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Bishop of Auxerre


Bishop of Auxerre

The bishopric of Auxerre is a former French Roman Catholic diocese. Its historical episcopal see was in the city of Auxerre in Burgundy, eastern France. Currently the non-metropolitan Archbishop of Sens, ordinary of the diocese of Sens and Auxerre, resides in Auxerre.

Ecclesiastical history

The Gestes des évêques d'Auxerre, written about 875 by the canons Rainogala and Alagus, and continued later down to 1278, gives a list of bishops which, save for one detail, Louis Duchesne regards as accurate; but the chronological data of the Gestes ('deeds') seem to him to be very arbitrary for the period prior to the 7th century. No other church of France glories in a similar list of bishops honoured as saints; already in the Middle Ages this multiplicity of saints was remarkable.

To 1000

St. Peregrinus (Pélérin 'pilgrim') was the founder of the see; according to the legend, he was sent by pope Sixtus II and was martyred under Emperor Diocletian in 303 or 304.

After him are mentioned without the possibility of certainly fixing their dates:

From 1000

  • Humbaud (1095-1114), drowned on the way to Jerusalem
  • St. Hugues de Montaigu (1116-1136), a friend of St. Bernard
  • Hugues de Mâcon (1137–51), Abbot of Pontigny, often charged by Pope Eugenius III with adjusting differences and re-establishing order in monasteries
  • Alanus (1152–67), author of a life of St. Bernard
  • Guillaume de Toucy (1167–81), the first French bishop who went to Rome to acknowledge the authority of Pope Alexander III.

Among later bishops may be mentioned:

  • Hugues de Noyers (1183-1206), known as the "hammer of heretics" for the vigour with which he sought out in his diocese the sects of the Albigenses and the "Caputiés" (mainly in Sens)
  • Guillaume de Seignelay (1207–20), who took part in the war against the Albigenses and in 1230 became the bishop of Paris
  • Bernard de Sully (1234–44)
  • Guy de Mello (1247–70), who was Apostolic delegate in the crusade of Charles of Anjou against Manfred
  • Pierre de Mornay (1296-1306), who negotiated between Pope Boniface VIII and king Philip IV and in 1304 became chancellor of France
  • Pierre de Cros (1349–51), cardinal in 1350
  • Philippe de Lenoncourt (1560–62), cardinal in 1586
  • Philibert Babou de la Bourdaisière (1562–70), cardinal in 1561
  • Jacques Amyot the scholar (1571–93), translator of the works of Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus, tutor of Charles IX, grand almoner of kings Charles IX and Henry III
  • Charles de Caylus (1704–54), who made his diocese a centre of Jansenism and whose works in four volumes were condemned by Rome in 1754.

On November 29, 1801 the bishopric was suppressed, on October 7, 1817 restored, in 1821 again suppressed. On June 3, 1823 it was united (having no separate titular bishop) to the diocese (soon after archbishopric again) of Sens, which lost its Metropolitan status in 2006 to become part of the Ecclesiastical Province of the archbishopric of Dijon.

The Cathedral of Auxerre, completed in 1178, contains numerous sculptures in the Byzantine style.

Councils of Auxerre

In 585 (or 578) a Council of Auxerre held under St. Annacharius formulated forty-five canons, closely related in context to canons of the contemporary Council of Lyon and Council of Mâcon. They are important as illustrating life and manners among the newly-converted Teutonic tribes and the Gallo-Romans of the time. Many of the decrees are directed against remnants of heathen barbarism and superstitious customs; others bear witness to the persistence in the early Middle Ages in France of certain ancient Christian customs.

The canons of the council of 695, presumably the last Frankish council before the 742/3 Concilium Germanicum,[1] are concerned chiefly with the Divine Office and ecclesiastical ceremonies.


  • Councils of Auxerre
  • Auxerre

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