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Includes the Department of Haute-Garonne. As re-established by the Concordat of 1802 it included the departments of Haute-Garonne and Ariege, at which time, the archbishop joined to his own the title of Auch, jurisdiction over Auch being given to the Diocese of Agen, also the title of Narbonne, an archdiocese over which jurisdiction went by the Concordat to the Diocese of Carcassonne, and the title of Albi, over which, though formerly an archdiocese, jurisdiction went by the Concordat to the See of Montpellier. In consequence of the creation of the Archdioceses of Auch and Albi under the Restoration, the Archbishop of Toulouse only styled himself Archbishop of Toulouse and Narbonne, and when the Diocese of Pamiers was created the limits of the Archdiocese were restricted to the Department of Haute-Garonne. As thus marked off by the Bull "Paternae Caritatis", July, 1822, the Archdiocese of Toulouse includes almost the whole of the ancient Dioceses of Toulouse, Rieux, and Comminges, and a few small portions of the ancient Dioceses of Montauban, Lavaur, St-Papoul, Mirepoix, and Lombez.


Toulouse, chief town of the Tectosagi, at the end of the second century B.C. tried to shake off the yoke of Rome during the invasion of the Cimbri, but at the beginning of the empire it was a prosperous Roman civitas with famous schools in which the three brothers of the Emperor Constantine were pupils. In the fourth century it was reckoned the fifteenth town in importance in the empire. In 413 it was taken by Astulph, the Goth, and in 419 under Wallia it became the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom. In 508 after conquest by Clovis it became Frankish. Legends of more or less recent date claim that it was evangelized by St. Martial (see LIMOGES, DIOCESE OF), but as far as historical evidence goes the see seems to have been founded by St. Saturninus (Serin) in the middle of the third century. The "Passio Sancti Santurnini" corroborates this date as that of his incumbency and martyrdom. Subsequent tradition claims that he was a disciple of St. Peter. St. Papoul (see CARCASSONNE, DIOCESE OF) was his companion and like him a martyr. The name of St. Honoratus, given in some lists as St. Saturninus's successor, seems to have crept in through error from the fabulous legend of St. Firminus of Amiens and, according to Mgr Duchesne, ought to be omitted. Among the bishops of Toulouse may be mentioned: Rhodanius (350-58), exiled by Constantius to Phrygia because of his efforts against Arianism at the Council of Beziers in 356; St. Hilary, whom some historians place before Rhodanius, but who is placed after him by Mgr Duchesne; St. Sylvius (360-400); St. Exuperius (c. 400), who drove from his diocese in 405 the heretic Vigilantius, saved Toulouse from the ravages of the Vandals, and was the friend of St. Jerome ; St. Germerius (Germier), whose episcopate (c. 541) is questioned by Mgr Duchesne; Magnulphus (c. 585), exiled by King Gondebaud; St. Erembert (657), a monk of Fontenelle who returned to his monastery to die.

From being the capital of the Duchy of Aquitaine, from 631, Toulouse became in 778 the capital of the County of Toulouse created by Charlemagne, and which in the tenth century was one of the main fiefs of the crown. Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, known as Raymond de Saint Gilles (1042-1105), was one of the leaders of the First Crusade. Concerning the leanings of Raymond VI and Raymond VII, Counts of Toulouse, towards the Albigensian heresy , and concerning the death of Simon of Montfort in 1218 under the walls of Toulouse, see ALBIGENSES. At this time Toulouse had as bishop Fulk of Marseilles (1206-31), who fought against Raymond VI and protected the Friars-Preachers in their early days. The marriage (1249) of Jeanne, daughter of Raymond VII, with Alphonse de Poitiers, brother of King Louis IX, led to the uniting in 1271 of the County of Toulouse to the Crown of France, and Toulouse became the capital of the Province of Languedoc. The See of Toulouse was for a time made illustrious by St. Louis (1296-97), son of Charles II, King of Naples and the Two Sicilies, and of Mary, daughter of the King of Hungary : he was nephew of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and grand-nephew of St. Louis King of France. Louis had resigned to his brother Robert all rights over the Kingdom of Naples, and had accepted from Boniface VIII the See of Toulouse after donning the habit of St. Francis. His successor was Peter de la Chapelle Taillefer (1298-1312) who was created cardinal in 1305. To this epoch belongs a very important change that took place in the history of the Diocese of Toulouse. It decreased in size but increased in dignity. Before 1295 the Diocese of Toulouse was very extensive. At the beginning of the thirteenth century Bishop Fulk had wished for the sake of religion to divide it into several dioceses. In 1295 a portion of territory was cut off by Boniface VIII to form the Diocese of Pamiers. Then in 1319 John XXII cut off the Diocese of Toulouse from the metropolitan church of Narbonne and made it a metropolitan with the Sees of Montauban, Saint-Papoul, Rieux, and Lombez as suffragans; a little later Lavaur and Mirepoix also became suffragans of Toulouse. The majority of these sees were composed of territory cut off from the ancient See of Toulouse itself.

