Roman Catholic Diocese of Mende

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Diocese of Mende
Dioecesis Mimatensis
Diocèse de Mende
Cathedrale Mende.jpg
Country  France
Ecclesiastical province Montpellier
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Montpellier
Area 5,180 km2 (2,000 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2004)
58,000 (78.6%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 3rd Century
Cathedral Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame and St. Privat in Mende
Patron saint Saint Privat
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop François Jacolin
Metropolitan Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carré
Emeritus Bishops Paul Bertrand (since 2001)
Website of the Diocese

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Mende (Latin: Dioecoesis Mimatensis; French: Diocèse de Mende) is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese covers the department of Lozère.

The diocese was already in existence in 314, since Genialis, a deacon of the Church of Gabalum (Gévaudan), was present at the Council of Arles in that year.[1] Louis Duchesne chooses to place the earliest known bishop, Privatus, before 314, though he points out that his date depends on a synchronicity with an invasion of Aquitaine by a band of German marauders under the leadership of King Chrocus; Chrocus' date is variously placed between the third and fifth century.[2] The notion that a Saint Severianus was the first apostle of the Gevaudan, or that Privatus held the same honor, and that the whole country was converted to Christianity in one stroke,has long been exploded, by a demonstration that the legends are based on representations made to Pope Urban V in the 14th century to obtain indulgences.[3]

A suffragan of Bourges under the Ancien Régime, it was re-established by the Concordat of 1801 as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lyon and united with the department of Ardèche, which however it lost again in 1822 by the creation of the Diocese of Viviers, when Mende became suffragan to Albi. On December 16, 2002, Mende was made a suffragan to Montpellier. The Bishop has his seat at the Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame and St. Privat in Mende. Funds to begin the cathedral were supplied by Pope Urban V. Before the French Revolution, the Cathedral Chapter consisted of a Praepositus (Provost), the Archdeacon and the Precentor; there were fifteen canons. There were approximately 200 parishes, and one abbey[4]

In 2013, the diocese, which is mostly rural, had a total population of 78,400, of whom 77.6% were claimed as Roman Catholics. They are served by 76 priests, and there were 135 parishes.[5]

St Privatus, patron of the diocese


According to late legends belonging to the Limousin cycle of relating to St. Martial, he passed through the territory of the Gabali (Gévaudan) of which Mende is the capital, and appointed as its first bishop, St. Severian his disciple, about the beginning of the first century. he first bishop known to history is Saint Privatus, who according to Gregory of Tours, died in a grotto of Mount Mimmat, a victim of the ill treatment he suffered at the time of the invasion of the Alamanni under their King Chrocus. Gregory of Tours places this event about 260 (though Fredegarius puts the invasion of Chrocus at 407). Mgr. Duchesne places the invasion of Chrocus and the death of St. Privatus at the beginning of the reign of Constantine, perhaps before the Council of Arles. It is certain that there was an organized church in the country of the Gabali from about 314, since in that year it was represented at the Council of Arles. Other bishops of the Gabali, who doubtless resided at Javoulx, near Mende, were: Saint Hilary, present at the Council of Auvergne in 535, and founder of the monastery of Canourgue, and whose personality has been wrongly described in certain traditions concerning Saint Illier, and St. Frézal of Canourgue (ninth century) assassinated, it is said, under Louis le Débonnaire.

Towards the year 1000 Mende became the seat of the bishopric. Under Venerable Aldebert III (1151-86), Alexander III passed some days at Mende in 1162; Aldebert Wrote two works, on the passion and on the miracles of St. Privatus whose relics were discovered at Mende in 1170. M. Leopold Delisle has shown us the historical interest of these two works of this bishop. Mende had later as bishops, Guillaume Durand (1285-96), the author of "Speculum juris", and of the "Rationale divinorum officiorum", who was secretary of the general council of Lyons in 1270, and his nephew, Durand le Jeune (1296-1328) who by the act called "Paringe", agreed upon with Philippe le Bel, definitively settled in Gévaudan the respective rights of king and bishop, and who left a work on the general councils and on the reform of abuses. Guillaume de Grimoard, born about 1310 at the castle of Grisac near Mende, was sickly and deformed, but was restored at the prayer of his godfather, St. Elzéar de Sabran, who had come to baptise him. Elected pope in 1362 under the name of Urban V, he administered the Diocese of Mende himself from 1368 to 1370, since it had been left vacant by the transfer of his nephew to the See of Avignon.

