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The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tours (Latin: Archidioecesis Turonensis; French: Archidiocèse de Tours) is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The archdiocese has roots that go back to the 3rd century, while the formal erection of the diocese dates from the 5th century.
The ecclesiastical province of Tours corresponds with the late Roman province of Tertia Lugdunensis. During Breton independence the see of Dol briefly exercised metropolitical functions (mainly tenth century). In 1859 the Breton dioceses except that of Nantes were constituted into a province of Rennes. Tours kept its historic suffragans of Le Mans, Angers together with Nantes and a newly constituted Diocese of Laval. In 2002 Tours lost all connection with its historic province, all its previous suffragans depending henceforth on an expanded province of Rennes (corresponding to the Brittany and Pays de la Loire administrative regions). Tours since 2002 has become the ecclesiastical metropolis of the Centre administrative region.
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According to Louis Duchesne, the See of Tours was probably founded in the time of Constantine; Gregory of Tours says by Gatianus. As the city, (called "Caesarodunum"), was important as a crossing point of the Loire, it became a stop on the route to Santiago de Compostela. The fourth bishop was Brice of Tours. Stories about his tenure suggest tensions between the regular clergy and the secular priests in Tours at that time. Saint Perpetuus was bishop from 460 to 490. During his administration Christianity was further developed and consolidated in the province of Touraine. He was followed by Volusianus of Tours, a relative of Ruricius of Limoges. The first cathedral, dedicated to Saint Maurice, was built by Bishop Lidoire, sometime in the fourth century; it burned down in 561, but was restored by Gregory of Tours.
Bishop Chrotbert (Robert) is mentioned in the earliest grant of privileges to the Monastery of St. Martin in Tours, made by Pope Adeodatus (672-676). The document survives only in two copies which differ significantly between them; both are suspect.
In May 858, which was the third year of his pontificate, Archbishop Herardus held a diocesan synod, in which a codification was issued of the capitula ('regulations') of the diocese. The document contained 140 chapters.
On 21 January 1216, Pope Innocent III confirmed an agreement entered into between the Archbishop of Tours and the Chapter of the cathedral on the election of a Dean and Provosts.
After the death of Archbishop Jean de la Faye in April 1228, there appears to have been considerable difficulty in finding a new archbishop. Jean Maan, Dean of Mans, was brought to Tours, but he refused the chair, or was unable to muster sufficient votes. Then the chair was offered to Master Pierre de Collomedio of Champagne, a Canon of Thérouanne and Papal Legate, but, though the election was canonically carried out, he refused the offer.
The leaders of the French Revolution, as part of their program, planned to bring the religions in France under their control. The Roman Church was rich, and therefore powerful. The Revolution needed to redirect that power and acquire that wealth to finance their own projects. One device was to transfer old loyalties by breaking up the traditional units of political, social and religious organization. The property of the religious organizations was to be confiscated for the benefit of the people of France, and all clergy would become state employees, with their salaries fixed and paid by the government. The new political unit was to be the "département", of which eighty-four were planned. It was determined by the Constituent Assembly that the Church was overloaded with bishops; therefore the number of dioceses needed to be reduced, from the 135 of the Ancien Régime, to 82 or 83, and that to the extent possible they were to have the same borders as the new political departments. The Diocese of Tours was therefore abolished and subsumed into a new diocese, coterminous with the new 'Departement d'Indre-et-Loire', which was to be a suffragan of the 'Metropole du Centre' (composed of the dioceses of Allier, Cher, Creuse, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loire-et-Cher, Nièvre and Vienne, with its center at Bourges) in the "Constitutional Church". 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 département, who did not even need to be Catholics. This placed them in schism with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. Archbishop de Conzié of Tours refused to take the oath, and his bishopric was therefore declared to be vacant.
