Girish Mahajan

Ancient Diocese of Saint Jean de Maurienne

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Ancient Diocese of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

The French Catholic diocese of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne has since 1966 been formally united with the archdiocese of Chambéry. While it has not been suppressed, and is supposed to be on a par with Chambéry and the diocese of Tarentaise, it no longer has a separate bishop or existence.


Saint Gregory of Tours's "De Gloria Martyrum" relates how the church of Maurienne, belonging then to the Diocese of Turin, became a place of pilgrimage, after the holy woman Thigris or Thecla, a native of Valloires, had brought to it from the East a finger of St. John the Baptist. Saint Guntram, King of Burgundy, took from the Lombards in 574 the valleys of Maurienne and Suse (Susa Valley, or Val de Suse), and in 576 founded near the shrine a bishopric, detached from Turin, as suffragan of Vienne. Its first bishop was Felmasius. In 599 Gregory the Great made futile attempts to make Queen Brunehaut listen to the protests of the Bishop of Turin against this foundation.

Pope Leo III made Darantasia a metropolis with three suffragans, Aosta, Sion (=Sitten), and Maurienne, but maintained the primacy of Vienne. A letter written by John VIII in 878 formally designated the Bishop of Maurienne as suffragan of Tarentaise, but for four centuries this primacy was the cause of conflicts between the archbishops of Tarentaise and the metropolitans of Vienna who continued to claim Maurienne as a suffragan see; subsequently under Callistus II (1120) Maurienne was again attached to the metropolis of Vienne.

Local tradition claims as early bishops of Maurienne: Saint Emilianus, martyred by the Saracens (736 or 738); St. Odilard, slain by the Saracens (916) together with St. Benedict, Archbishop of Embrun.

After the Saracens had been driven out, the temporal sovereignty of the Bishop of Maurienne appears to have been very extensive, but there is no proof that such sovereignty had been recognized since Gontran's time. At the death of Rudolph III, Bishop Thibaut was powerful enough to join a league against Conrad II of Franconia. The emperor suppressed the See of Maurienne, and gave over its title and possessions to the Bishop of Turin (1038); but this imperial decree was never executed.

Among the later bishops of Maurienne were: St. Ayroldus (1132–46), once a monk of the Charterhouse of Portes; Louis de La Palud (1441–50), who as Bishop of Lausanne had taken an active part at the Council of Basle in favour of the antipope Felix V, who named him Bishop of Maurienne in 1441 and afterwards cardinal, confirmed in both appointments by Nicholas V in 1449; John of Segovia (1451–72), who at the Council of Basle as representative of the King of Aragon had also worked for pope Felix V, was appointed by him cardinal in 1441, and whom pope Nicholas V gave ten years later the see of Maurienne; he is the author of "Gesta Concilii Basileensis"; William d'Estouteville (1473–80), who was made cardinal in 1439 and as a pluralist held among other titles those of Maurienne and Rouen; Louis de Gorrevod (1499–1550) was made cardinal in 1530; Hippolyte d'Este (1560), made cardinal in 1538, acted as legate of Pius IV to the Council of Poissy, and built the famous Villa d'Este at Tivoli near Rome; Charles Joseph Fillipa de Martiniana (1757–79), made cardinal in 1778, was the first to whom Bonaparte, after the battle of Marengo, confided his intention of concluding a concordat with Rome; Alexis Billiet (1825–40), made cardinal in 1861. Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, took solemn possession of a canonry in the cathedral of Maurienne in 1564.

Among the saints specially honoured in, or connected with, the diocese are: Saint Aper (Saint Avre), a priest who founded a refuge for pilgrims and the poor in the Village of St. Avre (seventh century); Blessed Thomas, b. at Maurienne, d. in 720, famous for rebuilding the Abbey of Farfa, of which the third abbot, Lucerius, was also a native of Maurienne; St. Marinus, monk of Chandor, martyred by the Saracens (eighth century); St. Landry, pastor of Lanslevillard (eleventh century), drowned in the Arc during one of his apostolic journeys; St. Bénézet, or Benoit de Pont (1165–84), b. at Hermillon in the diocese, and founder of the guild of Fratres Pontifices of Avignon; Blessed Cabert or Gabert, disciple of St. Dominic, who preached the Gospel for twenty years in the vicinity of AiguebelIe (thirteenth century).

The chief shrines of the diocese were: Notre Dame de Charmaise, near Modane, Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, near St-Jean-de-Maurienne, which dates from the sixteenth century, and Notre Dame de Beaurevers at Montaimon, dating from the seventeenth century.

