Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières

The former French Catholic diocese of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières existed from 1317[1][self-published source?] until the French Revolution. Its see at Saint-Pons-de-Thomières in southern France is in the modern department of Hérault. There was the Abbey of St-Pons, founded in 936 by Raymond, Count of Toulouse, who brought there the monks of St-Géraud d'Aurillac.[2]

Saint-Pons-de-Thomières Cathedral
restored 1899 as a parish church

By the Concordat of 1801, the territory of the diocese was added to that of the archdiocese of Montpellier.


In the summer of 1317 Pope John XXII began a major reform of the diocesan structure of the Church in the Midi of France, with a view to combatting the Albigensian heresy.[3] The very extensive diocese of Toulouse was separated out into five additional dioceses, with Toulouse as the Metropolitan (Lavaur, Lombez, Mirepoix, Rieux, and Saint-Papoul); Montauban was created out of the territory of Cahors and assigned to Toulouse. Clermont had the diocese of Saint-Flour carved out of its territory. Albi had Castres separated out. Périgueux was divided for the new diocese of Sarlat. Poitiers lost Luçon and Maillezais. Rodez was divided and Vabres created. Limoges had the diocese of Tulle carved out. Agen was split to created Condom. Narbonne was divided up to create Alet (originally planned as Limoux) and Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, with Narbonne as the Metropolitan.[4]

The diocese was extremely small, containing around fifty parishes, scattered around a territory which was almost completely rural.[5] There were only two monasteries in the diocese, the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Chignan, and the Premonstratensian abbey of Fontcaude.[6] There was also a convent of Récollets.[7] In 1713 the episcopal seat of Saint-Pons contained some 2000 inhabitants, a number which had not increased by 1770.[8]

As at Maillezais and Alet (and others) Saint-Pons was founded where there was a monastery with a large church available to be used as a cathedral. The abbot of the monastery was named the first bishop, and the monks of the monastery were named the canons of the cathedral chapter. At Saint-Pons, the last abbot of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, Pierre Roger, became the first bishop of the diocese of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières. In the new chapter, there was an archdeacon, an aumonier, a precentor and eleven other canons. There was also a theologus, who, however, did not enjoy the status of a canon. The archdeacon was elected by the canons and installed by the bishop. The canons were appointed by the bishop.[9]

Huguenot control (purple) and influence (violet), 16th century

In 1567 Saint-Pons-de-Thomières was attacked by the Huguenots under the leadership of the Vicomte de Saint-Amans, and the cathedral was profaned. The attached monastery was reduced to rubble.[10] The convent of women in the suburb of Saint-Magdelaine was also attacked, and though they managed to escape, the buildings were destroyed by the Huguenots.[11]

In 1790 the diocese was suppressed by the National Constituent Assembly of the French government in the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. It was one of more than fifty dioceses in France that were deemed to be redundant. The Constituent Assembly intended that the Church should be brought under control of the State, and therefore it proclaimed that ecclesiastical dioceses should have the same territorial boundaries as the new eighty-three civil 'départements' which had just been created. Priests and bishops were to be salaried officials of the State, and elected by the 'electors' of their parish or diocese. The territory of Saint-Pons was subsumed into the new 'departement' and the new diocese of Hérault, with its headquarters at Montpellier, in the 'Metropole des Côtes de la Méditerranée'. The Bishop of Saint-Pons was also redundant, and rather than continue as a priest by taking the oath to the Civil Constitution, Bishop Louis-Henri de Bruyére de Chalabre fled the country; he died in London in 1795.[12] On 27 February 1791 the electors of the diocese of Hérault (who did not have to be Catholics, or even Christians) met and elected as their bishop Father Dominique Pouderous, curé of the church of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, who was consecrated a 'Constitutional Bishop' in Paris on 3 April 1791. Bishop Pouderous was unwelcome in Montpellier, however, and had to take up residence in Béziers. During the Terror, Pouderous took refuge in Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, while most of his clergy resigned their functions. Back in Béziers, he died on 10 April 1799. A new bishop, Alexandre-Victor Rouanet, was elected in April and consecrated in November 1799. He too had been a priest of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, and, after the Concordat of 1801, when his services were no longer wanted, he retired to Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, where he died unrepentant in 1821.[13]

