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Bishop of Rennes
Archdiocese of Rennes, Dol, and Saint-Malo
Archidioecesis Rhedonensis, Dolensis et Sancti Maclovii
In the Middle Ages the Bishop of Rennes had the privilege of crowning the dukes of Brittany in his cathedral. On the occasion of his first entry into Rennes it was customary for him to be borne on the shoulders of four Breton barons.
In 2014, in the Archdiocese of Rennes, Dol, and Saint-Malo there was one priest for every 2,537 Catholics.
Tradition names as first apostles of the future Diocese of Rennes, but of an uncertain date: Saint Maximinus, who was reported to have been a disciple and friend of Saint Paul (died AD 65),Saint Clarus, and Saint Justus. On the other hand, when in the fifth and sixth centuries bands of Christian Britons emigrated from Great Britain to Armorica and formed on its northern coast the small Kingdom of Domnonée, the Gospel was preached for the first time in the future Diocese of Dol and Diocese of Aleth. Among these missionaries were St. Armel, who, according to the legend, founded in the sixth century the town of Ploermel in the Diocese of Vannes and then retired into the forests of Chateaugiron and Janzé and attacked Druidism on the very site of the Dolmen of the Fairy Rocks (La Roche aux Fées); St. Méen (Mevennus) who retired to the solitudes around Pontrecoët and founded the monastery of Gael (550), known afterwards as St. Méen's; and St. Samson and St. Malo.
The earliest historical reference to the See of Rennes dates from 453. An assembly of eight bishops of Provincia Lugdunensis Tertia took place at Angers on 4 October 453 to consecrate a new bishop for Angers. Four of the bishops can be associated with particular Sees. The other four are assigned by scholars to the other dioceses in the ecclesiastical province, one of which was Rennes. One of the four prelates, Sarmatio, Chariato, Rumoridus, and Viventius, was Bishop of Rennes. This bishop's successor, likely his immediate successor, Athenius, took part in the Council of Tours in 461.Louis Duchesne is of opinion that the St. Amandus reckoned by some scholars among the bishops of Rennes at the end of the fifth century is the same as St. Amand of Rodez. He therefore excludes him from his list of authentic bishops.
In 1180 Bishop Philippe, acting in accordance with a dream (it is said), began the replacement of the old cathedral with a new edifice; the eastern part of the building was erected, but various delays hampered the completion of the whole structure. The ceremony of consecration did not take place until 3 November 1359, though the edifice was still uncompleted. A new cathedral which had been built and dedicated to Saint Peter in 1541 was demolished in 1755 and replaced by the current edifice.
The Chapter of the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre was composed of five dignities and sixteen Canons, and sixteen prebends. The dignities were: the Archdeacon of Rennes, the Archdeacon of Le Désert (de Deserto), the Cantor, the Succentor, and the Treasurer. The royal pouillé of 1648 names six dignities, omitting the Succentor and adding the Theologian and Penitentiary. The Treasurer was presented by the Pope. The Chapter, and all the cathedral chapters in France, were suppressed by the Constituent Assembly in 1790.
The diocese also contained three Collegiate Churches which had Canons: La Guerche (founded 1206), Vitré (also founded in 1206), and Champeau (mid-15th cent.). Notre-Dame de Guerche had twelve Canons and prebends, S. Marie Madeleine at Vitry had twenty-two Canons, headed by their Treasurer. Notre-Dame de Champeau had six Canons and prebends, and were headed by a Dean.
In accordance with the terms of the Concordat of Bologna of 1516, between King Francis I of France and Pope Leo X all bishops in France (which at the time did not include "the Three Bishoprics", Metz, Toul and Verdun) were to be nominated by the King and approved (preconized) by the Pope. This was continued under Napoleon by the terms of the Concordat of 1801 and by the Bourbon monarchs and their successors to 1905 by the Concordat of 1817. The practice did not apply during the French Revolution, when the Civil Constitution of the Clergy mandated the election of bishops by qualified electors in each of the new départements of the republic. These 'Constitutional Bishops' were in schism with the Papacy. Therefore, nearly all Archbishops of Rennes from 1516 to 1905 were nominees of the French government. In addition to the nomination of the Bishop of Rennes, the king also held the nomination of the Abbey of Saint-Mélaine (O.S.B.), the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Rillé (O.S.A.), the Abbey of Saint-Georges-de-Rennes aux Nonnains (O.S.B.), and the Abbey of Saint-Sulpice aux Nonnains (O.S.B.).