Among the bishops of Mende were: Guillaume de Chanac, who occupied the see but a few months, when he became cardinal in 1371; Pietro Riario (1473-74), nephew of Sixtus IV and a cardinal; Giuliano della Rovere (1478-83) later pope under the name of Julius II; and his nephews, Cardinal Clement della Rovere (1483-1504) and Francesco della Rovere (1504-24); Castellane (1768-92) massacred at Versailles, 9 Sept., 1792.

Urban II visited the Diocese of Mende in 1095 and had consecrated in his presence the church of the monastery of Saint Sauveur de Chirac or of Monastier founded in 1062 and dependent on the Abbey of Saint Victor. Mende was captured for the first time by the Huguenots in 1562; the celebrated adventurer Merle from 1573-81 led into the region bands of Protestants who were masters of Mende for eighteen months, and destroyed a great part of the cathedral that Urban V had caused to be rebuilt. The Diocese of Mende was one of the regions where the insurrection of the Camisards broke out at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Cardinal Dominique de la Rochefoucauld, Archbishop of Rouen, who presided in 1789 over the last assembly of the clergy of France, was born in 1712 at Saint Chély d'Apcher, in the diocese. The chemist Chaptal (1756-1832) was one of the last of those who profited by the scholarships founded by Urban V for twelve young students at Montpellier.

The following saints are specially venerated in the diocese: St. Ilpide, martyr (third century); the preacher St. Veran, Bishop of Cavaillon, a native of Gévaudan (sixth century); St. Lupentius, abbot of the basilica of St. Privatus, beheaded by order of Brunehaut whom he reproached for the irregularities of her life (sixth century); the nun St. Enimie, daughter of Clotaire II and sister of Dagobert (seventh century), foundress of a monastery of Benedictine nuns in the present St. Enimie.

The principal pilgrimages of the diocese are: at Mende itself, Notre Dame de Mende where the statue of the Black Virgin was brought, perhaps in 1213, by the Crusaders of Gévaudan, and the hermitage of Saint Privatus; Notre Dame de la Carce, the origin of the city of Marvéjols; Notre Dame de Quézac, a pilgrimage dating from 1052 and where Urban V founded a chapter-house of eight canons, and Our Lady All-powerful, at Langogne.

There were in the diocese, before the application of the law of associations of 1901, various teaching orders of brothers and several teaching orders of nuns of a local origin: the Sisters of Christian Unity (L'Union chrétienne), founded in 1696 (mother-house at Mende); the United Sisters of the Holy Family, founded at Palhers in 1750, transferred to Mende in 1824; the Sisters of Christian Doctrine (mother-house at Meyrueis) founded in 1837. The religious congregations in 1900 directed in the diocese fifteen infant schools, one orphan asylum for boys, four orphan asylums for girls, nine hospitals and almshouses, twelve religious houses for the care of those ill at home, and one insane asylum. In 1905 at the end of the régime of the Concordat, the diocese had 128,866 inhabitants, 26 parishes, 191 succursal[clarification needed] churches, and 135 vicarages, supported by the state.

List of bishops[edit]

to 1200[edit]

  • Privatus[6]
  • Leoninus[7] (attested 506)
  • Hilarius[8] (attested 535)
  • Evantius[9] (attested in 541)
  • Parthenius[10]
  • Agricola[11] (attested 614, 627)
  • Fredalius[12]
  • Agenulfus[13] (attested in 876)
  • Guilelmus
  • Stephanus
  • Matefred
  • Ragemund (Raimund)
  • Hildebert (Adelbert) de Peire (attested 1060)
  • Guillaume
  • Adelbert de Tournel 1151–1187
  • Guillaume de Peyre 1187-1222

13th to 15th centuries[edit]

