Roman Catholic Diocese of La Rochelle and Saintes
The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Rochelle and Saintes (Dioecesis Rupellensis-Santonensis) is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church, in France. The diocese comprises the département of Charente-Maritime. Suffragan to the archdiocese of Bordeaux, the episcopal see is La Rochelle Cathedral. Saintes Cathedral is Co-Cathedral of the diocese.
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. At the Concordat, the entire territory of the former diocese of Saintes, less the part comprised in Charente, and belonging to the diocese of Angoulême) and of the diocese of Luçon was added to it.
In 1821 a see was 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.
Jean-François-Anne Landriot, a well-known religious writer, occupied this see from 1856 to 1867. 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.
- 1648–1661 Jacques Raoul de la Guibourgère
- 1661–1693 Henri de Laval de Boisdauphin
- 1693–1702 Charles-Madeleine Frézeau de Frézelière
- 1702–1724 Etienne de Champflour
- 1725–1729 Jean-Antoine de Brancas
- 1730–1767 Augustin Roch de Menou de Charnisai
- 1768–1789 François-Emmanuel de Crussol d'Uzès
- 1789–1801 (1816) Jean-Charles de Coucy
- 9. April to 20. November 1802 Michel-François Couët du Vivier de Lorry
- 1802–1804 Jean-François Demandolx (also bishop of Amiens)
- 1804–1826 Gabriel-Laurent Paillou(x)
- 1827–1835 Joseph Bernet (also archbishop of Aix)
- 1835–1855 Clément Villecourt
- 1856–1866 Jean-François Landriot (also archbishop of Reims)
- 1867–1883 Léon-Benoît-Charles Thomas (also archbishop of Rouen)
- 1884–1892 Etienne Ardin (also archbishop of Sens))
- 1892–1901 François-Joseph-Edwin Bonnefoy (also archbishop of Aix))
- 1901–1906 Emile-Paul-Angel-Constant Le Camus
- 1906–1923 Jean-Auguste-François-Eutrope Eyssautier
- 1923–1937 Eugène Curien
- 1938–1955 Louis Liagre
- 1955–1963 Xavier Morilleau
- 1963–1979 Félix-Marie-Honoré Verdet
- 1979–1983 François-Marie-Christian Favreau
- 1985–1996 Jacques Louis Antoine Marie David
- 1996–2006 Georges Paul Pontier (also archbishop of Marseille))
- 2006–present Bernard Housset