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Diocese of Saint-Pol-de-Leon
Diocese of Quimper (-Cornouaille) and Léon
Dioecesis Corisopitensis (-Cornubiensis) et Leonensis
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Quimper (-Cornouaille) and Léon (Latin: Dioecesis Corisopitensis (-Cornubiensis) et Leonensis; French: Diocèse de Quimper (-Cornouaille) et Léon) is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. In 1853, the name was changed from the Diocese of Quimper (-Cornouaille) to the Diocese of Quimper (-Cornouaille) and Léon.
Two versions of the catalogue of the Bishops of Quimper are known: one is from the twelfth century and is held by the Cartulary of Quimperlé; the other is preserved in a Quimper Cartulary of the fifteenth century. Both mention a St. Chorentius as first Bishop of Quimper. His hagiography, however, was developed relatively late in church history. Nothing accurate is known about him, but he is supposed by some to have been ordained by St. Martin of Tours in the fourth century, while others claim that he was a sixth-century monk. Duchesne points out that, before the eleventh century, control of the list of Bishops of Quimper is "très difficile". External material to provide verification is lacking. The tale of Saint-Guénolé (Winwaloe) (ca. 460-532), the alleged first Abbot of Landevennec, is, as Robert Latouche has shown, devoid of historical merit, and the documents on which it depends complete forgeries.
The city of Quimper was the capital of the County of Cornouaille. The Diocese of Quimper was represented at church councils as early as the mid-fifth century. The earliest historical reference dates from 453.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 Quimper. One of the four prelates, Sarmatio, Chariato, Rumoridus, and Viventius, was Bishop of Quimper.
Diocese of Saint-Pol-de-Léon
Cathedral St.-Paul-Aurelian, Saint-Pol
There is evidence that Christianity was preached in Léon twenty years before the evangelization of Cornouaille, but ancient Breton chronology is very uncertain. The legend of St. Paul Aurelian, written in 884, shows that the Breton monks believed the See of Léon had been founded in the Merovingian epoch. The hermit Saint Ronan, a native of Ireland, often held to be one of the 350 bishops consecrated by Saint Patrick, was in the fifth century known as one of the apostles of Cornouailles and the neighbourhood around Léon. Paul Aurelian, a Gallic monk, founder of monasteries at Ouessant on the north-west coast of Brittany and on the Island of Batz, was believed to have founded in an abandoned fort a monastery which gave origin to the town of St. Pol de Léon, afterwards the seat of a diocese. He was the first titular of the see, a wonder-worker and prophet, and was held to have died in 575 at the age of 140 years, after having been assisted in his labours by three successive coadjutors. Though the monastery of Léon was probably founded by Paul Aurelian in the sixth century, the history of the diocese is more complicated. It is at least certain that there are traces in history of a Diocese of Léon as far back as the middle of the ninth century.
Cathedral of Saint-Corentin, Quimper
The cornerstone of Quimper Cathedral was laid in 1424, but the building was still unfinished at the beginning of the sixteenth century. When Alexander VI granted that church the same indulgences as could be gained at the Roman Jubilee, funds came in which allowed its completion. The Chapter of the Cathedral was composed of six dignities and twelve Canons. The dignities were: the Dean, the Archdeacon of Cornuaille, the Archdeacon of Poher, the Treasurer, the Cantor and the Theologian. The Abbot of Doulas was always first Canon ex officio, and held precedence in the Chapter after the Bishop.
There were two Collegiate Churches in the diocese, Saint-Trémeur de Carhaix and Notre-Dame de Rostrenen, each headed by a Cantor.
The abbots of seven abbeys in the diocese were subject to nomination by the King and confirmation by the Pope: the Abbey of St. Maurice (O.S.B.), the Abbey of Notre-Dame-de Daoulac (O.S.B.), the Abbey of Landeunnes (O.S.B.), the Abbey of Saint-Crois de Quimperlé (O.S.B.), the Abbey of Bonrepos (Premonstratensian), the Abbey of Notre Dame de Coeurmalaoüen (O.S.B.), and the Abbey of Langonnet (O.S.B.).
