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According to legend, developed in the 11th century, the diocese was founded by Nicasius, a disciple of St. Denis who was martyred after arriving in Normandy towards the end of the first century on a mission from Pope Clement I. Most of the episcopal lists of the Diocese of Rouen, however, omit Nicasius' name. Rouen became an archdiocese probably around 744 with the accession of Grimo. Archbishop Franco baptized Rollo of Normandy in 911, and the archbishops were involved in the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Normandy was annexed to France in 1204, and Rouen was later occupied by England from 1419 to 1449 during the Hundred Years' War. In 1562 the city was briefly captured by Huguenots during the French Wars of Religion.
The seat of the archbishop is the 13th century GothicRouen Cathedral. The Cathedral Chapter is composed of ten dignities (the Dean, the Precentor, the Treasurer, the Archdeacon Major, the Archdeacon Augi (Eu), the Archdeacon of Cales-Major (Grand-Caux), the Archdeacon of Velocassium Franciae (Vexin Français), the Archdeacon of Velocassium Normanniae (Vexin Normande), the Archdeacon of Cales-Minor (Petit-Caux), and the Chancellor); in addition there were forty-seven Canons (which included the offices of Succentor, Theologian and Penitentiary).
In addition to the right to nominate the Archbishop of Rouen (from the Treaty of Bologna of 1516, between Francis I and Leo X), the King of France also enjoyed the right of nomination of a considerable number of benefices in the archdiocese. These included: twenty-four abbeys; fourteen priories; the Dean and Canons of the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Ronde in Rouen; and the Dean and nine prebends of the Church of Saint-Mellon-de-Pontoise.
^Bishop Avitianus was present at the Council of Arles in 314. C. Munier, Concilia Galliae, A. 314 - A. 506 (Turnholt: Brepols 1963), p. 16 (Ibidianus), 18 (Avitianus). Fisquet, p. 14. Duchesne, p. 206 no. 2.
^He subscribed the acts of the Council of Cologne of 346, and the Council of Sardica in 347. J.D. Mansi (ed.) Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus II (Florence 1759), p. 1371 and 1379. Fisquet, p. 15. Duchesne, p. 206 no. 4.
^Marcellinus: Fisquet, p. 15. Duchesne, p. 206 no. 5
^Germanus participated in the first Council of Tours in 461. Meunier, p. 148. Fisquet, p. 21. Duchesne, pp. 208-209, no. 21.
^Only his name is known from the episcopal lists. Fisquet, p. 21. Duchesne, pp. 204 and 207 no. 13
^Gildaredus took part in the First Council of Orléans in 511. C. De Clercq, Concilia Galliae, A. 511 - 695 (Turnhout: Brepols 1963), p. 13 and 14 (Geldaredus), 15 and 16 (Gildaredus, and Gildardus), 17 (Gelidandus), 19 (Gildaredus). Fisquet, pp. 21-22. Duchesne, p. 207 no. 14 with note 3: "C'est tout ce qu'on peut dire de certain."
^Praetextatus was present at the Council of Tours in 567. In 577, at a council in Paris, he was accused of treason by King Chilperic, and imprisoned until the king's death in 584. He was present at the Council of Mâcon in 585. On 14 April (or 24 February) 586, Queen Fredegund had him assassinated. Fisquet, pp. 22-27. Duchesne, p. 207, no. 16.
^Melantius was the recipient of a papal letter in June 601. Fisquet, pp. 27-28. Duchesne, p. 207, no. 17.
^Hidulfus was present at the Council of Paris in 614. Duchesne, p. 207, no. 18.
^Ansbert, former Abbot of Fontanelle, is attested in 688/689 in a charter issued during a provincial council. He was imprisoned by Pippin d'Heristal in the Abbey of Hautmont (Cambrai) where he died in 692 or 693. Duchesne, pp. 208-209, no. 21.