After the signing of the Concordat of 1801 with First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, the diocese of Saint-Pons de Thomières was not revived, but abolished by Pope Pius VII in his bull Qui Christi Domini of 29 November 1801.[14]


  • Pierre Roger (19 April 1318 - 1324)[15]
  • Raymond d'Apremont de Roquecorne (21 November 1324 - 1345)[16]
  • Étienne d'Audebrand or de Chamberet (13 February 1346 - 14 August 1348)[17]
  • Gilbert de Mandegaches (14 August 1348 - 30 January 1353)[18]
  • Pierre de Canillac (30 January 1353 - 29 January 1361)[19]
  • Jean de Rochechouart (29 January 1361 - 30 May 1382)[20]
  • Dominique de Florence, O.P. (30 May 1382 - 24 October 1392)[21]
  • Aimon Séchal (10 February 1393 - 5 November 1397) (Administrator)[22]
  • Pierre Ravot, (5 November 1397 - 1409)[23]
  • Geoffroi de Pompadour (17 February 1410 - 17 October 1420)[24]
  • Aimon de Nicolai, O.P. (14 March 1421 - 12 June 1422)[25]
  • Guillaume Filastre (12 June 1422 - 6 November 1428) (Administrator)[26]
  • Vital de Mauléon (29 November 1428 - 1435) (Administrator)[27]
  • Géraud de La Briçoigne (or de Charras) (16 April 1434 - 26 October 1463)[28]
  • Jean (1463 – 1465)[29]
  • Pierre de Treignac de Comborn (20 May 1465 - 30 October 1467)[30]
  • Antoine Balue, O.S.B. (30 October 1467 - 1501)[31]
  • François-Guillaume de Castelnau de Clermont-Lodève (17 November 1501 - 1502)[32]
  • François de Luxembourg (1502-1507 and 1507–1509)[33]
  • Cardinal Philip of Luxemburg (8 September 1509 - 9 July 1511) (Administrator)[34]
  • Cardinal François-Guillaume de Castelnau de Clermont-Lodève (9 July 1511 - 1514) (Administrator) (second time)[35]
  • Alessandro Farnese (28 July 1514 - 13 October 1534) (Cardinal)[36]
  • Cardinal Marino Grimani (November 1534)[37]
  • François-Guillaume de Castelnau de Clermont-Lodève (20 November 1534 - 24 March 1539) (Administrator) (third time)[38]
  • Jacques de Castelnau de Clermont-Lodève (24 March 1539 - 11 September 1586)[39]
  • Pierre-Jacques de Fleyres (15 June 1587 - 25 June 1633)[40]
  • Jean-Jacques de Fleyres (25 June 1633 - 1652)[41]
  • Michel Tuboeuf (26 January 1654 - 12 October 1664)[42]
  • Pierre-Jean-François de Percin de Montgaillard (12 January 1665 - 13 March 1713)[43]
  • Jean-Louis de Berton de Crillon (18 September 1713 - 22 December 1727)[44]
  • Jean-Baptiste-Paul-Alexandre de Guenet (26 January 1728 - 3 September 1769)[45]
  • Louis-Henri de Bruyére de Chalabre (12 March 1770 - 1791)[46]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gabriel Chow, GCatholic-org, Diocese of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, France., retrieved: 2017-06-03.
  2. ^ Georges Goyau, "Montpellier," The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 10 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911); retrieved: 2017-06-03.
  3. ^ Louis Caillet (1975). La Papauté d'Avignon et l'Eglise de France. Publications de l' Univ Rouen Havre, 17 (in French). Paris: Presses univ. de France. p. 112. ISBN 978-2-87775-809-3.
  4. ^ G. de Lesquen (1905). Jean XXII (1316-1334): Lettres communes analysées d'après les registres dits d'Avignon et du Vatican (in French and Latin). Paris: A. Fontemoing. pp. 81, no. 6375, 83, no. 6393.
  5. ^ Gallia christiana VI, p. 223.
  6. ^ Claude De Vic; J. Vaissete (1872). Histoire generale de Languedoc (in French). Vol. Tome quatrieme (4). Toulouse: Edouard Privat. pp. 861–864.
  7. ^ Jean, p. 277.
  8. ^ Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 319, note 1; VI, p. 343, note 1.