The Cathedral of St. Pol de Léon, which is now in the Diocese of Quimper, was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. The Church of Notre Dame de Creisker, in the same town, restored in the fourteenth century, has a belfry which the Bretons claim to be the handsomest in the world. Formerly Quimperlé had an important Benedictine abbey, Sainte Croix, founded in 1029 and where the Benedictines of St. Maur took up their residence in 1665. Along with all abbeys, convents, and monasteries, it was suppressed by the National Constituent Assembly and by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Monastic vows were abolished. Brest, one of the great fortified harbours of France, is now in the diocese.
Diocese of Quimper: 17th and 18th centuries
In 1608 Counter-Reformation preacher Michel Le Nobletz conducted his first mission on the island of Ouessant. "Apostle of Brittany" Father Julian Maunoir worked as a missionary to the Breton people for 43 years. Albert Le Grand wrote the "Lives of the Saints of Brittany" (1636) and published a Breton dictionary, and some devotional works in Breton. Today he is considered by some[weasel words] to be the founder of Breton philology. There was already a grammar school in Quimper in 1348, but never a university. The Jesuits were established in the Collège de Quimper in 1620 where they flourished until the Society of Jesus was expelled from France in 1763.
In 1772, the city of Quimper contained about 10,000 persons, and in the city there were five parishes. The entire diocese contained some 180 parishes.
During the French revolution the Diocese of Quimper was abolished and subsumed into a new diocese, coterminous with the new 'Departement de Finistère', which was made a suffragan of the 'Metropole du Nord-Ouest' with its seat at Rennes. 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 department. This placed them in schism with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. The Chapter of Quimper entered a protest on 26 October 1790 against the uncanonical election of a bishop by 'electors'. The Constituent Assembly chose, as successor of the deceased Bishop Conan de Saint-Luc, Louis Alexandre Expilly, the Rector of the church of St. Martin at Morlaix. He had been the delegate of Saint-Pol-de-Leon to the Estates General of 1789 and was one of the authors of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Expilly was presented to King Louis XVI who ratified his election. He therefore became the first of the Constitutional Bishops. The Chapter of Quimper on 17 November wrote to the Constitutional Bishop-elect proclaiming the nullity of his election.
Expilly was consecrated in Paris at the Oratory by Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun, on 24 February 1791. Expilly then assisted Jean-Baptiste Gobel, a legitimate bishop consecrated in 1772, who had apostasized and was then Constitutional Bishop of Paris, in the consecration of additional Constitutional bishops on 27 February and 6 March. He then proceeded to Quimper for his installation. He faced great difficulties both from the flight of many of his clergy in the face of the Terror, and from the seizure of large areas of the countryside by the Chouans, who were loyal to the monarchy. He had himself elected president of the departmental Directory, but his increasingly moderate stance brought him under suspicion from the Jacobins. He was denounced and arrested, and guillotined at Brest on 22 May 1794. His successor, Yves Audrin, was executed by the Chouans on 19/20 November 1800.
In accordance with the Concordat of 1801, Pope Pius VII restored the Diocese of Quimper in 1802. The lessons taught by the reduction in the number of bishoprics by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of 1790, and the rationalization of diocesan boundaries to coincide with civil administration districts called 'départmentes', did not go unnoticed. Only four of the nine Breton dioceses were restored. Quimper received all of the former diocese of St.-Pol-de-Léon, most of the former Diocese of Cornuaille, a canton and two parishes of the Diocese of Vannes, and parts of the former Diocese of Dol; Quimper, however, handed over some of its eastern parishes to Vannes and to Saint-Brieuc. Quimper returned to its status as a suffragan of Tours. When Rennes became an archbishopric in 1859, however, Quimper was assigned to that Metropolitanate, as it had been during the days of the Revolution.
^Corentinus: Morice et al., p. 112. Duchesne, p. 374, no. 3. B. Hauréau, in Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 871-872, conjectures that Corentinus may be the unknown bishop of 453.
^Felix was deposed in 848 along with four other bishops by Nominoe (died 851), the first duke of Brittany. He was reconciled to Duke Salomon (857-874) and restored to his bishopric before 866. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 873-874. Morice et al., p. 113. Gams, p. 605. Duchesne, p. 374, no. 4.