On 13 March 1791 the electors of Indre-et-Loire met in Tours in the cathedral. They were harangued by members of the Société des Amis de la Constitution, who pressed for the election of their president, a former Oratorian by the name of Ysabeau, who, however, could not muster a majority. Instead on the next day the electors chose Pierre Suzor, the curate of Ecueillé. He proceeded to Paris, where he was consecrated a bishop on 10 April by Constitutional Bishops Massieu, Delcher, and Sibille. His consecration was valid, but uncanonical and schismatic, and brought him excommunication. As bishop, he was at first conservative and somewhat rigorous, refusing to sanction the marriage of clergy, but later he succumbed to pressure. At the end of 1793, when Religion was abolished and replaced by Reason and the churches closed, most of the 360 clergy of Indre-et-Loire abdicated or apostasized. Religion was restored in 1795, but Suzor did not regain possession of the cathedral until 13 May 1797. Suzor suffered a stroke in 1797; the bishops of the Metropolitanate were allowed to assemble at Bourges in 1800 to find him a successor. On 1 February 1801 Hyacinthe Tardiveau accepted the position, and Suzor died on 13 April 1801, having approved of his successor. Tardiveau was never bishop, since he made his acceptance conditional upon receiving the traditional bulls from the pope, which never happened. In May 1801 First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte required the resignation of all Constitutional bishops; he was in the process of completing a concordat with the Papacy, and the Constitutional Church was an obstacle.
After the Concordat went into effect, Pius VII was able to issue the appropriate bulls to restore many of the dioceses and to regulate their boundaries, most of which corresponded closely to the new 'départements'. The Diocese of Tours, which was coterminous with the Department of Indre-et-Loire, had as suffragans: Le Mans, Angers, Rennes, Nantes, Quimper, Vannes, Saint-Pol, Treguier, Saint-Brieux Saint-Mâlo and Dol.
The main pilgrimage sites in the diocese besides the grottos of Marmoutier, are: Notre-Dame-la-Riche, a sanctuary erected on the site of a church dating from the third century, and where the founder St. Gatianus is venerated; Notre-Dame-de-Loches; St. Christopher and St. Giles at St-Christophe, a pilgrimage dating from the ninth century; the pilgrimage to the Oratory of the Holy Face in Tours, managed by Priests of the Holy Face canonically erected on 8 December 1876.
^Catianus: Gregory of Tours reports that he served for fifty years. Duchesne (1910), p. 302 no. 1.
^Verus was not present at the Council of Agde in 506, but was represented by a deacon named Leo. Duchesne, p. 305 no. 10. C. Munier, Concilia Galliae, A. 314 - A. 506 (Turnholt: Brepols 1963), p. 214: Leo diaconus missus a domino meo Vero episcopo Toronice.
^Licinius was present at the Council of Orléans in 511. Duchesne, p. 305 no. 11. C. De Clercq, Concilia Galliae, A. 511 - A. 695 (Turnhout: Brepols 1963), pp. 13-15.
^Gregory of Tours, Historia Francorum Book X, 31, says that they came from Burgundy at the bidding of Queen Clotilde, having been driven out of their dioceses, and that they ruled conjointly at Tours for two years. At Historia Francorum Book III, 17, however, Gregory says that Theodorus and Proculus succeeded Bishop Leo (526). C. Chevalier (1871), pp. 261-264. Duchesne, p. 305 no. 12.
^Leo was bishop for six or seven months. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 18. Duchesne, p. 306 no. 16.
^Francilio was a Senator of Tours, and had a wife named Clara. He was bishop for two months and six days (or two years and six months), and was poisoned on Christmas night. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 19. Duchesne, p. 306 no. 17.
^Injuriosus attended the Council of Orange in 533, and the Council of Orange in 541. Duchesne, p. 306 no. 18. De Clercq, pp. 102, 142.
^Baudinus had been (in the words of Gregory of Tours) domesticus and referendarius of King Chlothar I. Duchesne, p. 306 no. 19.
^A letter of Pope Gregory I, dated July 596, requests Pelagius and Bishop Serenus of Marseille to assist Augustine in his mission to Britain. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 26. P. Jaffé-S. Loewenfeld, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I (Leipzig 1885), p. 174 no. 1435. Duchesne, p. 308 no. 23.