^Grippo is attested in a charter of 696/697. Duchesne, p. 209, no. 22
^Grimo is attested in 744, as the recipient of the pallium from Pope Zacharias at the request of Saint Boniface. Philipp Jaffé, Regesta pontificum Romanorum edition altera Tomus I (Leipzig 1885), p. 264, nos. 2269-2271. Duchesne, p. 209 no. 26.
^Wenilo (Ganelon): He participated in the Synod apud Carisiacum (palatium) of 858; the Council of Metz in 859; the Council of Tulle apud Saponarias (Savonnières) on 14 June 859; the Council of Aix on 9 January 860; the Council of Tulle apud Tusiacum (Teuzey) on 22 October 860; the Council of Pitres in 862; the Council of Soissons on 18 August 866; the Council of Troyes on 25 October 867; the Council of Quierzy on 5 December 868; and the Councils of Verberie (Vermerium palatium) and Pitres in 869. Jacques Sirmond, Concilia antiqua Galliae Tomus III (Paris 1629), p. 117 and 131, 144, 157, 162, 297 and 302, 358. Abbé Cochet, "Palace of Charles the Bald," The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review (1859), pp. 476-479 (on the palace at Pitres). Fisquet, pp. 46-47. Council of Verberie: J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XVI (Venice 1771), p. 568.
^Adalardus was present at the Council of Deuzey in August 871. J.-D. Mansi, p. 677. Fisquet, p. 47.
^Bishop John was present at the Council of Metz in 888: J.-D. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XVIII (Venice 1773), p. 72. Fisquet, pp. 48-50.
^Bishop Witton took part in the Assembly at the royal palace of Verberie (Vermieriense palatium) near Compiègne on 30 September 892: Édouard Favre (1893). Eudes, comte de Paris et roi de France, (882-898) (in French). Paris: É. Bouillon. p. 145. He was also present at the Council of Trosley (Troslejanum) under the presidency of the Archbishop Hervé of Reims of 26 June 909. Mansi XVIII, p. 308. Fisquet, pp. 51-52.
^Bishop Odo's election was not canonically carried out and so it was quashed by Pope Innocent IV, who immediately provided him anyway, on 30 March 1245. Odo died on 5 May 1247. Fisquet, pp. 121-123. Eubel, I, p.425 with note 5.
^Guillaume de Vienne had been Abbot of Saint-Seine (Langres). He was named Bishop of Autun on 11 February 1379 by Clement VII, and then Bishop of Beauvais on 26 August 1387. He was appointed Archbishop of Rouen on 29 March 1389. Archbishop Guillaume died on 18 February 1407. Fisquet, pp. 175-177. Eubel, I, p. 73, 426.
^Louis d'Harcourt was the nephew of Queen Jeanne, wife of King Charles V of France. He was elected on 18 March 1407, at the age of 28, but his election was contested by Cardinal Jean d'Armagnac, who had been appointed by Benedict XIII. Louis was represented at the Council of Pisa (1409) by procurators, where Benedict XIII and Gregory XII were deposed and excommunicated. Louis d'Harcourt was provided by Pope Alexander V on 29 July 1409, thereby clarifying his title to the bishopric of Rouen. He died on 19 November 1422. Fisquet, pp. 177-179. Eubel, I, p. 426.
^La Roche-Taillée: Fisquet, pp. 179-182. Eubel, I, p. 225.
^Hugues des Orges was already Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne (1416-1431). He was granted his bulls for Rouen on 26 January 1431. He died on 19 August 1436. Fisquet, pp. 182-184. Eubel, I, p. 153; II, p. 225.
^Croixmare: His father was President of the Court of the Exchequer of Rouen; his mother was a niece of Archbishop Raoul Roussel. Robert, who was Archdeacon of Grand-Caux, was elected by the Chapter on 20 March 1483. He took possession by proxy on 13 May. Fisquet, pp. 195-196.
^Cardinal d'Amboise died on 25 May 1510 at the house of the Carthusians in Lyon. Fisquet, pp. 196-210. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica III, p. 287 note 2.