^Anaweten: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 874. Gams, p. 605. Duchesne, pp. 374-375, no. 5. Anaweten is thought by Hauréau, in Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 874, to be the same as Huarnuethenus.
^Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 875-876. Gams, p. 605.
^Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 876-877. Gams, p. 605.
^Radulfus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 877. Gams, p. 605.
^Bernardus: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 877-878. Gams, p. 605.
^Godfredus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 878. Gams, p. 605. It is claimed that Geoffroy attended the III Lateran Council in 1179; documents indicate, however, that it was Geoffroy of Saint-Brieuc who attended: J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio editio novissima, Tomus XXII (Venice 1778), p. 464.
^Theobaldus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 878. Gams, p. 605.
^Guillaume: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 878. Morice et al., p. 116. Gams, p. 605.
^Rainaud: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 879. Morice et al., p. 116. Gams, p. 605.
^Guillaume: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 878. Morice et al., pp. 116-117. Gams, p. 605.
^Plounevez: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 880. Morice et al., p. 117. Gams, p. 605.
^Yves: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 880. Morice et al., p. 117. Gams, p. 605.
^Evenus (Jean) was a Canon of Quimper, and was a minor candidate in the election by the Cathedral Chapter; the disputed election was referred to Rome. Pope Martin IV chose Evenus and granted his bulls on 14 May 1283. He was consecrated at Tours on the Sunday after the Feast of St. Clement (23 November). He died on 14 March 1290. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 880. Morice et al., p. 117. Gams, p. 605.
^Yves de Boisboissel had been Bishop of Tréguier (1327-1330). He was transferred to Quimper on 31 August 1330. He was transferred to St. Malo on 22 January 1333. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 883. Morice et al., p. 119. Gams, p. 605.
^Geoffroi Coetmoesan: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 884. Morice et al., p. 120. Gams, p. 605.
^Geoffroi le Marhec, doctor of law: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 884. Morice et al., p. 120. Gams, p. 605.
^Thibault de Malestroit was appointed by Clement VII: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 883-884. Morice et al., p. 120-121. Gams, p. 605. Eubel, I, p. 212.
^Alain le Mault, held a Licenciate in law, was a Protonotary Apostolic, and was an envoy of the Duke of Brittany. He had been a Canon of Quimper, and then Bishop of St.-Pol-de-Léon (1482-1484), from which he was transferred to Quimper on 8 March 1484. He died on 2 November 1493. Morice et al., p. 124. Eubel, II, pp. 137, 175.
^Raoul was a Canon of Poitiers and Aumonier of King Charles VIII. He was elected bishop on 22 November 1593. Morice et al., p. 124. Eubel, II, p. 137.
^Rohan was the son of Jean II, Marquis de Rohan, and Marie de Bretagne. He was elected on 25 June 1501. In his senility he was granted a Coadjutor, Jean de la Mote (1533-1539), and then Guillaume Éder. Morice et al., p. 124-125. Eubel, III, p. 178 with note 4.
^Eder: Morice et al., p. 125. Eubel, III, p. 178 with note 5.
^The Cardinal de Bologne: He was named Bishop of Quimper by Pope Paul III on 9 (or 19) July 1546. In 1543 he had been named Bishop of Tusculum, and therefore he was holding Quimper in plurality as a benefice. He died in Rome on 21 February 1550. Eubel, III, p. 22, no. 33; p. 178 with note 6.
^The diocese was a gift of Pope Julius III. Caetani never visited Quimper. He took possession by proxy and ruled through a Vicar-General, one of the Canons of the Cathedral, Jean du Tivaralès. Cardinal di Sermoneta died in Rome on 1 May 1585. Eubel, III, p. 25 no. 20; p. 179 with note 7.
^La Tour was consecrated at Saint-Brieuc on 20 December 1583 by Bishop Nicolas Langelier. He was transferred to the diocese of Tréguier on 14 October 1583. Morice et al., p. 126. Eubel, III, p. 179 with note 10; p. 317.
^Liescoët: Morice et al., p. 127. Eubel, III, p. 179 with note 11.
^Le Prètre was a notable supporter of religious orders. During his time on the episcopal throne, he welcomed the Capuchins, the Ursulines, the Calvariennes, and the Daughters of Saint Elizabeth. He encouraged the Jesuits to found a college in Quimper. Morice et al., p. 127. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 165, with note 2.
