christiana novissima: Aix, Apt, Fréjus, Gap, Riez et Sisteron (in French and Latin). Montbeliard: Société anonyme d'imprimerie montbéliardaise. pp. 149–151.
  10. ^ François-Emmanuel de Crussol d'Uzès was the son of Joseph-Emmanuel de Crussol d'Uzès, Comte d'Amboise, and nephew of François, Bishop of Blois. When his father died, he was raised by his uncle, the Duc d'Uzès. Jean, p. 150.
  11. ^ When the diocese of La Rochelle was suppressed in 1791, Coucy left the diocese and ultimately retired to Spain (1797–1801). When Pope Pius VII demanded the resignation of all French bishops in 1801, Coucy refused. He did not submit until 1816, so that he could be named Archbishop of Reims. Jean, pp. 150–151.
  12. ^ Société bibliographique (France) (1907). L'épiscopat français depuis le Concordat jusqu'à la Séparation (1802-1905) (in French). Paris: Librairie des Saints-Pères. p. 524.
  13. ^ The suppleness of Archbishop Demandolx' backbone is demonstrated by the two letters he published, one at the beginning of the Hundred Days, the other at the end: Recueil de pièces, pour servir a l'histoire ecclésiastique à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, et au commençement du XIXe (in French). 1823. pp. 655–660. Société bibliographique (France) (1907). L'épiscopat français depuis le Concordat jusqu'à la Séparation (1802-1905) (in French). Paris: Librairie des Saints-Pères. p. 524.
  14. ^ Société bibliographique (France) (1907). L'épiscopat français depuis le Concordat jusqu'à la Séparation (1802-1905) (in French). Paris: Librairie des Saints-Pères. pp. 524–525.
  15. ^ Gallia christiana novissima: Aix, Apt, Fréjus, Gap, Riez et Sisteron, pp. 157–158.
  16. ^ Villecourt was an active defender of Pius IX during the revolution in Rome in 1848 and his exile. Clément Villecourt (1849). La France et le Pape, ou dévouement de la France au Siège Apostolique, discussion sur l'assemblée de 1682 et sur la déclaration du Clergé de France, le tout suivi de pièces importantes (in French). Lyon. Société bibliographique (France) (1907). L'épiscopat français depuis le Concordat jusqu'à la Séparation (1802-1905) (in French). Paris: Librairie des Saints-Pères. pp. 526–528.
  17. ^ Villecourt resigned the diocese of La Rochelle on 7 June 1856 and moved to Rome, where he died on 17 January 1867: Salvador Miranda, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church: Villecourt, Clément, retrieved: 2016-08-13.
  18. ^ Société bibliographique (France) (1907). L'épiscopat français depuis le Concordat jusqu'à la Séparation (1802-1905) (in French). Paris: Librairie des Saints-Pères. pp. 529–530.
  19. ^ Rota, Livio (1996). Le nomine vescovili e cardinalizie in Francia alla fine del secolo XIX (in Italian). Rome: Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana. pp. 300–301. ISBN 978-88-7652-690-9.
  20. ^ Étienne Dodet (2000). Sens au XIXe siècle: La vie publique, municipale, administrative, judiciaire. Le pouvoir ecclésiastique (in French). Sens: Société Archéologique de Sens. pp. 129–137. ISBN 978-2-906446-39-7.
  21. ^ Le Pèlerin du 20e siècle. no. 848. Paris: Maison de la Bonne Presse. 1893. p. 176.
  22. ^ Yves Blomme (2002). Emile Le Camus (1839-1906): Son rôle au début de la crise moderniste et lors de la Séparation de l’Église et de l’État (in French). Paris: Editions L'Harmattan. ISBN 978-2-296-28816-4.
  23. ^ Jean-Philippe Bon (2002). Le diocèse de la Rochelle-Saintes sous l'épiscopat de mgr Eyssautier, 1906-1923: Réorganisation et orientations pastorales au lendemain de la séparation des églises et de l'état (in French). Villeneuve-d'Ascq: Presses universitaires du septentrion. During World War I the major seminary had to be closed; 254 of the clergy were mobilized, and 34 died. In all 83 priests of the diocese of La Rochelle died during the war, making the post-war situation very difficult. "La Rochelle, diocese of," The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. XVII: Supplement 1. New York: Encyclopedia Press. 1922. p. 448.




External links[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "La Rochelle". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

46°09′22″N 1°09′20″W / 46.15611°N 1.15556°W / 46.15611; -1.15556