Puneet Varma

Ancient Diocese of Embrun

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Ancient Diocese of Embrun

The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Embrun was located in southwestern France, in the mountains of the Maritime Alps, on a route that led from Gap by way of Briançon to Turin. It had as suffragans the diocese of Digne, diocese of Antibes and Grasse, diocese of Vence, diocese of Glandèves, diocese of Senez and diocese of Nice. Its see was the Cathedral of Nôtre Dame in Embrun.


The former French Catholic archdiocese of Embrun was suppressed after the French Revolution. It was replaced, under the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) by a diocese which had the same boundaries of the civil departement in which it was located. The diocese was called 'Haute-Alpes', with its center at Gap.

When the diocese of Gap was re-established in 1822 it comprised, besides the ancient Diocese of Gap, a large part of the ancient archdiocese of Embrun. The name of the metropolitan see of Embrun, however, had been absorbed in the title of the Archbishop of Aix, until 2007. In 2008, the title of Embrun was reattached to the diocese of Gap by decree of Pope Benedict XVI.


Tradition ascribes the evangelization of Embrun to Saints Nazarius and Celsus, martyrs under emperor Nero. Gregory of Tours states that they were martyred at Embrun. Their bodies, however, were discovered in a cemetery in Milan by Saint Ambrose. They were also drowned at Trier, on orders of the Emperor Nero. Their entire story is without historical foundation, and a mass of contradictions and improbabilities. According to another tradition, the first Bishop of Embrun, Saint Marcellus, was such a successful preacher that, by the end of his episcopacy, there was not a single pagan left in the diocese.

In 1056 Pope Victor confirmed the Archbishop of Embrun as Metropolitan of the Sees of Digne, Chorges, Solliès, Senez, Glandèves, Cimiez-Nice, Vence, and Antibes (Grasse). Bishop Winimann was also granted the pallium In 1276 the Archbishops of Embrun were made Princes of the Holy Roman Empire.

Notable Bishops of Embrun

  • St. Guillaume (1120–34), founder of the Abbey of Boscodon;
  • Henry of Segusio (1250–71), known as (H)Ostiensis, i.e. Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, an orator and canonist of renown;
  • Bertrand de Déaulx (1323–38), who as the legate of Clement VI at Rome did much to bring about the downfall of Rienzi;
  • Giulio de' Medici (1510–11), later pope under the name of Clement VII;
  • Cardinal François de Tournon (1517–26), employed on diplomatic missions by king Francis I of France, and founder of the College de Tournon;
  • Cardinal de Tencin (1724–40), who in September, 1727, caused the condemnation by the Council of Embrun of the *Jansenist Soanen, Bishop of his suffragan see of Senez.
  • St. Vincent Ferrer preached several missions against the Vaudois in the Diocese of Embrun.
  • References

    Ancient Diocese of Embrun Wikipedia

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