During the Revolution Claude Le Coz (1760-1815), Principal of the Collège de Quimper, was elected Constitutional Bishop of Ille-et-Vilaine. Under the Concordat he became Archbishop of Besançon.
^Duchesne, pp. 344-345. Duchesne is supported by the authors of Gallia christiana XIV (Paris 1856), p. 740, most recently edited by B. Hauréau, who states that the inclusion of Amandus as a bishop of Rennes is mera conjectura (pure conjecture).
^E. Develle, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français... pp. 130-132.
^Athenius was present at the Council of Tours in 461, and at the Council of Vannes (Veneticum). Duchesne, II, p. 344 no. 2. C. Munier (1963), Concilia Galliae, A. 314 - A. 506 (Turnholt: Brepols 1963), pp. 148, 150, 157.
^Melanius was present at the First Council of Orléans in 511. A well-known abbey was named in his honor, which in the twelfth century possessed no less than seventy parish churches. Duchesne, pp. 344-345, no. 3. C. De Clercq (1963), Concilia Galliae, A. 511 - A. 695 (Turnholt: Brepols 1963), pp. 13 line 21, 14 line 18, 15 line 27.
^Triscanus: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 744-745. Gams, p. 606.
^Mainus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 745. Morice et al., pp. 12-13. Gams, p. 606.
^Sylvester was consecrated bishop before being ordained a priest. For this he was suspended by the Council of Poitiers of 1078, and his case was referred to Pope Gregory VII. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 745-746. Morice et al., p. 13. Gams, p. 606. Kriston R. Rennie (2007), "The Council of Poitiers (1078) and Some Legal Considerations," Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law, Vol. 27 (n.s. 1) pp. 1-20, at 2-3.
^Marbodius: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 746-748. Morice et al., pp. 13-15. Gams, p. 606. Ernault, pp. 143-249.
^Ro(t)aldus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 748. Morice et al., p. 15. Gams, p. 606.
^Hamelinus, Abbot of S. Aubin, was elected on 15 May 1127. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 748. Morice et al., pp. 15-16. Gams, p. 606.
^Alanus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 749. Morice et al., p. 16. Gams, p. 606.
^Étienne: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 748. Morice et al., p. 16-17. Gams, p. 606.
^Philippe had been Abbot of Clermont. He was the Chancellor of Duke Geoffrey of Brittany. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 751. It was he who began the medieval cathedral.
^Gallia christiana XIV, p. 171, is suspicious about his date, based as it is on one charter of confirmation for the Abbey of Saint-Melaine, which mentions his predecessors Alain and Étienne. Morice et al., p. 18, assign Jacques a date of 1183/1184.
^On 15 and 17 January 1190, Bishop Herbert signed charters of King Richard I. Pound, p. 90 no. 268; p. 210, no. 602. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 751-752.
^Petrus was Archdeacon of York in 1195, but the Archbishop neglected (it was claimed by the Chapter) to present Peter within six months, and therefore the presentation lapsed. Duchess Constance of Brittany made Peter Chancellor of Brittany. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 752-753. Morice et al. (1839), p. 18. John Le Neve (ed. T.D. Hardy), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae III (Oxford 1854), p. 131. Eubel, I, p. 416.
^Pierre de Fougeres was the nephew of Bishop Étienne de Fougères (1168-1178). On 1 July 1210 he confirmed a charter founding the Chapter of Canons in the Church of the Madeleine of Vitré. Morice et al. (1839), pp. 18-19. Eubel, I, p. 416.
^Josselinus: Morice et al., p. 19. Eubel, I, p. 416.
^Guillaume was appointed to Rennes by Clement VII, and transferred to the diocese of Dol on 27 August 1386. He died on 2 February 1391. Eubel, I, pp. 226, 417.