^Georges d'Amboise was the nephew of the Cardinal d'Amboise. He was elected by the forty-four Canons of Rouen, on the recommendation of King Louis XII on 30 July 1510; this was the last occasion on which the Archbishop was chosen by the Cathedral Chapter. Georges was not yet a priest, and at the age of 23 required a dispensation to be ordained. He was granted his bulls as Administrator on 11 August 1511, with the condition that he would not be consecrated until he was twenty-seven; he signed for his financial obligations to the Papacy on 11 September, and took his oath to the King on 14 October 1511. He was consecrated bishop on 11 December 1513, and was granted the pallium by Pope Leo X on 9 April 1514. He died on 25 August 1550. Fisquet, pp. 210-213. Eubel, III, p. 287, with note 3.
^Charles de Bourbon was the brother of Antoine de Bourbon, the father of the future Heni IV of France. He was appointed Archbishop of Rouen by King Henri II of France, on 26 August 1550, the day after the death of Cardinal d'Amboise, and preconised (approved) by Pope Julius III on 3 October 1550. In 1589, after the assassination of King Henri III, the Cardinal de Bourbon was proclaimed his successor as King Charles X of France. Captured by Henry IV at Blois, he died in prison in the Château de Fontenay-le-Comte on 9 May 1590. Fisquet, pp. 213-219. Eubel, III, p. 287.
^Bourbon was elected Coadjutor Archbishop of Rouen on 1 August 1583, but he never received episcopal consecration. He was named a cardinal on 12 December 1583 at the age of 21. He died on 30 July 1594. Salvador Miranda, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Bourbon de Vendome, Charles III de, retrieved: 2017-01-05.</
^Charles de Bourbon was the brother of King Henry IV of France, who named him Archbishop of Rouen on 13 November 1594. His bulls were not granted, however, until 26 March 1597. He was consecrated a bishop on 27 December 1597 by Cardinal Pierre de Gondi, Archbishop of Paris. He resigned the diocese on 1 December 1604. He died in his Abbey of Marmoutiers (diocese of Tours) on 15 June 1610, a month after the assassination of his brother. Fisquet, pp. 221-223. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 298, with note 2.
^De Joyeuse: Fisquet, pp. 223-229. Gauchat, IV, p. 298, with note 3.
^Harlay: Fisquet, pp. 229-234. Gauchat, IV, p. 298, with note 4.
^Harlay: Fisquet, pp. 234-250. Gauchat, IV, p. 298, with note 5.
^Médavy: Fisquet, pp. 250-253. Jean, p. 338. Ritzler, V, p. 356 with note 2.
^Colbert: Fisquet, pp. 253-257. Jean, p. 338-339. Ritzler, V, p. 356 with note 3.
^D'Aubigné: Fisquet, pp. 257-260. Jean, p. 339. Ritzler, V, p. 356 with note 4.
^Besons: Fisquet, pp. 260-263. Jean, pp. 339-340. Ritzler, V, p. 356 with note 5.
^Tressan: Fisquet, pp. 263-265. Jean, p. 340. Ritzler, V, p. 356 with note 6.
^Saulx-Tavannes was born in Paris in 1690, and became a Knight Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem in 1692. He was a Doctor in theology. He was Bishop of Chalons and Peer of France from 1721 to 1733, and was Grand Almoner of King Louis XV. He was nominated Archbishop of Rouen by King Louis XV on 28 August 1733, and preconized (approved) by Pope Clement XII on 18 December 1733. He was created a cardinal on 5 April 1756 by Pope Benedict XIV; he never visited Rome and never received a titular church. He died in Paris on 10 March 1759. Fisquet, pp. 265-268. Jean, pp. 340-341. Ritzler, V, p. 150 with note 5; VI, pp. 18 no. 56; 359 with note 2. Georges Clause, ed. (1989). Le Diocèse de Châlons (in French). Paris: Editions Beauchesne. pp. 86, 105, 112. ISBN978-2-7010-1185-1.