John XXII offered the See of Riez in Provence to Gaillard de Preyssac, Bishop of Toulouse since 1305, whom he suspected of having conspired against him with Hugues Giraud, Bishop of Cahors. Gaillard refused the offer, and retired to Avignon where he died in 1327. The first archbishop was Raymond de Comminges, Bishop of Maguelonne from 1309, who, when created cardinal in 1327, abandoned the See of Toulouse and went to Avignon where he died in 1348. He left a book on the "Passion of the Saviour", and some "Sermons for Festival Days". Among his successors were: the Dominican William de Laudun (1327-45), previously bishop of Vienne; Raymond de Canilhac (1345-50), cardinal in 1350; Cardinal Francis de Gozie (1391-92); Bernard du Rosier (1451-74), author of two treatises on the temporal power of the pope and on the liberty of the Church, and who founded at Toulouse the "College de Foix" for the support of twenty-five poor scholars, where he collected one of the first libraries of the period; John of Orléans (1503-33), cardinal in 1533. Protestantism entered Toulouse in 1532 through foreign students. As early as 1563 the Catholics of Toulouse founded a league to uphold the prerogatives of Catholicism, protected by the Parlement but jeopardized by certain Protestant town-councillors. From 1586 to 1595 the League party under Montmorency, Governor of Languedoc, and the Duke de Joyeuse held control in Toulouse. The rule of Henry IV was definitively recognized there in 1596. During this period of religious unrest Toulouse had many notable archbishops : Gabriel de Gramont (1533-34), cardinal in 1530; Odet de Chatillon, Cardinal de Coligny (1534-50), who became a Calvinist, married in 1564, and died in 1571; Anthony Sanguin (1550-59), Cardinal de Meudon in 1539; Georges d'Armagnac (1562-77), cardinal in 1544; François de Joyeuse (1584-1605), cardinal in 1583 and who conducted the negotiations between Henry IV and the Holy See.

Among subsequent archbishops we may mention: Louis de Nogaret (1614-27), Cardinal de Lavalette in 1621, but who never received orders and from 1635 to 1637 led part of the French troops in the Thirty Years War ; Charles de Montchal (1628-51), who in 1635 upheld the decision of the Holy See, against the opinion of the majority of the Assembly of Clergy, that the marriages of princes of blood contracted without royal consent were not null; Pierre de Marca (1652-62), who under Louis XIII aided largely in the re-establishment of Catholicism in Bearn, in 1621 became president of the Parlement of Bearn, was afterwards made Councillor of State by Louis XIII, and wrote a work of Gallican tendency "De concordia Sacerdotii et Imperii", a voluminous work on Spain and especially on the Province of Tarragona, and a commentary on the Psalms; he was secretary to the Assembly of the Clergy of France of April, 1656, which drew up a formula condemning the Five propositions drawn from the "Augustinus", and he died in 1662 just as he was about to take possession of the See of Paris ; Pierre de Bonzy (1672-73), cardinal in 1672; Charles Antoine de Laroche Aymon (1740-52), cardinal in 1771; Etienne Charles de Lomenie (1763-89), Cardinal de Brienne in 1788; Anne de Clermont Tonnerre (1820-30), cardinal in 1822; Paul d'Astros (1830-51), cardinal in 1850; Julien Desprez (1859-95), cardinal in 1879; François Desire Mathieu (1896-99), cardinal in 1899, was a member of the French Academy , wrote the history of Lorraine under the ancien regime, of the Concordat of 1801-2, and of the conclave of 1903; he died in 1908.