^Lovier was appointed to Rennes by Clement VII, and transferred to Maguelonne on 15 October 1389. Eubel, I, pp. 320, 417.
^Anselme de Chantemerle was appointed to Rennes by Clement VII. Eubel, I, p. 417.
^Brillet: Eubel, I, p. 417. Guillaume was transferred to the titular See of Caesarea Palaestinae on 26 May 1447: Eubel, II, p. 113.
^Robert de la Riviere had been Precentor in the Cathedral Chapter of Rennes. Eubel, II, p. 221.
^D'Espinay had been Bishop of Saint-Malo from 7 January 1450 to 25 April 1450. was granted his bulls for Rennes on 25 April 1450. He died in January 1482. Eubel, II, pp. 183, 222.
^Guibé was a Licenciate in Canon Law, and had been a Canon of Nantes, Bishop Saint-Pol-de-Leon (1477-1478) and Bishop of Dol (1478-1482). His bulls for Rennes were granted on 29 March 1482. He died in 1502. Eubel, I, p. 145, 175, 222.
^Guibé had been Bishop of Tréguier (1483-1502). His bulls of transfer to Rennes were approved on 24 March 1502. He was transferred to the diocese of Nantes on 29 January 1507. Eubel, II, p. 222, 283, .
^L'Archiver: Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 293.
^Cornulier: Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 293.
^La Motte: He resigned, to become Archbishop of Auch on 24 March 1664. He died in 1684. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 105; 293, with note 5.
^Vieuville died on 29 January 1676. Gauchat, IV, p. 293.
^On 2 February 1679, without having been consecrated a bishop, Bouthilier was transferred to the diocese of Tréguier. He died on 15 September 1731. Ritzler, V, p. 330, with note 3; p. 386, with note 2.
^Lavardin was nominated by King Louis XIV on 26 November 1676, and preconized (approved) by Pope Innocent XI on 8 November 1677. He died on 23 May 1711. He was consecrated on 20 February 1678 by Archbishop Michel Amelot de Gournay of Tours. Jean, pp. 440-441. Ritzler, V, p. 330, with note 4.
^Sanzay: Jean, p. 441. Ritzler, V, p. 331, with note 5.
^Breteuil: Jean, p. 441. Ritzler, V, p. 331, with note 6.
^Vaureal: Jean, pp. 441-442. Ritzler, VI, p. 354, with note 2.
^Junies: Jean, p. 442. Ritzler, VI, p. 354, with note 3.
^Des Nos: Jean, p. 442. Ritzler, VI, p. 354, with note 4.
^Girac had previously been Bishop of Saint-Brieuc. Jean, pp. 442-443. Ritzler, VI, p. 130, with note 3; p. 354, with note 5.
^De Maille was born at Étrammes (near Laval)in 1743. He began a career as a soldier, but chose the ecclesiastical life and entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice. He was a Vicar-General of Le Mans and then of Dol. In 1778 he was named Bishop of Gap, and in 1784 was transferred to Saint-Papoul. In 1791 the Civil Constitution of the Clergy suppressed the diocese of Saint-Papoul; he spent the entire revolutionary decade in Paris, taking the oath to the Constitution and becoming a member of the National Guard. He was arrested on 29 December 1798 and sent to the Île de Ré; a year later he was liberated by Bonaparte. In 1801 he resigned his diocese at the request of Pope Pius VII, and on 28 March 1802 was named Archbishop of Rennes (approved by the Pope on 9 April), and in 1803 he reestablished the Cathedral Chapter, which had been dissolved by the Revolution. He died in Paris on 24 November 1804. Morice et al., pp. 43-44. Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 507-509.
^Born in 1842 in Hénin-Liétard, Enoch studied the Humanities at Douai and theology at Louvain, and then joined the Oratory. He was Superior of the Major Seminary in Grenoble. When the Revolution began, he refused the Oath, and emigrated to Italy, though he returned in 1793 and became a bureaucrat in Grenoble. He took the oaths to obtain his position, then he repudiated them, then he accepted them again. In 1802 he became Vicar-General of Rennes, and on 30 January 1805 its bishop, on appointment of the Emperor Bonaparte, and confirmation by Pius VII. He was consecrated on 21 April 1805 in Paris by Cardinal Jean-Baptiste de Belloy. He made his formal entrance into Rennes on 4 May 1806, more than a year after his consecration. Shortly thereafter he published the new Napoleonic Catechism. Enoch retired in 1819 on grounds of ill health; he was appointed Canon of Saint-Denis, where he lived and died on 19 May 1825. Morice et al., pp. 45-46. Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 509-510.