  9. ^ Gallia christiana VI, p. 223.
  10. ^ Fisquet, p. 579.
  11. ^ Fisquet, p. 541.
  12. ^ Jean, p. 277.
  13. ^ Paul Pisani (1907). Répertoire biographique de l'épiscopat constitutionnel (1791-1802) (in French). Paris: A. Picard et fils. pp. 340–345.
  14. ^ Pius VI; Pius VII (1821). Collectio (per epitomen facta,) Bullarum, Brevium, Allocutionum, Epistolarumque, ... Pii VI., contra constitutionem civilem Cleri Gallicani, ejusque authores et fautores; item, Concordatorum inter ... Pium VII. et Gubernium Rei publicae, in Galliis, atque alia varia regimina, post modum in hac regione, sibi succedentia; tum expostulationum ... apud ... Pium Papam VII., Contra varia Acta, ad Ecclesiam Gallicanam, spectantia, a triginta et octo Episcopis, Archiepiscop. et Cardinal. antiquae Ecclesiae Gallicanae, subscriptarum, etc. 6 Avril, 1803 (in Latin). London: Cox & Baylis. pp. 111–121. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 343, note 1.
  15. ^ Pierre Roger was the son of Pierre Roger, Seigneur de Rosiers. He had been Abbot of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières since at least 1311. He is last heard of as Bishop of Saint-Pons in a document dated 18 December 1323. His date of death is unknown. Gallia christiana VI, pp. 236-237. Fisquet, pp. 539-540; 543. Alphonse Delouvrier (1896). Histoire de Saint-Chinian-de-la-Corne et des ses environs (Hérault) (in French). Montpellier: Grollier. p. 42. G. de Lesquen (1905), Jean XXII (1316-1334): Lettres communes, p. 135, no. 6984.
  16. ^ Raymond had been the first bishop of Sarlat (1318–1324), which was a See lacking in financial resources. After six and a half years of struggle, Raymond demanded and received a transfer. Gallia christiana VI, pp. 237-238. Fisquet, pp. 543-546 (conjecturing a date of death of 15 September 1344). Eubel, I, pp. 405-406 (giving a date of death of 1345); 436.
  17. ^ Stephanus Aldebrandi Cambaruti was Treasurer General of the Holy Roman Church. On 11 January 1347 he was named Chamberlain of Pope Clement VI, and was reappointed by Pope Innocent VI. On 7 January 1349 Bishop Étienne was named Archbishop of Arles (1348-1350), and then Archbishop of Toulouse. He died on 25 March 1361. Fisquet, pp. 546-547. C. Samaran and G. Mollat, La fiscalité pontificale en France au XIVe siècle (Paris 1905), p. 168. Eubel, I, p. 103, 406.
  18. ^ Guibert de Mandegaches had been a papal chaplain and Archdeacon of Béziers (attested in 1343). He was transferred to the diocese of Gap on 30 January 1353. Fisquet, pp. 547-548. Ernest Martin (1900). Histoire de la ville de Lodève (in French). Vol. second. Montpellier: Serre. p. 355. Eubel, I, pp. 406. 514.
  19. ^ Pierre's mother was a sister of Cardinal Bertrand de Deaulx, and Pierre's niece was married to Pope Innocent VI's brother; his brother Raymond was a cardinal. In 1348 he became Abbot of Montmajour-lès-Arles. He was named to the diocese of Saint-Pons on 30 January 1353 by Pope Innocent VI. On 29 January 1361 he was transferred to the diocese of Maguelonne. He died on 7 July 1361. Honore Fisquet (1864). La France pontificale (Gallia Christiana): Montpellier, I. (in French). Vol. Montpellier, premier partie. Paris: Etienne Repos. p. 161. Eubel, I, pp. 203, 320, 406.