  • Etienne de Brioude[14] 1222-1247
  • Odilon de Mercoeur 1247-1274
  • Etienne (III) 1274-1278
  • Sede vacante ?
  • Guillaume Durand 1286-1296[15]
  • Guillaume Durand the Younger 1296–1330 (nephew of his predecessor)
  • Jean d'Arcy 1330–1331 (transferred to Autun)[16]
  • Albertus Lordeti 1331–1361
  • Guilelmus 1362–1366
  • Pierre Gerardi de Roure 1366–1370 (transferred to Avignon)
  • Guillaume de Chanac, O.S.B. 1371 (promoted to the cardinalate)
  • Bonuspar Virgili 1371–1375[17]
  • Ponce de la Garde 1375– after 1383[18]
Sede vacante ?
  • Jean d'Armagnac 1387–1390 (Avignon Obedience) [19]
  • Robert de Bosc[20] 1390–1407 (Avignon Obedience)
  • Guillaume de Boisratier
  • Pierre de Saluzzo[21] 1409–1412 (Avignon-Pisan-Roman Obedience)
  • Gerard de Miremont[22] 1413
  • Jean de Corbeya 1413-1426 (transferred to Auxerre)
  • Ranulf de Peyrusse d'Escars 1426–1441
  • Adelbert de Peira 1441–1443
  • Guy de Panouse 1443–1444 (transferred to Castres)[23]
  • Cardinal Reginald de Chartres (Administrator) 1444
  • Antoine de La Panouse 1467–1473
  • Pietro Riario, O.F.M. Conv. 1473–1474
  • Giuliano della Rovere 1478-1479 (appointed Bishop of Sabina)
  • Clemente Grosso della Rovere, O.F.M. Conv. 1483–1504

16th to 18th centuries[edit]

  • Francesco Grosso della Rovere 1504-1524
  • Renaud de Beaune 1568-1581 (Appointed, Archbishop of Bourges)
  • Charles de Rousseau 1608-1623
  • Daniel de La Mothe-Houdancourt[24] 1624-1628
  • Silvestre de Crusy de Marcillac 1628-1660
  • Hyacinthe Serroni, O.P. 1661-1677
  • François-Placide de Baudry de Piancourt, O.S.B.[25] 1677-1707
  • Pierre de Baglion de la Salle de Saillant 1708-1723
  • Gabriel-Florent de Choiseul-Beaupré 1723-1767
  • Jean-Arnaud de Castellane[26] 1767-1792 (massacred 9 September 1792 at Versailles)[27]
    • Étienne Nogaret (Constitutional bishop) 1791-1801[28]


Bishop François Joseph Marie Jacolin

See also[edit]


