Saint-Étienne Cathedral

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Cathedral of Saint Charles Borromeo of Saint-Étienne
Cathédrale Saint-Charles-de-Borromé de Sainte-Étienne
Saint-etienne cathedrale.JPG
Facade of the cathedral Saint Charles Borromeo
Basic information
Location Saint-Etienne, France France
Geographic coordinates 45°26′27.7″N 4°23′4.4″E / 45.441028°N 4.384556°E / 45.441028; 4.384556Coordinates: 45°26′27.7″N 4°23′4.4″E / 45.441028°N 4.384556°E / 45.441028; 4.384556
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Country France
Year consecrated 20 December 1923
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Leadership Bishop Dominique Lebrun
Architectural description
Architect(s) Pierre Bossan,[1] Adrien Rey,[1] Francisque Dodat[1]
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Neo-Gothic
Groundbreaking 1912
Completed 1923
Length 80 metres (260 ft)
Width 30 metres (98 ft)
Materials concrete
Official name: Cathédrale Saint-Charles
Reference no. IA42000147 [1]

The Cathedral of Saint Charles Borromeo of Saint-Étienne (French: Cathédrale Saint-Charles-de-Borromé de Sainte-Étienne) is a Roman Catholic cathedral church in Saint-Étienne, France.

It has been the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Étienne since the foundation of the diocese on 26 December 1970.

The church, dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, was constructed between 1912 and 1923 in a primitive neo-Gothic style, on a Latin cross groundplan with transept and triple nave, and a belltower on the west front. The building is 80 metres (260 ft) long, 30 metres (98 ft) wide and 17 metres (56 ft) from the centre of the roof vault to the ground. The organ in the choir dates from 1930, and there is another very imposing one by A. Durand from 1968. The building was however an excessively ambitious one right from the start, and remains unfinished: it was intended that there should be another three belltowers and a dome, besides quantities of external and internal decoration presently lacking.


The project of a large church was decided in 1830 on plans designed by the school of Bossan (director of Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica). They were implemented by architects Boisson and Dodat. The church's name is a tribute to King Charles X. This building was to serve the new quarters that were then expanding.

The present cathedral replaces a smaller church which was on rue Émile Combes (an attic for a church). For political reasons, its construction could not begin until 1912.

The city of Saint-Étienne, at the time of the struggled between the Church and the State. This delay was catastrophic due towar, the labor force failed, then inflation reduced the capital. Thus, the result was far from the original project: it resulted in three bell towers and a dome, in addition to the quantity of external and internal decorations which has been revised down.

All the concern for this construction lay with one man, Monsignor Henri Rivoire, parish priest from 1910 to 1945. The first stone was blessed on 3 November 1912 by Monsignor Déchelette, Auxiliary Bishop of Lyons.

The work was unfortunately interrupted by the Great War, when the walls were about one third of their height. They resumed in 1919 and the church was blessed on December 20, 1923.

Its consecration did not occur until May 23, 1933, celebrated by Cardinal Maurin. Built after the separation of the Church and the State, it is one of the few cathedrals owned by the diocese, which is responsible for all its upkeep.

In 1971, the building was erected as a cathedral when the diocese of Saint-Étienne was created. On this occasion, the choir was revised to conform to the liturgical prescriptions of the Second Vatican Council. In 2005, at the instigation of the Abbé Martin, rector, the layout was completed by the creation of an episcopal cathedral coherent with the altar and the ambo, on drawings by the architect Michel Goyet.


  1. ^ a b c d "Inventaire Général du Patrimoine Culturel". Base de donnée Mérimée (in French). Ministère de la Culture. Retrieved 14 January 2011.