  20. ^ Jean de Rochechouart was the second son of Jean, Vicomte de Rochechouart, royal councilor and Chamberlain of John II of France. He had previously been Archdeacon of Hannonia (Hainault) in the diocese of Cambrai, and then Bishop of Couserans (1358–1361). He was transferred to the diocese of Saint-Pons by Pope Innocent VI on 29 January 1361. On 30 May 1382 he was transferred to the diocese of Bourges by Clement VII (Avignon Obedience), and on 17 October 1390 to the diocese of Arles. He died on 13 December 1398. Fisquet, pp. 548-550. Joseph Hyacinthe Albanès; Ulysse Chevalier; Louis Fillet (1901). Gallia christiana novissima: Arles (in French and Latin). Montbéliard: Soc. anonyme d'imprimerie montbéliardasie. pp. 740–741. Eubel, I, pp. 103, 139, 203, 406.
  21. ^ Dominique had been confessor of Cardinal Robert of Geneva, who became Pope Clement VII on 20 September 1378 at Fondi. Pope Clement appointed Dominique Bishop of Albi on 18 May 1379, and then on 30 May 1382 Bishop of Saint-Pons. He was sent as legate to John I of Castile, where he successfully brought about a reconciliation with the Avignon Papacy and removed the King's excommunication; he also managed to broker a peace between the King of Castile and the King of France, concluded on 27 May 1391. On 24 October 1392 Dominique was transferred back to the diocese of Albi. He participated in the Council of Pisa in 1409. On 24 August 1410 he was named Archbishop of Toulouse by Pope John XXIII. He died on 17 March 1422. Fisquet, pp. 550-552. Eubel, I, pp. 81, 406, 488.
  22. ^ Aimo was Patriarch of Jerusalem. On 10 February 1393 he was named Administrator of the diocese of Saint-Pons. Fisquet, pp. 553-554. Eubel, I, p. 406.
  23. ^ Pierre Ravot (or de Rabat), an Augustinian canon, Doctor of Canon Law and papal Referendary (judge), had been Chancellor of the Church of Toulouse, and then Bishop of Mâcon from 1395 to 1397 (an appointee of Benedict XIII). In 1402 Benedict quashed the election of Vital de Castelmoron to the archbishopric of Toulouse, and appointed Pierre Ravot instead. Pierre Ravot was sent to Rome by Benedict XIII (Avignon Obedience) in September 1404, in anticipation of the death of Boniface IX (Roman Obedience) to try to end the schism; his intemperate behavior doomed the embassy. In November 1406 Ravot's supporters attempted to install him by force in Toulouse. Excommunications were imposed from both sides, and the Parliament of Paris intervened by confiscating all of their goods. In January 1408 King Charles VI of France drove Ravot out of Toulouse. Benedict XIII made Ravot a cardinal on 22 September 1408. On 21 October 1408 the National Council of France, meeting in Paris, declared Ravot a heretic and schismatic, and revoked all the benefices which he held from Benedict XIII. Ravot was driven out of both Toulouse and Saint-Pons. Pope Alexander V, who had been elected by the cardinals of both obediences after the claimants to the papal throne had been deposed by the Council of Pisa, invalidated the election of Ravot to the archbishopric of Toulouse and provided bulls for Castelmoron. Fisquet, pp. 554-558. Eubel, I, pp. 30 no. 10; 331; 406. Henri Aragon (2006). Histoire de Toulouse & des Toulousains célèbres (in French). Monein: Pyrémonde. pp. 88–89.
  24. ^ After the deposition of Pierre Ravot on 21 October 1408, King Charles VI authorized the Chapter of Saint-Pons to elect a new bishop. On 16 February 1409, Geoffroy de Pompadour was elected, but only with a plurality, and the election was contested. Archbishop François de Conzié of Narbonne appointed his Vicar General to settle the matter, and on 15 March he declared Geoffroy elected. An appeal to the Pope was lodged, though Geoffroy was consecrated a bishop on 9 June 1409 by Bishop Pierre Saupin of Bazas, acting for Archbishop Conzié. He is first mentioned as a bishop in the papal registers on 12 February 1410. Geoffroy was transferred to the diocese of Carcassonne by Pope Martin V on 17 October 1420. Fisquet, pp. 558-559. Eubel, I, p. 406 with notes 7 and 8.