  1. ^ de civitate Gabalum provincia Aquitania. C. Munier, Concilia Galliae A. 314 – A. 506 (Turnhout: Brepols 1963), p. 15 line 47; p. 16 line 39; p. 18 line 34; p. 21 line 34. Duchesne, p. 54.
  2. ^ Duchesne, p. 54, no. 1.
  3. ^ Gaydou, Études critiques, pp. 3-16.
  4. ^ Gallia christiana I, pp. 85-86.
  5. ^ David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy: Diocese of Mende. Retrieved: 2016-07-17.
  6. ^ Privatus: Gallia christiana I, pp. 85-86. Duchesne, p. 54 no 1.
  7. ^ Leoninus was represented at the Council of Agde in 506 by his Deacon Optimus. C. Munier, Concilia Galliae, A. 314 – A. 506 (Turnhout: Brepols 1963), p. 214, p. 219. Gallia christiana I, p. 86. Duchesne, p. 54 no 2.
  8. ^ Hilarius was present at the Council of Auvergne (Clermont) in 535. C. De Clercq, Concilia Galliae, A. 511 – A. 695 (Turnholt: Brepols 1963), pp. 110, 111: Helarius episcopus ecclesia Gaualetanae. Gallia christiana I, pp. 86-87. Duchesne, p. 54 no 3.
  9. ^ Euantius was present at the Council of Orange in 541. De Clercq, pp. 143, 146 (Euantius episcopus ecclesiae Gaualetane). Gallia christiana I, p. 87. Duchesne, p. 55 no 4.
  10. ^ Parthenius: Gallia christiana I, p. 87. Duchesne, p. 55 no 5.
  11. ^ Agricola was present at the Council of Paris in 614 and the Council of Clichy in 627. De Clercq, pp. 282 (ex civitate Gaballetano Agricula episcopus) and 297 (ex civitate Gabalus Agricula episcopus). Gallia christiana I, p. 87. Duchesne, p. 55 no 6.
  12. ^ Fredalius: Gallia christiana I, p. 88. Duchesne, p. 55 no 7.
  13. ^ Agenulfus was present at the Council of Ponthion in 876. He was the recipient of a letter of Pope John VIII written in 878. P. Jaffé, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I, editio altera (Leipzig 1885), p. 406 no. 3220. Gallia christiana I, p. 88. Duchesne, p. 55 no 8.
  14. ^ Bishop Stephanus was approved by Pope Honorius III on 7 March 1224. Gallia christiana I, p. 91-92. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica I, p. 341.
  15. ^ In June 1296 he was serving as Rector of the Marches of Ancona and Romandiola, of the City of Bologna, and the County of Spoleto: Fantuzzi, Marco (1802). Monumenti ravennati de' secoli di mezzo per la maggior parte inediti. (in Italian and Latin). Tomo III. Venezia. pp. 170–171. 
  16. ^ Eubel, I, p. 342.
  17. ^ Gams, p. 577.
  18. ^ Gallia christiana I, p. 100. Eubel, I, p. 342.
  19. ^ Jean d'Armagnac was transferred to the diocese of Auch on 17 October 1390 by Pope Clement VII. He was created a cardinal at Perpignan by Pope Benedict XIII on 22 September 1408. He died on 8 October 1408. Eubel, I, pp. 30, 121, 342.
  20. ^ Bishop Robert, who had been Bishop-Elect of Alet, was appointed to the diocese of Conserans (St.-Lizier) on 27 May 1390, and then was appointed Bishop of Mende on 7 October 1390 by Pope Clement VII. Eubel, I, pp. 203, 342.
  21. ^ Pietro di Saluzzo was appointed by Pope Alexander V on 24 July 1409, less than a month after Alexander's election to the papacy. Pietro died in 1412. Eubel, I, p. 342.
  22. ^ Gerard de Miremont, Bishop of Saint-Flour, was transferred to Mende by John XXIII on 4 January 1413. He was transferred to the diocese of Carcassone on 19 April 1413. He died on 4 September 1420. Eubel, I, pp. 166, 342.
  23. ^ Eubel, II, p. 192 and n. 1.
  24. ^ La Mothe held the Licenciate in Civil and Canon Law, and was a Master of theology, and had been Councilor and Almoner of Henrietta Marie, daughter of Henri IV and Queen of England. His brother Philippe was a Marshal of France. He was nominated by King Louis XIII on 18 November 1623, and preconised (approved) by Pope Urban VIII on 9 October 1624. He was consecrated in Paris on 19 February 1625 by Jean-François de Gondi, Archbishop of Paris. He died at the siege of Rupella (La Rochelle) on 5 March 1628. Gallia christiana I, pp. 107-108. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 242 with note 3.
  25. ^ Baudry was born in the diocese of Evreux, and was a Doctor of theology (Paris). He was nominated bishop of Mende by King Louis XIV on 4 July 1677, and preconized (approved) on 11 October 1677 by Pope Innocent XI. He was consecrated on 16 January 1678 at Saint-Germain des Près in Paris by the Archbishop of Paris, François de Harlay de Champvallon. He died on 17 November 1707. Ritzler, Hierarchia catholica V, p. 268 with note 3.
  26. ^ Michel Perronet (1990), "Jean Arnaud de Castellane, évêque-comte du Gévaudan, in: Bardy-Chabrol-Duthu, pp. 76-90.
  27. ^ Laurent, Gustave (1904). "L'arrestation et la mort de Jean-Arnaud de Castellane". La Revolution Francaise. 46: 29–56, at p. 50. 
  28. ^ Paul Pisani (1907). Répertoire biographique de l'épiscopat constitutionnel (1791-1802). (in French). Paris: A. Picard et fils. pp. 345–349. 
  29. ^ Société bibliographique (France) (1907). L'épiscopat français depuis le Concordat jusqu'à la Séparation (1802-1905) (in French). Paris: Librairie des Saints-Pères. pp. 351–352. 
  30. ^ Nephew of the Bishop of Viviers. Dominique Javel (2000). Transmettre la foi au diocèse d'Avignon: XIXe-XXe siècle (in French). Avignon: Barthélemy. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-2-87923-124-2. 
  31. ^ Société bibliographique (France) (1907). L'épiscopat français depuis le Concordat jusqu'à la Séparation (1802-1905) (in French). Paris: Librairie des Saints-Pères. pp. 355–356. 
  32. ^ David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy: Archbishop Robert Jean Louis Le Gall, O.S.B. Retrieved: 2016-07-17.
  33. ^ Diocèse de Mende, Biographie de Mgr Jacolin, retrieved: 2017-01-10. (in French)
  34. ^ M.D.P. = Missionnaires de la Plaine et de Sainte-Thérèse


Reference works[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°31′19″N 3°29′50″E / 44.52194°N 3.49722°E / 44.52194; 3.49722