The earliest Bishop of Comminges we know of is Suavis, who assisted at the Council of Agde in 506; but Sidonius Apollinaris speaks of the persecutions suffered at the hands of the Arian Goths in the fifth century by the bishops of Comminges. St. Affricus (c. 540), who died in the Rouergue, is wrongly included among the bishops of Comminges. Among the bishops of Comminges were: St. Bertrand of Comminges (1073-1123), grandson of Raymond Taillefer, Count of Toulouse, previously archdeacon of Toulouse, and who built the cathedral of Comminges and restored the town; Bertrand de Goth (1295-99), who became pope under the name of Clement V ; Bertrand de Cosnac (1352-72), cardinal in 1372; Amelius de Lautrec (1384-90), cardinal in 1385; Pierre de Foix (1422-64), cardinal in 1427; John Cibo, who became pope in 1484 under the name of Innocent VIII, for a short time in 1467 held the title of Comminges; Cardinal Amanieu d'Albret, who was Bishop of Comminges in 1504 and 1507; Cardinal Carlo Caraffa, strangled in the pontificate of Pius IV, was probably Bishop of Comminges about the middle of the sixteenth century; Urban de Saint-Gelais, who in 1586, without outside assistance and with the help of a cannon which he caused to be brought from Toulouse, captured the town from the Huguenots. In the church of St. Bertrand of Comminges baptism was administered with peculiar ceremonies : the baptismal water was kept in a large silver dove with wings displayed, and enclosed in a cupola surmounting the font; at the moment of baptizing the dove was lowered, by a pulley, over the head of the child and through its open beak the baptismal water was poured.


The See of Rieux was founded in 1317, by cutting off a portion of the Diocese of Toulouse. The cathedral of Toulouse, dedicated to St. Stephen, is remarkable for the contrast between its choir and nave : the nave if Romanesque and was begun in 1211 at the instigation of Count Raymond VI ; the choir is Gothic, and was begun between 1273 and 1286 by Bishop Bertrand de l'Isle, and completed in the fifteenth century. The church of St. Sernin of Toulouse was begun by St. Sylvius at the end of the fourth century and completed by St. Exuperius, who transferred to it the remains of St. Sernin, and later those of St. Papoul and St. Honesta, disciples of St. Sernin, and of the bishops, Saints Honoratus, Hilary, and Sylvius. St. Exuperius himself was buried there. Charlemagne gave to St. Sernin's the bodies of St. Suzanna of Babylon, of St. Ascicla and her sister St. Victoris, martyrs of Cordova. Under Charles the Bald the relics of the Quattuor Sancti Coronati, Claudius, Nicostratus, Symphorianus, Castor, and their pupil St. Simplicius , were brought from Rome. The crusaders who in 1096 accompanied Raymond de Saint Gilles to the East brought back the body of St. Barnabas, the head of St. Bartholomew, and perhaps some wood from the Crib or Manger, a stone from the Holy Sepulchre, and a Crucifix known as the Crusaders' Crucifix. In 1187 Guillaume Taillefer deposited there other relics acquired in the East, especially the greater portion of the body of St. George. Louis VIII brought thither the bodies of St. Edmund, King of England, and St. Gilbert, founder of the Gilbertines. The people themselves brought the body of Saint Gilles to save it from the Abigensians. Alphonse, brother of Louis IX, last count of Toulouse, on his entry to the town in 1251 deposited in the church a thorn from the Crown of Thorns, which Baldwin II, emperor of Constantinople, had given to St. Louis, and a portion of the True Cross. About 1366 the body of St. Thomas Aquinas, given by Urban V to the Dominicans, was brought to Toulouse, and preserved in their church until the Revolution, when it was transferred to St. Sernin's.