  25. ^ A native of Aix, Avinio (Aimo, Aimon, Aimar) de Nicolai had been Provincial of his Order. He was named Bishop of Senez (1390). On 3 July 1422 he was named Archbishop of Aix. He died on 15 June 1443. Fisquet, pp. 560-561. Eubel, I, pp. 406 with note 9; 445.
  26. ^ Fillastre was already a cardinal and Archbishop of Aix (1414–1422) when he was given Saint-Pons in commendam, exchanging with Bishop Aimo de Nicolai. He died on 6 November 1428. Fisquet, pp. 562-564. Gams, p. 622. Eubel, I, p. 96.
  27. ^ Mauléon was titular Patriarch of Alexandria. Fisquet, p. 565-566. Eubel, I, p. 406; II, pp. 85, 218.
  28. ^ De La Briçoigne (or de Charras) had been royal councilor, Archdeacon of Laon, and Abbot of S. Aphrodise de Béziers. He was Bishop of Pamiers (1430–1435), and was transferred to Saint-Pons by Pope Eugene IV on 16 April 1434. He died on 26 October 1463. Gallia christiana VI, pp. 245-246. Fisquet, pp. 565-567. Eubel, I, p. 94; II, p. 218.
  29. ^ Eubel, II, p. 218.
  30. ^ Pierre de Comborn had previously been Bishop of Évreux (1443–1465). Fisquet, pp. 567-569. Eubel, II, pp. 148, 218.
  31. ^ Balue had previously been Bishop of Évreux (5 June–30 October 1467), where he succeeded his brother Jean, who had been transferred to the diocese of Angers. He resigned the diocese. He died on 12 November (or 1 December) 1501. Fisquet, pp. 569-571. Eubel, II, pp. 148, 218.
  32. ^ François-Guillaume de Castelnau was a nephew of Cardinal Georges d'Amboise. Fisquet, La France pontificale (Gallia Christiana): Maguelone, Montpellier, Agde, pp. 506-511. Eubel, II, p. 218 with note 4.
  33. ^ François was the son of Jacques de Luxembourg, Seigneur de Finnes and Knight of the Golden Fleece; and nephew of Cardinal Philippe de Luxembourg. At the age of twenty he was elected bishop of Saint-Pons at the insistence of King Louis XII. He was confirmed by Pope Alexander VI in a bull of 5 October (or 16 November) 1502. On 22 December 1502 François took possession of the diocese by proxy, and on 1 April 1503 swore his oath to the King. On 7 June 1507 he was appointed Bishop of Le Mans, and allowed to keep the diocese of Saint-Pons. He died in Rome on 9 September 1509, and since he died in Rome his dioceses reverted to the Pope, who granted them to his uncle, Cardinal Philippe. Fisquet, pp. 571-572. Eubel, III, pp. 162 with note 3; 277 with note 2.
  34. ^ Philippe de Luxembourg: Eubel, III, p. 277.
  35. ^ Francois de Castelnau: Eubel, III, p. 277.
  36. ^ Alessandro Farnese had been created a cardinal by Pope Alexander VI on 20 September 1493. He was already Bishop of Parma (1509–1534), though he was not consecrated a bishop until 2 July 1519, after he had been named Cardinal Bishop of Frascati. He was an absentee-bishop of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières. Cardinal Farnese was elected pope on 13 October 1534, taking the name Paul III. Eubel, III, pp. 5 no 18; 270, 277.
  37. ^ Grimani was apparently appointed on 13 November 1534, succeeding Pope Paul III as Bishop of Saint-Pons, but he resigned a week later, leaving the diocese in the hands of Cardinal de Castelnau. He was already Administrator of the dioceses of Ceneda, Concordia, and Città Castello. He was named Legate in Umbria and Perugia, a much more important and lucrative charge. He died in Orvieto on 28 September 1546. Fisquet, pp. 577-578.