^Leupacharius: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 26. Duchesne, p. 308 no. 24.
^Agiricus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 26. Duchesne, p. 308 no. 25.
^Givaldus, Guvalachus: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 27. Duchesne, p. 308 no. 26.
^Valatus is the same as Guvalacus or Gwalachus. There is no name between Gwalachus and Sigilaicus in the episcopal lists of Tours.
^Sigilaicus was bishop for two years and nine months. Duchesne, p. 292.
^Leobaldus was bishop for six years. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 27.
^Medigisilus participated in the Council of Clichy on 27 September 627, and signed charters in 632 and 638. He was bishop for eleven years. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 27-28. Duchesne, p. 292, 308 no. 29. De Clercq, p. 296.
^Latinus was present at the Council of Chalons on 25 October 650. Abbot Betto signed on his behalf. Duchesne, p. 308 no. 30. De Clercq, p. 309.
^Rigobertus signed a diploma of Clovis II on 22 June 654. He sat for two years. Duchesne, p. 308, no. 32.
^Amalric attended the Second Council of Soissons in April 853. He was also present at the Concilium apud Bonoilum (Bonneuil) on 24 August 855. J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XIV (Venice 1769), p. 989; Tomus XV (Venice 1770), p. 24. Duchesne, p. 311 no. 50.
^Actardus had been transferred from the diocese of Nantes (attested 853-871). Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 42-43. Gams, p. 581 column 2. Duchesne, 312 no. 52.
^Engebaldus (Engebault) was a son of Geoffrey II of Vendôme. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 87-89. Gams, p. 640 column 2, gives the dates 1147-1156.
^Joscius is also called Jodocus, Joscionus, Joscelinus, and Jotho (Gotho). Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 89-92.
^Geoffrey de la Lande had been Archdeacon of Paris. On 18 May 1207 Pope Innocent III ordered Archbishop Geoffroy to compel King Philip II of France to return the goods of the deceased Bishop Hugo of Auxerre, which he had seized as 'regalia'. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 99-100. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Jean de la Faye: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 100-104. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Vincent de Pirmil: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 111-112. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Jean de Montsoreau: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 112-113. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Olivier de Craon: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 113-114. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Dain was elected on 20 December 1285, and set off to give his oath to the King; he sent two procurators to seek papal approval for his election. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 114-115. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Philippe was elected by compromise on 3 January 1291 and died without having been consecrated on 15 February. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 100-104. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Reginaldus had been Dean and Chancellor of the Chapter of S. Mauricius of Tours. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 115-116. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Gaufridus had been a Canon in the Cathedral of Tours. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 116-117. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Étienne: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 117-118. Gams, p. 640. Eubel, I, p. 503.
^Appointed by Pope Clement VII, Seguin was named Latin Patriarch of Antioch on 20 June 1380. Gallia christiana II, p. 120. Eubel, I, pp. 94, 503.
^Gui had been Bishop of Verdun (1375-1381), and Bishop of Dol (1381-1382). He was transferred to the diocese of Castres by Clement VII on 8 October 1383, and then to Sens on 4 August 1385, and then to Reims on 27 May 1390. He died on 8 June 1409. Gallia christiana II, p. 121. Eubel, I, pp. 173, 225, 258, 419, 448, 531.
^Ameil de Breuil was provided by Benedict XIII. Gallia christiana II, pp. 122-125. Eubel, I, 503.
^Jacques Gélu was confirmed by John XXIII. He was transferred to the diocese of Embrun on 30 July 1427 by Pope Martin V. Eubel, I, 503.
^Philippe was created a cardinal by Antipope Felix V on 12 November 1440. Gallia christiana II, pp. 126-127. Eubel, I, 503; II, p. 10 no. 16; 258 note 1.
^The canons of Tours were unable to agree upon a choice for Archbishop, and therefore they referred to matter to Pope Eugenius IV, who chose ('provided') Jean Bernard, a native of Tours and a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law). He made his formal entry on 27 May 1442. Gallia christiana II, pp. 127-129. Eubel, II, p. 258.