As early as 1100 a confraternity was formed with twelve superintendents and seventy-two bayles-regents (guardians), in memory of the number of the Apostles and Disciples; they took oath to watch in turn over the relics. Urban IIconsecrated St. Sernin's on 8 July, 1097, after it has been restored by the canon, St. Raymond; Callistus II dedicated an altar there and placed in it relics of SS. Peter and Paul, SS Simon and Jude; Urban VIII granted the same indulgences to those who visited the seven altars of St. Sernin's as could be gained by visiting the seven altars of St. Peter's in Rome. The University of Toulouse was founded in 1229, in consequence of a treaty between Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, and Blanche of Castile, regent of France ; its object was to prevent by higher theological studies a recrudescence of Albigensianism. Raymond VIII had to undertake to maintain in Toulouse at his own expense for ten years a certain number of masters of theology, law, and grammar. In the beginning the university was looked at askance by the people of the South, who considered it an instrument of repression. The teaching of theology was given over to the Mendicant Friars, but the students who wished to take degrees had to pass some time at the University of Paris. John XXII and Innocent VI were students there. In 1329 John XXII reformed its statutes. In 1359 Innocent VI founded the College of St. Martial for the support of twenty poor students at the university ; in 1360 he definitively organized a faculty of theology with masters drawn exclusively from among its former pupils, and granted the chancellor authority to confer degrees. This was the university's period of prosperity. The new revision of the statutes after 1394 by a committee nominated by the antipope Clement VII was fatal to it; from the fifteenth century to the end of the ancien regime the University of Toulouse merely existed.

In 1751 the University of Cahors was merged into that of Toulouse. It was founded in 1332 by John XXII, a native of Cahors, at the instance of the municipal authorities. The pope granted the new university the rights enjoyed by that of Toulouse, and in fact commanded the latter to communicate its privileges to Cahors. The Bull of erection for Cahors was almost identical with the "Parens Scientiarum" for Paris. The privileges of Cahors were confirmed in 1368 by Edward, Prince of Wales, the "Black Prince", and in 1370 by Louis, Duke of Anjou. The university also enjoyed the favour of Benedict XII, Clement VI, Urban V, Clement VII, and Benedict XIII. In 1460 Pius II ordered a revision of its statutes. The main strength of the university lay in its faculty of law which had as members such noted jurists as Petrus Gregorius (1570), Cujas (1554), and de Lacoste (1594). Of the colleges at Cahors the first was founded by Raymond de Pelegry, canon of London, who provided in his will (1365) for the maintenance of thirteen poor scholars. The College of Rodez was founded in 1371 by Bernard of Rodez, Archbishop of Naples, whose birth-place was Cahors. The College of St. Michel was established (1467) by Jean Rubey, archdeacon of Tormes. Among the students of Cahors the most illustrious was Fénelon, who entered upon his classical course there in 1663. During the eighteenth century the university declined, abuses crept in, especially in the matter of granting degrees. The Irish Seminary at Toulouse was founded in 1659 by Anne of Austria to receive twelve Irish clerical students. The Catholic Institute of Toulouse was founded in 1877 by Archbishop Desprez and completed in 1879 by the addition of a faculty of theology. Cardinal Mathieu suppressed the chair of law, and only retained about a dozen chairs of literary and scientific studies; but under the rectorship of Mgr Batiffol the Institute became, in the early part of the twentieth century, an important centre of sacred studies, and has remained so to this date. Its "Bulletin de litterature ecclesiastique" is highly appreciated in the scientific circles of France.