  38. ^ Eubel, III, p. 277.
  39. ^ Jacques de Castelnau: Fisquet, pp. 579-580. Eubel, III, p. 277.
  40. ^ Fisquet, pp. 580-581. Eubel, III, p. 277 with note 7.
  41. ^ Jean Jacques de Fleyres was granted bulls as Coadjutor Bishop to his uncle Pierre-Jacques on 5 December 1622. He was consecrated by Bishop Alphonse del Bene of Albi, and assigned the titular bishopric of Troy. He succeeded to the diocese on the death of his uncle on 25 June 1633. Fisquet, p. 582. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 284 with note 2.
  42. ^ Tuboeuf was nominated by King Louis XIV on 20 June 1653, and preconised (approved) by Pope Innocent X on 26 January 1654. He was consecrated in Paris, at the Chapel of the Sorbonne, on 12 April 1654. On 12 October 1664 he was transferred to the diocese of Castres by Pope Alexander VII. Fisquet, pp. 582-583. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 284 with note 3.
  43. ^ Born in Toulouse in 1633, de Montgaillard held a doctorate from the Sorbonne and was Abbot of Saint-Marcel (diocese of Cahors). He was given his bulls by Pope Alexander VII, and was consecrated on 12 July 1665 by Bishop Jacques-Adhémar de Monteil de Grignan of Uzès. On 31 October he took possession of the diocese of Saint-Pons. He became involved in various Jansenist controversies, and had various of his propositions condemned both by the Holy Office (Inquisition) and by Pope Clement XI. He died on 13 March 1713, after having sent a letter of retraction to the Pope. Fisquet, pp. 584-589. Gauchat, p. 284 with note 4.
  44. ^ De Crillon was the son of Philippe Marie de Berton, Marquis de Crillon; his uncle François was Archbishop of Vienne. From 1710 he was Abbot Commendatory of Saint-Étienne de Baigne, by royal appointment. On 22 April 1713 he was nominated by the King to be Bishop of Saint-Pons. His appointment to the See of Saint-Pons was approved by Pope Clement XI on 18 September 1713, and he was consecrated in Paris on 15 October 1713 by his uncle. He was nominated Archbishop of Toulouse by King Louis XV on 30 July 1727, and transferred to the diocese of Toulouse on 22 December 1727 by Pope Benedict XIII. He became Archbishop of Narbonne in 1739, and Prelate-Commander of the Order of the Holy Spirit. He died in Avignon on 15 March 1751. Fisquet, pp. 589-591. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 319 with note 3.
  45. ^ Born in Rouen in 1688, De Guenet had studied at Saint-Sulpice in Paris and had been Vicar General of Chartres. He was nominated to the diocese of Saint-Pons by King Louis XV on 9 September 1727, and confirmed by Pope Benedict XIII on 26 January 1728. He was consecrated in Notre-Dame de Chartres by Bishop Charles Desmontiers de Merinville on 7 March 1728. He died on 3 September 1769. Fisquet: pp. 591-592. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 319 with note 4.
  46. ^ Born at Castelnaudary in 1731, Bruyére was Abbot Commendatory of l'Absie (La Rochelle) and Vicar General of Carcassonne. He was nominated to the diocese of Saint-Pons by King Louis XV on 26 December 1769, and preconised (approved) by Pope Clement XIV on 12 March 1770. He was consecrated in Paris on 22 April 1770. He died in exile in London in 1795. Jean, p. 277. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 343 with note 2.


Reference SourcesEdit


Coordinates: 43°29′N 2°46′E / 43.49°N 2.76°E / 43.49; 2.76