The Sisters of St. Joseph, a nursing and teaching order, with mother-house at St-Jean-de-Maurienne, are a branch of the Congregation of St. Joseph at Puy. At the end of the nineteenth century, they were in charge of 8 day nurseries and 2 hospitals. In Algeria, the East Indies, and the Argentine houses were founded, controlled by the motherhouse at Maurienne.

  • 579: Saint Felmase
  • 581–602: Saint Æconius (Hiconius)
  • 650: Leporius
  • 725: Walchinus
  • c.736 to 738: Saint Emilianus
  • 773: Vitgarius
  • 837: Mainard
  • 855: Joseph
  • 858: Abbo
  • 876: Adalbert
  • 899: Wilhelm I.
  • c.915 Benedict
  • 916–926: Saint Odilard or Edolard
  • 994–1025: Evrard
  • c.1032–1060: Thibaud
  • 1060–1073: Brochard
  • 1075–1081: Artaud
  • 1081–1116: Conon
  • 1116–1124: Amédée de Faucigny
  • 1124–1132: Conon II.
  • 1132–1134: Saint Airald, Ayrald I. or Ayrold
  • 1134–1146: Ayrald II.
  • 1146–1158: Bernard I.
  • 1158: Ayrald III.
  • 1162–1176: Guillaume II.
  • 1177: Peter
  • 1177–1198: Lambert
  • 1198–1200: Allevard
  • 1200–1211: Bernard II.
  • 1215 Amadeus of Genf
  • 1215–1221 Ean
  • 1221–1236 Aimar de Bernin
  • 1236–1256: Amadeus of Savoyen († 1268), son of Thomas I of Savoy
  • 1256–1261: Pierre de Morestel
  • 1261–1269: Anselm I. de Clermont († 1269)
  • 1269–1273: Pierre de Guelis
  • 1273–1301: Aymon I. de Miolans
  • 1302: Ayrald IV.
  • 1302–1308: Amblard d’Entremont (de Beaumont)
  • 1308–1334: Aymon II. de Miolans d’Hurtières
  • 1335–1349: Anselme II. de Clermont († 1349)
  • 1349–1376: Amadeus of Savoyen-Achaia (also Bishop of Maurienne and Lausanne)
  • 1376–1380: Jean Malabaila
  • 1380–1385: Henry de Severy
  • 1385–1410: Savin de Floran
  • 1410–1422: Amédée de Montmayeur
  • 1422–1432: Aimon Gerbais
  • 1433–1441: Oger Moriset
  • 1441–1451: Cardinal Louis de La Pallud de Varembon
  • 1451–1452: Cardinal Juan de Segovia
  • 1452–1483: Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville (also Bishop of Angers, Lodève, Ostia, Porto and Archbishop of Rouen)
  • 1483–1499: Etienne de Morel (also Abbot of Ambronay (Bresse))
  • 1499–1532: Cardinal Louis II. de Gorrevod de Challand
  • 1532–1544: Louis III. de Gorrevord
  • 1544–1559: Cardinal Jérôme Recanati Capodiferro or Testaferrata (also Bishop of Nizza)
  • 1560–1563: Brandolesius de Trottis
  • 1563–1567: Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este
  • 1567–1591: Pierre de Lambert
  • 1591–1618: Philibert Milliet de Faverges
  • 1618–1636: Charles Bobba
  • 1640–1656: Paul Milliet de Challes
  • 1656–1686: Hercule Berzzeti
  • 1686–1736/41: François-Hyacinthe Valpergue de Masin
  • 1741–1756: Ignace-Dominique Grisella de Rosignan
  • 1756–1778: Cardinal Charles-Joseph Filippa
  • 1780–1793: Charles-Joseph Compans de Brichanteau
  • 1802–1805: René des Monstiers de Mérinville (also Bishop of Chambéry and Genf)
  • 1805–1823: Irénée-Yves De Solle (also Bishop of Chambéry and Genf)
  • 1825–1840: Cardinal Alexis Billiet (also Archbishop of Chambéry)
  • 1840–1876: François-Marie Vibet
  • 1876–1906: Michel Rosset
  • 1906–1924: Adrien Alexis Fodéré
  • 1924–1946: Auguste Grumel
  • 1946–1954: Frédéric Duc
  • 1954–1956: Louis Ferrand (also coadjutor archbishop of Tours)
  • 1956–1960: Joël-André-Jean-Marie Bellec (also Bishop of Perpignan-Elne)
  • 1961–1966: André Georges Bontemps (also Archbishop of Chambéry)
  • References

    Ancient Diocese of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne Wikipedia

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