^Mannay was born in Champeix (Clermont) in 1745, and studied at the seminary of Saint-Sulpice. He was chosen to supervise the theological studies of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, nephew of the Archbishop of Reims. He was nominated Bishop of Trèves by Napoleon Bonaparte on 12 July 1802, and confirmed on 17 July. He was consecrated on 18 July by Bishop Antoine-Xavier Maynaud de Pancemont of Vannes. Mannay was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1807, and Officer in 1809, and a Baron of the Empire in 1808. He rushed to Napoleon's side during the Hundred Days, and was offered a pension by the Prussians if he would resign the diocese and live in retirement in Aschaffenburg. He resigned the diocese of Trèves on 9 October 1816. Louis XVIII offered him the diocese of Autun, but problems between the Monarchy and the Papacy delayed it restoration for five years. Instead, on 30 November 1819, Mannay was named Archbishop of Rennes, and preconized (approved) on 20 February 1820. He died on 5 December 1824 at the age of 79. Morice et al., pp. 46-47. Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 510-511, 638-639.
^De Lesquen was born in the manor of Bouillons (Dinan) in 1770 and brought up in the Hôtel des Gentilhommes in Rennes. He served in the royalist army, 1795-1797, and earned the Croix Saint-Louis. He studied at the seminary in Saint-Brieuc (1801); he served in two parishes, and became a Canon of Saint-Brieuc. In 1817 he was named a Vicar-General of Rennes. He was nominated Bishop of Beauvais by King Louis XVIII on 13 January 1823, preconized on 16 May and consecrated on 13 July in the chapel of Issy by Archbishop Pierre de Bausset-Roquefort of Aix. At Beauvais he reconstituted the Cathedral Chapter. He was nominated Bishop of Rennes on 31 January 1825, and preconized on 21 March by Pope Leo XII. His resignation was accepted by Pope Gregory XVI on 21 January 1841. He died on 17 July 1855 at the age of 85. Morice et al., pp. 47-48. Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 115, 511-512
^Saint-Marc (French): Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 512-514.
^fr:Charles-Philippe Place (French): Place had been Bishop of Marseille (1866-1878) before his appointment to Rennes. Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 514-516.
^Gonindard: Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France)(1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 516-517.
^Labouré: Canon Hamard, in: Société bibliographique (France)(1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 517-518.
^Dubourg was born at Loguivy-Plougras (Côtes-du-Nord) in 1842. He became a teacher in Tréguier, and then Private Secretary to the Bishop of Saint-Brieuc. He was named Vicar-General in 1882, and Vicar Capitular in 1888. He was approved by Pope Leo XIII as Bishop of Moulins on 14 January 1893, and consecrated at Saint-Brieuc on 16 April by Bishop Pierre-Marie-Frédéric Fallieres. He was transferred to Rennes on 6 August 1906, and enthroned at Rennes on 11 September 1893. Dubourg was named a cardinal on 4 December 1916 by Pope Benedict XV. He died on 22 September 1921. Salvador Miranda, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Dubourg, August-René, retrieved: 2017-01-18.
^Born in 1953, Ornellas holds the degree of Doctor of theology. He was private secretary to Cardinal Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris (1986-1991). He was director of the Cathedral School of the Diocese of Paris (1995-2006. He was named titular bishop of Naraggara (Africa Proconsularis) on 4 July 1997, and consecrated by Cardinal Lustiger on 10 October 1997, becoming Auxiliary Bishop of Paris and Vicar-General (Centre). In 2006 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of Rennes, and on 21 March 2007 he became Archbishop on the death of Archbishop Saint-Macary. Conférence des évêques de France, Biography of Archbishop Pierre d'Ornellas, retrieved: 2017-01-16 (in French).