^Gerard was transferred to the diocese of Valence and Die on 13 May 1468. Gallia christiana II, p. 130. Eubel, II, p. 258.
^Hélie de Bourdeilles had been Bishop of Perigueux (1437-1466). Gallia christiana II, pp. 130-131. Eubel, II, pp. 215, 258.
^Lenoncourt was transferred to the diocese of Reims on 28 March 1509. Gallia christiana II, p. 131. Eubel, II, p. 258; III, p. 284.
^The Genoese Carlo del Carretto, the Marquis of Finarii, was Bishop of Cosenza (1489-1491). His brother Federico was Grand Master of the Order of S. John of Jerusalem. From 1503 Carretto was papal Nuncio to the King of France, having been appointed titular Archbishop of Thebes for the purpose. Carretto was named a cardinal by Pope Julius II on 1 December 1505, and in 1507 Cardinal Carretto became Archbishop of Reims (1507-1509). He participated in the Conclave of March 1513 which elected Giovanni de'Medici as Pope Leo X. In 1514, either on 29 April or 3 July, he was named Bishop of Cahors. He died in Rome on 15 August 1514. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 131-132. Eubel, III, pp. 11 no. 9; 160; 284; 321. Tiziana Bernardi, "Del Carretto, Carlo Domenico", Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Volume 36 (1988), retrieved: 2017-05-08.
^Brillac: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 132. Eubel, III, p. 321.
^Fournier: Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 132-133. Eubel, III, p. 321.
^De la Barre: Gallia christiana XIV, p. 133. Eubel, III, p. 321.
^Georges d'Armagnac had previously been Bishop of Rodez (from 1530) and Administrator of the diocese of Vabres (from 1536). He was the French Ambassador to the Pope. He was named a cardinal on 19 December 1544. He never visited Tours. He died on 10 July 1585. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 133-134. Eubel, III, pp. 28 no. 51; 288 with note 4; 321.
^Poncher had previously been Bishop of Bayonne (1532-1551); he was appointed when still below the minimum canonical age. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 134. Eubel, III, pp. 128, 321.
^Simon de Maillé had previously been Bishop of Viviers (1550-1554). Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 134-136. Eubel, III, pp. 321, 336.
^Guesle was a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law). He received the grant of the pallium on 11 March 1598. Gallia christiana XIV, p. 136. Eubel, III, p. 321. Gauchat, IV, p. 350 with note 2.
^A native of Florence, Galagai was the brother of Leonora Galagai, the wife of Concino Concini. He received the grant of the pallium on 30 January 1617, but he was never consecrated a bishop. After Concini's murder on 24 April 1617, he fled. Gauchat, IV, p. 350 with note 3.
^Eschaud had previously been Bishop of Boulogne (1598-1617). Gallia christiana XIV, p. 137. Jean, p. 422. Gauchat, IV, p. 350 with note 4.
^Bouthillier was Bishop of Boulogne (1627-1632). He had been Coadjutor of Archbishop d'Eschaud since 1 September 1631. Gallia christiana XIV, pp. 137-138. Jean, p. 422. Gauchat, IV, pp. 117 with note 3; 350 with note 5.
^Rosmadec had been Bishop of Vannes (1647-1671). Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 395 with note 3; 362 with note 4.
^Though nominated by Louis XIV, Saint George never received his bulls of consecration or installation, due to the rupture in relations between Louis XIV and Innocent XI. Jean, p. 422.
^A native of Montpellier, D'Hervault was a doctor of theology (Paris), and a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law) (Paris). He had Jansenist leanings. He had been Bishop of Condom (1693). He died in Paris on 9 July 1716. Jean, pp. 423-433. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, pp. 168 with note 5; 395 with note 5.
^Blouet had previously been Bishop of Toul (1705-1723). Jean, p. 423. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 395 with note 7.
^Chapt de Rastignac had previously been Bishop of Tulle (1721-1724). He was nominated Bishop of Tours by King Louis XV on 26 October 1723, and approved by the newly elected Pope Benedict XIII on 27 September 1724. He died on 2 August 1750. Jean, p. 424. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 395 with note 8; 396.