^A native of Loperchet (diocese of Quimper), Louet was promoted by the influence of Cardinal Richelieu on 23 December 1640, though he resisted for some time; he was approved on 1 December 1642 by Pope Urban VIII. He was consecrated in Paris in the Church of the Religious of Calvary on 1 February 1642 by the titular Bishop of Dardanus Étienne de Puget. He took possession of his See on 22 February 1643. He died on 11 (or 18) February 1668. Morice et al., pp. 128-130. Gauchat, IV, p. 165, with note 3.
^Visdelieu was named titular Bishop of Madaura (Africa). He was transferred to the Diocese of Saint-Pol de Léon on 27 July 1665. He died on 18 May 1668. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 986. Morice et al., pp. 130-131. Gauchat, IV, p. 165, with note 4; 220.
^Coëtlogon was named titular Bishop of Madaura (Africa) and Coadjutor Bishop on 1 March 1666. Morice et al., pp. 131-132. Gauchat, IV, p. 165, with note 5.
^De Ploeuc was born in the Château de Landudec in the diocese of Quimper in 1661. He was a Licenciate in Canon Law, and had been a Vicar-General of Tréguier. He was nominated by King Louis XIV on 24 December 1706, on the recommendation of Père Lachaise, and preconized (approved) by Pope Clement XI on 11 April 1707. He was consecrated on 19 June 1708 by Archbishop Mathieu Ysoré d'Hervault of Tours. He died on 6 January 1739 at the age of 77. Morice et al., pp. 132-133. Ritzler, Hierarchia catholica V, p. 173, with note 3.
^Farcy was born in the Château de Cuillé (diocese of Angers), and was a Doctor of theology of the University of Paris. He had been a Vicar-General of Tréguier for 5 years. He was nominated Bishop of Quimper by King Louis XV on 17 May 1739, and preconized (approved) by Pope Clement XII on 30 September 1739. He was consecrated on 8 November 1739 by Bishop François-Hyacinthe de La Fruglaye de Kervers of Tréguier. Morice et al., pp. 133-135. Ritzler, VI, p. 184 with note 2.
^Born in the Château de Montastruc in the diocese of Angers, Grossolles had been Archdeacon, Canon and Prebendary of Chartres, and a Vicar-General in the diocese of Chartres for ten years before being nominated bishop of Quimper by King Louis XV on 7 July 1772. Pope Clement XIV confirmed his appointment on 14 December 1772, and he was consecrated on 17 January 1773 by Bishop Jean-Marc de Royére of Tréguier. He was transferred to Périgueux on 14 June 1773, and emigrated to London in 1791. He refused to resign, though ordered to do so by Pope Pius VII, and ended his life in London in May 1815 at the age of 80. Morice et al., p. 135. Ritzler, VI, p. 184 with note 3.
^A native of Rennes, Saint-Luc was Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law) from Rennes. He was nominated Bishop of Rennes by King Louis XV on 12 May 1773, and preconized (approved) by Pope Clement XIV on 12 July 1773. He was consecrated on 29 August 1773 by Bishop Jean-Marc de Royére of Tréguier. He died on 30 September 1790, having denounced the oath to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, though before became an issue for him. Morice et al., pp. 135-140. Jean, p. 434. Ritzler, VI, p. 184 with note 4.
^Audrein had been a teacher at the college of Quimper. He went to Paris, where he became Principal of the Collège des Grassins. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly and of the Convention. He voted for the death of Louis XVI. He was elected Bishop of Finistère in the Spring of 1798, arrived in Quimper on 25 May, and was consecrated on 22 July by his Metropolitan, Claude Le Coz of Rennes. In November 1800 he was on a trip to administer confirmation when he was captured by the Chouans, who shot him as a regicide on the night of 19/20 November 1800. Pisani, pp. 134-135. P. Hémon, Y.-M. Audrein (Paris 1903).