^Rochefoucauld was born in the Château de Saint-Ilpize (diocese of Mende), and held the Licenciate in theology. He had previously been Vicar General of Bourges and then Archbishop of Albi (1747-1759). He was granted the pallium for Rouen on 2 June 1759, and named a cardinal by Pope Pius VI on 1 June 1778, though he never received a titular church and never participated in a papal election. King Louis XVI named him Commander of the Order of the Holy Spirit on 14 May 1780. He participated in the Estates General of 1789, and was a member of the Constituent Assembly. In August 1790 he emigrated, travelling first to Bruxelles, then to Maastricht, and finally to Münster, where he died on 23 September 1800. Fisquet, pp. 268-275. Jean, pp. 341-342. Ritzler, VI, pp. 32; 73, with note 2; 359, with note 3.
^Leverdier was elected in January 1791, and resigned on 6 March 1791, without having been consecrated and without having taken up any duties. Fisquet, pp. 275-276.
^Charrier was elected on 20 March 1791 and consecrated on 10 April; he took possession of the diocese on 17 April. After three weeks he quit his office and returned to his family in Lyon; in 1793 he was imprisoned. He denounced civil marriage. On 9 April 1802, Pope Pius VII named him Bishop of Versailles. He died on 17 March 1827. Fisquet, pp. 276-283.
^Thomas: Julien Loth in: Société bibliographique (France) L'épiscopat français... pp. 544-545.
^Sourrieu: Julien Loth in: Société bibliographique (France) L'épiscopat français... pp. 545-546.
^Fuzet: Julien Loth in: Société bibliographique (France) L'épiscopat français... pp. 546-547.
^Dubois studied at the seminary in Le Mans, and became a priest of the diocese. In 1895 he was named an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral of Mans. In 1898-1901 he was Vicar-General of Le Mans. On 5 April 1901 he was nominated Bishop of Verdun by French President Emile Loubet, and he was preconized (approved) on 18 April 1901. He was consecrated on 2 July 1901. On 30 November 1909 he was named Archbishop of Bourges, and on 13 March 1916 Archbishop of Rouen. Dubois was named a cardinal by Pope Benedict XV on 4 December 1916, and on 13 December 1920 Archbishop of Paris. He was the leading opponent of L' action française in France, and a staunch ultramontane. He died in Paris on 23 September 1929.Martin Bräuer (2014). Handbuch der Kardinäle: 1846-2012 (in German). De Gruyter. p. 238. ISBN978-3-11-026947-5.
^Archbishop du Bois de La Villerabel was deposed in 1936 because of his long and vocal support for L'Action française: Eugen Joseph Weber (1996). The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s. NY: Norton. p. 196. ISBN978-0-393-31479-3. Du Bois of Rouen is not to be confused with Du Bois of Aix, an ardent supporter of Marshal Pétain.
^Petit was born in Dijon, and carried out his studies in the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. After ordination he studied in Rome from 1903 to 1905. From 1905 to 1910 he taught in the seminary of Issy in Paris. In 1927 he was named Bishop of Dijon, and on 29 September he was consecrated in Paris by Cardinal Dubois. On 7 August 1936 he was promoted Archbishop of Rouen, and on 18 February 1946 was named Cardinal priest by Pope Pius XII. He died on 10 December 1947. Bräuer, p. 307. Roger Brain (1948), Le Cardinal Petit de Julleville, (Paris: Centre de documentation sacerdotale, 1948). Salvador Miranda, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,Petit de Julleville, retrieved: 2017-01-04.
Tabbagh, Vincent (ed.) (1998): Fasti Ecclesiae Gallicanae. Répertoire prosopographique des évêques, dignitaires et chanoines des diocèses de France de 1200 à 1500. II. Diocèse de Rouen. Turnhout, Brepols. (in French)