^Rosset de Fleury was a doctor of theology (Paris), and had been Vicar General of Paris, and then Vicar General of Chartres. He was nominated to Tours by King Louis XV on 27 December 1750, and approved (preconised) by Pope Benedict XIV on 17 May 1751. He was nominated to the diocese of Cambrai by King Louis XVI on 24 September 1774, and therefore resigned the diocese of Tours on 2 March 1775; his transfer to the diocese of Cambrai was approved by Pope Pius VI on 3 April 1775. Jean, p. 424. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, pp. 143 with note 3; 422 with note 2.
^Conzié had been Bishop of Saint-Omer (1769-1775). He was nominated to the diocese of Tours by King Louis XVI on 18 December 1774, and approved by Pope Pius VI on 29 May 1775. He emigrated during the Revolution and died in Amsterdam on 8 May 1795. Jean, pp. 424-425. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, pp. 109 with note 4. 422 with note 3.
^Boisgelin was a native of Rennes, a doctor of the Sorbonne, Archdeacon of Pontoise, Bishop of Lavaur (1764-1771), and Archbishop of Aix (1771). He was elected a member of the Académie Française on 15 January 1776. He opposed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, and emigrated to England in 1792; he resigned in 1801, in accordance with the wishes of Pope Pius VII. He was then appointed Archbishop of tours on 16 April 1802, and named a cardinal on 17 January 1803. Napoleon decorated him with the cross of a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. He died at Angervilliers, near Paris, on 24 August 1804. L. Bosseboeuf, in: L' épiscopat français..., p. 630-631. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, pp. 92, 433. Frédéric de Berthier de Grandry (2010). Boisgelin: l'homme du Concordat, sa vie, son oeuvre & sa famille (in French). Paris: FBG. ISBN978-2-9513699-6-2.
^A native of Grenoble and a student of Saint-Sulpice, Barral was Conclavist of Cardinal de Luynes in 1774. He had previously been Bishop of Meaux (1802-1805). He was a staunch supporter of Napoleon, who used him in his negotiations with Pope Pius VII. He was Almoner of Empress Josephine. Barral resigned the diocese of Tours on 26 September 1815, having compromised himself by officiating at the Champ de Mai during the Hundred Days, and died on 6 June 1816. G. Ogier de Baulny, in: L' épiscopat français..., pp. 346-347. L. Bosseboeuf, in: L' épiscopat français..., pp. 631-632.
^Chilleau had been Bishop of Chalons-sur-Saône (1781), but had emigrated in 1792 and resided in Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. He refused to accept the Concordat of 1801 with Napoleon, and remained in exile until the return of the Bourbons. He resigned the diocese of Chalons in 1816. L. Bosseboeuf, in: L' épiscopat français..., p. 632. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 136 with note 4.
^Montblanc had already been Coadjutor of Tours and titular Bishop of Carthage since 12 August 1821. L. Bosseboeuf, in: L' épiscopat français..., pp. 632-633.
^A native of Langres, and Vicar General of Dijon, Morlot had been Bishop of Orléans (1839-1843). He was named a cardinal on 7 March 1853. He was named Archbishop of Paris on 19 March 1857 by Pope Pius IX. Anselme Tilloy (1863). La vie et la mort de son Éminence le Cardinal Morlot (in French). Paris: Bourgeois de Soye. T. Cochard, in: L' épiscopat français..., p. 431. L. Bosseboeuf, in: L' épiscopat français..., p. 633. P. Pisani, in: L' épiscopat français..., pp. 461-463.
^Fruchaud was transferred from the diocese of Limoges, the appointment being approved by Pope Pius IX on 27 October 1871; he was installed at Tours on 6 December. L. Bosseboeuf, in: L' épiscopat français..., p. 634.
^Colet was transferred from the diocese of Luçon by governmental decree of 25 November 1874, which was approved by Pope Leo XIII on 21 December. He was installed at Tours on 3 February 1875. L. Bosseboeuf, in: L' épiscopat français..., p. 635.