^André had been a Canon of Troyes. Nominated by Napoleon on 21 April 1802 according to the terms of the Concordat of 1801, and granted approval on 29 April by Cardinal Giovanni-Battista Caprara, in accordance with instructions given by Pius VII, André was consecrated in Paris at St.-Roch on 9 May 1802 by Archbishop Etienne-Hubert de Cambacérès of Rouen. He resigned the diocese of Quimper at the end of 1804, having become embroiled in troubles with both the civil administration and the Constitutional clergy in the diocese. Canon Paul Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., p. 492.
^Dombideau had been Grand-Vicar of the Archbishop of Aix. He was nominated by decree of Napoleon on 30 January 1805, approved on 22 March, and consecrated at Notre-Dame in Paris on 21 April by Jean-Baptiste Cardinal de Belloy, Archbishop of Paris. He died of a stroke on 28/29 June 1823. Canon Paul Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 492-493.
^Graveran was born at Crozon in 1793. He was named a teacher at the Major Seminary, and then became a cure of the church of Saint-Louis de Brest. He was appointed Bishop of Quimper on 4 June 1840 by King Louis Philippe, confirmed by Pope Gregory XVI on 13 July, and consecrated on 23 August 1840 by Archbishop Denis-Auguste Affre of Paris. After the Revolution of 1848, he was elected a delegate to the Constituent Assembly. He completed the construction of the towers of the cathedral. He died on 1 February 1855. François Louis Michel Maupied (1856). Vie de Mgr J.-M. Graveran, évêque de Quimper et Léon dédiée a Mgr René-Nicolas Sergent évêque de Quimper et Léon F. L. M. Mupied (in French). Vannes: Gustave de Lamarzelle. Canon Paul Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 493-494.
^Born at Corbigne (Nièvre) in 1802, Sergent was a teacher of rhetoric in the Minor Seminary of Corbigny; he became Superior in 1839, and was granted the title of Vicar-General. In 1847 he became cure of the church at Brinon, and in 1850 became Rector of the Academy of Nièvre. In 1852 he was appointed Vicar-General and Archdeacon. On 6 February 1855 he was appointed Bishop of Quimper by Emperor Napoleon III, which was approved by Pope Pius IX on 23 March. He was consecrated a bishop in Paris by Cardinal François-Nicholas-Madeleine Morlot on 20 May. He died suddenly in the train station at Moulins on the night of 25/26 July 1871. See: Canon Paul Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 494-495.
^Canon Paul Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 495-496.
^Canon Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., p. 496.
^Valleau was born at La Couarde (Ile-de-Ré) in 1835. He studied at the Petit Seminaire of Pons, and the Grand Seminaire of La Rochelle. He was a teacher at the Institut diocesan at Pons, and then vicar of Saint-Eutrope in Saintes, followed by several other assignments in various parishes. He was named Archpriest of the Cathedral of Saintes in 1887, which he held for five years before being nominated Bishop of Quimper. He was appointed by the French government on 26 November 1892, and confirmed by Pope Leo XIII on 19 January 1893. Valleau was consecrated bishop on 5 March 1893 by Archbishop Pierre-Marie-Etienne-Gustave Ardin of Sens. He made his formal entry into Quimper on 14 March 1893. He died on 24 December 1898. See: Canon Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., pp. 496-497. Recueil de la Commission des arts et monuments historiques de la Charente-inférieure (in French). 15. Saintes. 1901. pp. 30-31.
^Dubillard was born in Soye (Franche-Comté) in 1845. He studied in Vesoul and Besançon, and obtained a doctorate in theology in Rome. From 1887 he lectured in dogmatic theology in the Seminary in Besancon, and later became Rector (1881-1890). On 14 December 1899 he was named Bishop of Quimper, and was consecrated on 24 February 1900 by Archbishop Fulbert Petit. On 16 December 1907 he was transferred to the diocese of Cambrai. He was named a cardinal by Pope Pius X on 27 November 1911. See Canon Peyron, in: Société bibliographique (France) (1907), L'épiscopat français..., p. 497. Harris M. Lentz (2009). Popes and Cardinals of the 20th Century: A Biographical Dictionary. London: McFarland. p. 63. ISBN978-1-4766-2155-5.Martin Bräuer (2014). Handbuch der Kardinäle: 1846-2012 (in German). De Gruyter. pp. 217-218. ISBN978-3-11-026947-5.