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A person named Martin is said to have evangelized Artois and Arras, capital of the CelticAtrebates by 350AD; however, these early Christian communities did not survive the barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire in the fifth century.
At the beginning of the sixth century Remigius, Archbishop of Reims, placed in the See of Arras St. Vedastus (St. Vaast) (d. c. 540), who had been the teacher of the Merovingian king Clovis I after the victory of Tolbiac. His successors, Dominicus and Vedulphus, are also both venerated as saints. After the death of Vedulphus, the See of Arras was transferred to Cambrai, and it was not until 1093 that Arras again became a diocese. At the time of the reform of the bishoprics of the Netherlands in 1559, the diocese had 422 parishes. Its metropolitan was changed from Reims to Cambrai by Pope Paul IV.
Before the French Revolution the Cathedral Chapter consisted of the Provost, the Dean, the Archdeacon of Arras (Artois), the Archdeacon of Ostrevant, the Treasurer, the Penitentiary, 40 canons and 52 chaplains. There were some 400 parishes and 12 rural deans.
During the French revolution the diocese of Arras was abolished and subsumed into a new diocese, the 'Pas de Calais', coterminous with the new 'Departement of the Pas-de-Calais', and a suffragan of the 'Metropole des Côtes de la Manche'. The clergy were required to swear and oath to the Constitution, and under the terms of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy a new bishop was to be elected by all the voters of the departement. This placed them in schism with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. On 27 March 1791 the electors chose, on the fourth ballot, the curé of Saint-Nicolas-sur-les-Fossés at Arras, Pierre-Joseph Porion. In September 1801 First Consul Bonaparte abolished the Constitutional Church and signed a Concordat with Pope Pius VII which restored the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese of Arras was restored.
^Eubel, III, pp. 12, 55, 63, 57, 58, 107, 122, 200, 234. Accolti had also been Treasurer of Cambrai. He participated in the Conclave of 27 December 1521-9 January 1522; and in the Conclave of 1 October-18 November 1523. He resigned the See of Arras when appointed Cardinal Bishop of Albano on 8 December 1523. He died in Rome on 12 December 1532. Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa (Rome: Pagliarini 1793) III, pp. 350-352
^Rodriguez-Salgado, M. J. (2000). "King, Bishop, Pawn? Philip II and Granvelle in the 1550s and 1560s". Les Granvelle et les anciens Pays-Bas (ed. K. de Jonge & G. Jannsens). Leuven: 105-134.
^The new archdiocese of Mechlin was created on 12 May 1559. Granvelle's appointment was confirmed in Consistory by Pope Pius IV on 10 May 1561. Eubel, III, p. 239.
^Jean du Ploich had been Archdeacon and Vicar-General of St. Omer, when he was appointed Bishop of Arras by Archduke Albert, who was in Bruxelles for the Estates-General. His bulls were issued by the Pope on 10 September 1601: Gauchat, p. 99. He was consecrated at St. Omer by Bishop Jacques Blaise on 6 January 1602, and died on 1 July, at the age of 47. P. Fanien (1868). Histoire du chapitre d'Arras (in French). Arras: Rousseau-Leroy. pp. 342, 354-355.
^Porion was consecrated in Paris by Constitutional Bishop Jean-Baptiste Massieu on 10 April 1791, assisted by Constitutional Bishops Delcher and Sibille. In 1793 he blessed the marriage of a curate, and travelled to Calais to perform the marriage of another. During the Terror, he abdicated and married. He died on 20 March 1830. Pisani, pp. 189-190, and 456. Deramecourt, IV, pp. 165-177.
^Asselin was Constitutional curé of Saint-Sépulcre at Arras. He was consecrated at Notre-Dame de Paris on 1 October 1797, by Constitutional Bishops Jean-Baptiste Gratien (of Seine-Inférieure, his Metropolitan), Desbois and Bécherel. He resigned in 1801, and was reinstated as curé of Saint-Sépulcre. He died on 8 January 1825 at the age of 89. Pisani, 190-193, and 457. Deramecourt, IV, pp. 183-214.