Toulouse is famous for its jeux floraux (floral games). The first meeting dates from early in May, 1324, and was organized by some troubadours. The contest was to laud the Blessed Virgin in a poem. Arnaud Vidal of Castelnaudary was the first to gain a prize. In the fifteenth century the "Clemency" of the Blessed Virgin was the theme of the rival poets; she was styled "Confort del monte Clemensa" (support of the world and clemency). This word "Clemensa" gave rise to the legend which ran that a certain woman named Clemence Isaure had instituted the floral games. Guillaume Benoit, councillor of the Parlement of Toulouse (d. 1520), was the first to put faith in this legend. In 1527 Etienne Dolet wrote a poem on Clemence Isaure; and the municipal magistrates of Toulouse, in order to save some property from taxation, declared it had been given to the city by Clemence Isaure; they even went to far as to erect a statue to her in the capitol of the town in 1557. Castel in 1633 assailed the legend in a very decisive manner, but it died hard: an alleged poem was quoted on the Duguesclin campaign in Spain, in which during the fourteenth century reference is made to a Lady Clemence who was no other than Clemence Isaure; then an ode appeared, said to have been recited in 1499; it has recently been proved that the poem is a seventeenth-century production, and the ode a nineteenth-century forgery. Among the saints specially honoured in or connected with the diocese are: St. Orentius (Orens), Bishop of Auch (fourth century), to whom the inhabitants of Toulouse attribute an important victory they gained in 422; St. Gaudentius (Gaudens) (sixth century), a shepherd lad, beheaded by the Arian Visigoth, who gave his name to the town of Montetavezan, now known as Saint-Gaudens; Saint Vidianus (Vezian), martyred by the Arians in the middle of the sixth century; St. William of Lodeve, or Gellon, Count of Toulouse, who died in 812; Blessed Raymond, archdeacon of Toulouse, Blessed Stephen of Narbonne, inquisitor, Blessed Bernard of Rochefort, and kBlessed 1William Arnauld, all of the Order of Saint Dominic ; Blessed Bernard, Bl. Fontanerius, and Bl. Admarus, ecclesiastics, Blessed Garcias and Bl. Peter, laymen, massacred by the Abigensians at Avignon in 1242; the shepherdess St. Germaine Cousin of Pibrac (1579-1601); St. John Francis Regis , who joined the Jesuits at Toulouse at the age of nineteen (1597-1640).

Among natives of the diocese are: William de Nogaret, the famous legist of Philip the Fair (1260-1313), born at St. Felix de Caraman; the Jurisconsult Cujas, born at Toulouse (1522-92); Abbé Sicard (1742-1822), founder of deaf-mute instruction, born at Fousseret. The principal places of pilgrimage are: Notre Dame d'Alet at Montaigut, a shrine dating from the eleventh century; Notre Dame d'Avignonet, which dates from the wonders brought by the statue of the B. Virgin of Avignonet when the church which had been closed for forty years in consequence of the massacres committed by the Abigensians, was once more opened in the thirteenth century; Notre Dame du Bont du Puy at Valentines, a shrine dating from the sixteenth century; Notre Dame de Clary at Cessales, dating from the tenth or eleventh century; Notre Dame de Roqueville at Montgiscard. Prior to the application of the Associations Law of 1901 there were in the Diocese of Toulouse: Augustinians of the Assumption, Olivetans, Capuchins, Jesuits, Dominicans, Lazarists, Trappists, Missionaries of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Sulpicians, priests of the Sacred Heart, and various teaching congregations of Brothers. At the close of the nineteenth century, the congregations of nuns had charge of 49 nurseries, 1 school for the blind, 1 school of deaf and dumb, 2 orphanages for boys, 1 orphanage for girls, 4 detention homes, 9 houses of charity, 15 hospitals, 8 district nursing homes, 4 houses of retreat, 2 lunatic asylums. In 1905 at the breach of the Concordat, there were in the Archdiocese of Toulouse 448,481 inhabitants, 44 parishes, 508 auxiliary parishes, and 61 curacies assisted by the State.

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