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DIOCESE OF CHÂLONS-SUR-MARNE (CATALAUNENSIS)

The Diocese comprises the department of Marne, exclusive of the arrondissement of Reims. United in 1802 with the Diocese of Meaux and in 1821 with that of Reims, the diocese of Châlons was re-established in 1822, and is suffragan to Reims. Local legends maintain that the evangelization of Châlons by St. Memmius, sent thither by St. Peter and assisted by his sister Poma, also by Sts. Donatian and Domitian, took place in the first century, but in the revised list of the diocesan saints in the Breviary these legends have been suppressed. Abbé Duchesne assigns the founding of the See of Châlons to the fourth century, Amandinus, who attended the Council of Tours in 461, being its ninth bishop. St. Lumier (Leudomerus), Bishop of Châlons about 580, was noted for his miraculous power over animals. The bishops of this see played an important part in early French history, and at the coronation of the Capetian kings the Bishop of Châlons always carried the royal ring. The cathedral was consecrated in 1147 by Eugene III, assisted by St. Bernard and eighteen cardinals. Among its celebrated abbeys the diocese counted those of St. Memmius, founded in the fifth century by Alpinus; Toussaints, founded in the eleventh century; Montier-en-Der, founded in the seventh century by St. Bereharius, a monk from Luxeuil ; Saint-Pierre au Mont, founded during the same period. Notre-Dame de l'Epine, near Châlons, was a place of pilgrimage as early as the beginning of the fifteenth century.

Prior to the law of 1901 there were Jesuits and Lazarists in the Diocese of Châlons, which has many schools in charge of the local congregation of Notre-Dame, founded in 1613 by the Venerable Mère Alix Leclerc. In 1900 there were in the diocese the following religious institutions: 16 infant schools, 3 boys' orphanages, 9 girls' orphanages, 7 dispensaries, 15 hospitals and asylums, 11 houses for religious nurses, 1 house of retreat, and 1 insane asylum. At the close of 1905 (the end of the period under the Concordat ) statistics showed that the diocese had a population of 231,411, with 25 parishes (cures), 312 succursal parishes (mission churches), and 6 vicariates supported by the State.


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