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Ancient Diocese of Orange

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Ancient Diocese of Orange

The ancient residential diocese of Orange in the Comtat Venaissin in Provence, a fief belonging to the Papacy, was suppressed by the French government during the French Revolution. It was revived in 2009 as a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.



The city now called Orange in southern France was called Arausio in Roman times. It had been founded as a retirement colony for veterans of the Roman Army who had served under Augustus during his campaigns against Marc Antony. It became the seat of a bishop very probably towards the end of the 3rd century: at the Synod of Arles in 314, its bishop was represented by a priest named Faustinus. The first bishop of Arausio whose name is given in extant documents was Constantius, who took part in the Council of Aquileia, 381. From the early 5th century, the see was a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Arles.

Arausio hosted two important synods, in 441 and 529. The Second Council of Orange was of importance for its condemnation of what later came to be called Semipelagianism.

In 1516 Francis I of France ordered the union of the principality of Orange and the Dauphiné, the accomplishment of which was ordered by the Parliament of Grenoble in March 1517. This union made the Bishop of Orange subject as far as his temporal rights were concerned to the king of France. On 8 August 1520, King Francis granted Bishop Guillaume Pélissier an extra six months to make his submission to the Chambre des comptes of the Dauphiné.

In accordance with the Concordat of 1801, Pope Pius VII attached the territory of the diocese to the archdiocese of Avignon by the papal bull Qui Christi Domini of 29 November 1801. In 1817, after the fall of the Emperor Bonaparte and the return of the Bourbon monarchy, it was planned to restore the residential status of the bishopric in accordance with a new concordat, but the French parliament refused to ratify the concordat.

The ancient see of Arausio, therefore, is no longer a residential bishopric. In January 2009 Pope Benedict XVI revived the title for use as a titular see, for auxiliary bishops of other dioceses and for curial bureaucrats to whom episcopal status is granted. The title currently (since 27 January 2012) belongs to Archbishop Julio Murat, Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and to Malawi.

To 1000

A list of names of bishops before 347 was invented by Polycarpe de la Rivière but is unsupported by any evidence.


Ancient Diocese of Orange Wikipedia

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